TAMPA, Fla. — In his first official address as Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney offered up an attack on the broad ideals of hope and change that swept President Obama into office, promising a more practical approach that he said will create “jobs. Lots of jobs.”
The speech came at the end of the final night of the Republican National Convention here, and followed hours of programming that told Romney’s compelling personal story as a father and church leader. But when Romney finally strode on stage, he focused far less on himself and almost entirely on Obama and what he charged were his many failings.
The fundamental message: Obama promised the moon and didn’t deliver. So it’s time to think smaller.
“President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet,” Romney said. “My promise is to help you and your family.”
The line was seen by some as an attempt to put Obama on the wrong side of climate-change politics. But it was also part of a speech that cast the current environment as big on dreams and short on action.
“What is needed in our country today is not complicated or profound. It doesn’t take a special government commission to tell us what America needs,” Romney said. “What America needs is jobs. Lots of jobs.”
Romney has been vague about his specific plan to right the nation’s wrongs. He didn’t delve into many specifics here, though he did repeat his five-step plan to create 12 million new jobs through opening up new fossil fuel production, offering school choice and education programs, balancing the budget, creating new trade agreements and simplifying regulations and “reducing” taxes.
Romney hasn’t offered many particulars on any of these points in the past, and he didn’t on Thursday either.
Romney seized on what was a common thread throughout the convention — amping up the party’s outreach to women, billing himself as a man who has launched women to great heights.
“As governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman lieutenant governor, a woman chief of staff, half of my cabinet and senior officials were women, and in business, I mentored and supported great women leaders who went on to run great companies,” he said.
But the main thrust of the speech was overtly negative. Romney attacked Obama repeatedly for failing the fundamental test of American leadership.
Romney again attacked Obama for “apologizing for success,” a line that has been part of the Romney campaign for a while but reached a fever pitch after Republicans launched the out-of-context “you didn’t build it” attack on the president.
He went after Obama for throwing “allies like Israel under the bus,” and even dinged the president over the “transmit to Vladimir” moment from March.
“Under my administration, our friends will see more loyalty, and Mr. Putin will see a little less flexibility and more backbone,” Romney said.
Romney’s central vow was to rechart America’s path after it had been waylaid by Obama. The president’s administration must be stopped, Romney said, before it’s too late.
“To the majority of Americans who now believe that the future will not be better than the past, I can guarantee you this: If Barack Obama is re-elected, you will be right,” Romney said.