We’re at the GOP’s big gathering in Tampa talking with delegates from around the country about how they see Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, and the race for the White House.
Four thousand four hundred Republican delegates are in Tampa tonight, most cheering their lungs out for Mitt Romney, who is also now in Tampa. Not all of those delegates wanted Mitt Romney, of course. They campaigned for Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann, Ron Paul and Herman Cain.
But Mitt Romney is the man of the hour now. The Republican challenger. How have his GOP supporters come to their Romney moment? How do they look at the man, the country, the world? We’ll ask.
This hour, On Point: We’re in Tampa, talking with delegates to the Republican National Convention.
John Harwood, chief Washington correspondent for CNBC and a columnist at the New York Times.
Bryan Monroe, editor of CNNPolitics.com.
Sol Grosskopf, Wisconsin delegate.
Adele Malpass, New York delegate.
Kevin Thomas, South Carolina delegate.
Jerry Mays, West Virginia delegate.
Delegates at the Grand Old Party’s national convention in Tampa come in all stripes, social conservatives, social moderates, economic conservatives, libertarians, and others. The pitch to all of them is simple: do you like how things are going, or are you ready for something different?
“Romney has impressed me from the very beginning,” Jerry Mays, a delegate West Virginia, who has backed the former Massachusetts governor for years. “I want him to push forward a vision of small government.”
Less regulation and a greater focus on job creation is the why Kevin Thomas, a South Carolina delegate, is backing Romney. “The president has had 3 1/2 years and hasn’t done the job,” he said. “I want someone to step up and be a leader, the president hasn’t done that.”
Our jobs will be lost or gained based on this election, said 25 year-old Sol Grosskopf, a delegate from Wisconsin. “Half of the my classmates who are graduating, have no jobs,” he said. “That’s my reality right now.”
“We need a new pathway to create growth,” said Adele Malpass, delegate from New York, who was on her party’s platform committee. “80 percent of the [platform] committee’s time was spent on jobs and job creation.”
Almost all the polls show that the race is tied within the margin of error, said CNN’s Byran Monroe. The president’s personal popularity is behind some of his support, Monroe said, that’s why the convention is critical to presenting Romney to the country.
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New Jersey Star Ledger “Thousands of pumped delegates flocked into this hurricane-wary city over the weekend far giddier about the prospects of beating President Obama than they were four years ago – or even four months ago.”
Washington Post “At 17, the high school senior from Mount Vernon is not of voting age. But he’ll be 18 by Election Day, making him eligible to serve and vote as a delegate to the Republican National Convention next week. Of the more than 2,000 delegates headed for Tampa, Draim will be the youngest.”
San Francisco Chronicle “Tuesday’s brunch with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and House Speaker John Boehner has been moved indoors. Schedules were rearranged to fill an open Monday evening. Sandbags were in place outside the hotel housing the 800-strong California delegation.”