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Ann Romney praises Mitt: The 'man America needs' (+video)

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While there was no doubt about Romney's command over the convention, the residue of a heated campaign for the nomination was evident inside the hall.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who never won a primary or caucus, drew several dozen delegate votes. Earlier, his supporters chanted and booed after the convention adopted rules they opposed, but were powerless to block, to prevent those votes from being officially registered.

Opinion polls made the race a close one as the Republicans' days of pageantry and speechmaking began in earnest, and the man tapped to deliver the keynote address set the stakes.

"Conventions are always huge for a challenger, because they're the ones introducing themselves" to the voters, said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Convention planners squeezed two days of speeches and other convention business into one after scrapping Monday's scheduled opener because of fears that Isaac would make a direct hit on the Florida Gulf Coast.

That threat fizzled, but it was instantly replaced by another — that Republicans would wind up holding a political celebration at the same time the storm turned its fury on New Orleans, devastated almost exactly seven years ago by Hurricane Katrina.

Romney's convention planners said they were in frequent contact with weather forecasters, but they declined to discuss what contingency plans, if any, they had to accelerate plans for him to deliver a formal acceptance speech Thursday night.

"This is obviously the biggest speech of my life," Mrs. Romney said as she visited the custom-made podium to prepare for her remarks.

Ratification of a party platform was prelude to Romney's nomination, a document more conservative on abortion than the candidate.

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