TAMPA, Fla. — The Republican convention propelled Mitt Romney into the fall campaign on a high note, thanks to his well-received acceptance speech, an appealing cast of future party leaders and a relentless drumbeat of criticism of President Barack Obama’s record and leadership. Yet the proceedings also were clouded by troubling images of Hurricane Isaac and a bizarre performance by actor Clint Eastwood that left many viewers scratching their heads.
While the convention presented a show of party unity that once seemed distant, there still were questions about how the party would tackle issues like Medicare and spending cuts.
The convention also didn’t offer the game-changing shift in momentum many activists had hoped for to reverse pre-convention polls showing Romney trailing Obama narrowly in several battleground states. And the focus on next week’s Democratic gathering means Romney’s own convention boost is likely to be short-lived.
Republicans had a lot riding on the outcome of the Tampa conclave, which began a day late amid concerns Isaac would make a direct hit there. The nationally televised proceedings gave Romney and other Republicans their last opportunity to make an unfiltered pitch to millions of voters just now tuning in to the presidential contest.
Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said the convention had delivered what it promised: a clear contrast between Romney’s vision and Obama’s record.
“What Americans have seen over the last few days is a party and a Republican ticket absolutely committed to addressing the job crisis. You won’t hear it from the Democrats in Charlotte next week,” Fehrnstrom said. “People have seen a diverse group of individuals who believe very deeply in the American free enterprise system. It’s very different than the negative characterization the Democrats are trying to paint of this convention.”