There's been much parsing and scrutinizing of Republican Mitt Romney's speech Thursday night - aimed at defining both his personal side and his vision for the country. Whether he's able to sway undecided or independent voters will be borne out in the coming weeks, but for those already sold on the Romney/Ryan ticket, the speech delivered a double shot of added inspiration. ideastream's Bill Rice attended a watch party in Fairview Park, where the verdict was unanimous: it was a home run!
What began as a gathering of maybe two dozen people dwindled to about half that by the time Romney took the podium. Through the evening they watched and listened with patience as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and other lesser known speakers sang the party’s - and Romney’s - praises, and chuckled a bit during actor Clint Eastwood’s improvised knocks against President Obama. But Romney’s appearance on the screen brought the remaining group to life.
After the speech, the impression on the group was unanimously positive. Tom Riddle found it was reminiscent of Ronald Reagan.
Tom Riddle – “I thought he just totally knocked it out of the park. He hit every aspect and had a very positive tone. I just thought he did a phenomenal job and he’s the man for the moment. We need somebody like that now. He wasn’t my first choice, but I see that I was mistaken because he definitely was the man for the moment.”
Elaine Reed of North Olmsted said she was happy to hear Romney point out President Obama's negatives…
REED: "...but what I really liked was when he talked about what his plans are, what he's gonna do to bring back America to its best. You know, having those five ideas that were positive and constructive was really great.”
Harry Ristmae of Brook Park is an unemployed construction worker.
Ristmae: "I was glad to hear his vision for the furture. I think he has better plans than Obama has. And quite frankly, being unemployed currently, I see nothing that the current president has done to help the situation whatsoever. It’s bad out there still, and it has not been getting that much better."
Fairview Park resident Rich Fay and Suzanne Smith watched together. They were both completely won over by Romney’s speech. Fay says he came away knowing more ABOUT Romney.
Fay: "I learned a little bit more about Romney than I had before because he talked a little bit more about his background. And I think the other thing he did was he came across as someone who is very likeable and when you look at, you say how could you not vote for him, how could you not think that he could fix the problems of the country? And I think he also kind of laid a foundation where it’s very hard for the Democratic party to demonize him, because he’s very likeable, very knowledgeable and very confident in what he could do."
Rice: "So what came through more for you, substance or personality?"
Fay: or me it was personality and inspiration."
Rice: "Was Mr. Romney your first choice during the primary?"
Smith: "I liked him, but I thought that he wasn’t translating who he was to the people. It wasn’t coming through. And what they accomplished tonight was exactly what they wanted to do, which was let America know a little bit about the man- who he is, where he comes from, where his heart is."
Rice: "Do you think he was a lot more on his game than he was a couple of months ago?"
Fay: "Definitely, I think he’s kind of hitting his stride, so to speak. And plus I think there’s been a lot more momentum behind him, and they say when you have momentum behind you it really can make you take off, and I think we’re seeing that."
Smith: "I’ve been watching the convention all three nights. There have been some phenomenal speeches given. Condeleeza Rice nailed it yesterday talking about how we have to keep America strong, and then also, you know, support women and their issues. Huckabee – he made some great jabs. Paul Ryan – he’s going to be such a strong addition to the ticket. I think they’re starting to cause an effect on people to where there’s going to be a psychological; switch. they’re just going to believe it’s going to get better and then it will, like a self- fulfilling prophecy."
Fay: "I think overall it was a really really good week. The Republicans I think had a great week, they brought out a lot of their young guns. They had some great speakers. It will be really interesting to see the Democratic convention and then compare the two. I think that’s really where people are really going to see and make a decision."
Suzanne Smith and Rich Fay. We spoke to them after Mitt Romney closed the republican national Convention in Tampa by accepting the Republican nomination for president. We also heard from Tom Riddle, Elaine Reed and Harry Ristmae.