TAMPA, Fla.: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney swept to the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday night at a storm-delayed national convention, every mention of his name cheered by delegates eager to propel him into a campaign to oust President Barack Obama in tough economic times.
Romney watched on television with his wife, Ann, at a hotel suite across the street from the hall as the convention sealed his hard-won victories in the primaries and caucuses of last winter.
“I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a ‘storybook marriage,’?” she said in excerpts released in advance of a primetime speech meant to cast her multimillionaire-businessman-turned-politician husband in a soft and likable light. “Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once.”
“A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage,” she said.
Aides said her husband of 43 years would be in the hall when she spoke.
Through the evening, a parade of convention speakers mocked Democratic President Obama mercilessly from a made-for-television podium, as if to make up for lost time at an event postponed once and dogged still by Hurricane Isaac.
The Democratic president has “never run a company. He hasn’t even run a garage sale or seen the inside of a lemonade stand,” declared Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican Party.
Said House Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester, “His record is as shallow as his rhetoric.”
To send Romney and ticketmate Paul Ryan into the fall campaign, delegates approved a conservative platform that calls for tax cuts — not government spending — to stimulate the economy at a time of sluggish growth and 8.3 percent unemployment.
Polls make the race a close one, to be settled in a string of battleground states where neither Romney nor the president holds a secure advantage.
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 — precisely how many were not announced from the podium. 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. “Shame on you,” some of his supporters chanted from the floor.
Boehner, presiding over the roll call, made no attempt to have Romney’s nomination made by acclamation, even though Ryan’s was a few moments later.