Romney States His Case: "My Promise is to Help Your Family"
Mitt Romney accepted the GOP Presidential Nomination at the RNC. (KTLA-TV / August 30, 2012)
- VIDEO: Key RNC speakers
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The closing image from the convention's final night was Romney with running mate Paul Ryan surrounded by their families and showered with balloons. But the lasting image might be Clint Eastwood speaking to an empty chair.
Here are five things we learned Thursday:
1. Do we know more about Romney the man than we did before?
From an emotional video to a speech with more insight on his family, his faith and his career, Romney used the most important address of his life (yes, way overused, but true) to open up to Americans voters.
"You know, I can't explain love. I don't know why it happens. I don't know why it endures the way it does. You know, at the very beginning, I sat with her, chatted with her, put my arm around her and something changed," Romney said, sharing his feelings for his wife, Ann, in a video that played before his address.
It was a rare display of emotion by the Republican presidential nominee.
And in his speech, Romney opened up about his parents: "My mom and dad were true partners, a life lesson that shaped me by everyday example." And he opened up about his family: "Unconditional love is a gift that Ann and I have tried to pass on to our sons and now to our grandchildren."
And he opened up about his faith, which he's infrequently discussed during his second bid for the White House.
"Like a lot of families in a new place with no family, we found kinship with a wide circle of friends through our church. When we were new to the community, it was welcoming and as the years went by, it was a joy to help others who had just moved to town or just joined our church," Romney shared.
The race for the White House is basically a dead heat, but polls indicate Romney trails President Barack Obama when it comes to his favorable rating and likeability. And a speech in front of a national television audience of up to 40 million people gave Romney a perfect opportunity to open up.
So did Romney succeed in giving Americans a better sense of who he is?
The jury's still out.
"Self-revelation and introspection are still not his strong suits," said CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, anchor of "State of the Union." "He had some good lines, some nods to his religion, but if you want a public emoter, Mitt Romney will never be your guy."
CNN Chief Political Analyst David Gergen gave it mixed reviews.
"I think it humanized him very well. I think it introduced him on a personal level," Gergen said. "I thought this speech had lots of heart, but it needed more soul. It needed more poetry."
2. Speech puts referendum election into sharp relief
Romney's convention-night speech put into sharp focus how much Republicans think November's election will boil down to whether voters think they're better off economically under Obama. In the biggest speech of his political career, Romney spent much of his time picking apart his Democratic opponent, deriding the promises Obama made in 2008 and vowing to work harder to put Americans back into good paying jobs.
"President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet," Romney said, harking back to statements Obama made when running for president four years ago.