With the words, “Mr. Chairman and delegates, I accept your nomination for president of the United States,” Mitt Romney officially kicked off the race for the White House at the Republican National Convention Thursday night. In a speech intended to introduce the former Massachusetts governor to the nation at large, Romney attempted to define himself, and, in doing so, draw the contrast between himself and President Barack Obama.
“President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet,” Romney said. “My promise is to help you and your family.”
Afterward, a half hour or so away on St. Pete Beach, members of the New Jersey delegation were dancing in the moonlight, energized by what they saw as a powerful speech from their nominee.
“He was vibrant; energized,” said Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-39). “He’s always had the logic behind what he’s had to say, but he had the spirit behind it tonight as well.”
Republican National Committeeman Bill Palatucci said, “I thought Romney was very Reaganesque. I thought he was very positive and uplifting; was very gentlemanly. Made his points very strong. He reminded me of Ronald Reagan as he was giving his remarks.”
After a week which saw them — and their governor — take center stage, New Jersey Republicans were eager to get the campaign started back home.
“I thought it was great. Very proud of the governor, proud of our state. It was definitely an honor and it was a source of great pride to see our governor address the national convention,” Camden County Delegate Jeff Booker said. “If we do what we’re supposed to do and work hard, New Jersey could be in play.”
Gov. Chris Christie says he’ll be back at work in Trenton on Tuesday and will wait for his marching orders from the Romney campaign. From the looks of things this week, he is likely to be a potent weapon for the Republican ticket.
The former Massachusetts governor got the nomination this week, but the big winner may yet prove to be the governor from New Jersey.
David Cruz reports from St. Petersburg, Fla.