Mitt Romney cast President Barack Obama as a man of grandiose promises he couldn't keep in his nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention Thursday.
"President Obama has promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family."
Romney's acceptance speech hit hard on the "disappointments of the past four years" without making it personal or uncivil, turning the tables and putting President Obama suddenly on the defensive. And after nearly an entire week of Republicans loudly proclaiming "We Built That!" at the GOP convention, Romney finally delivered and told millions of Americans how he plans to build a better future for the nation.
In the rousing finale to the GOP convention, which some analysts said would define his entire campaign, Romney explained that he understands why Obama's promise of "hope and change" was enticing, but added "there’s something wrong with the kind of job he’s done as president when the best feeling you had, was the day you voted for him."
Chants of "USA! USA!" broke out early in the speech -- and the crowd was loud and rowdy throughout. At times, the chants forced Romney to stop speaking they were so loud.
"I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division. This isn't something we have to accept. Now is the moment when we can do something. With your help we will do something," Romney said in a prime-time speech to a nation grappling with an 8.3 percent unemployment rate and a painfully slow economic recovery.
He went on: "Now is the moment when we can stand up and say, 'I’m an American. I make my destiny. And we deserve better. My children deserve better. My family deserves better. My country deserves better!'"prompting the night's second standing ovation for Romney.
Near the beginning of Romney's speech, a protester was taken away for causing a scene. Further, a group of Code Pink activists were able to infiltrate the main RNC hall during Romney’s speech and tried, unsuccessfully, to disrupt his remarks.
But Romney, undeterred, spoke about American exceptionalism and invoked Neil Armstrong to rev up the RNC crowd.
"The soles of Neil Armstrong's boots on the moon made permanent impressions on our souls… like all Americans, we went to bed knowing we lived in the greatest country in the world," he said, sending the crowd into a frenzy; chants of "USA! USA!" began once again.
Watch some of the highlights from Romney's speech via The Washington Post here:
Romney also set out to prove that despite the liberal narrative that Republicans are waging a so-called "war on women," as governor of Massachusetts he chose a woman as Lt. governor, chief of staff and a large portion of his senior officials were women.
"My mom and dad were true partners, a life lesson that shaped me by everyday example. When my mom ran for the Senate, my dad was there for her every step of the way. I can still hear her saying in her beautiful voice, 'Why should women have any less say than men, about the great decisions facing our nation?'" Romney said, the standing crowd roaring with applause.
He praised some of the GOP convention's female speakers, including Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, North Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The Republican presidential candidate went on to tout his successful business record, telling the story of opening his first business and how it went on to be a huge success. He says he will do the same thing as president of the United States.
"When I was 37, I helped start a small company. My partners and I had been working for a company that was in the business of helping other businesses," Romney said.
He proceeded to explain why his success also meant success for thousands of Americans: "That business we started with 10 people has now grown into a great American success story. Some of the companies we helped start are names you know. An office supply company called Staples – where I'm pleased to see the Obama campaign has been shopping; The Sports Authority, which became a favorite of my sons."
"We started an early childhood learning center called Bright Horizons that First Lady Michelle Obama rightly praised. At a time when nobody thought we'd ever see a new steel mill built in America, we took a chance and built one in a corn field in Indiana. Today Steel Dynamics is one of the largest steel producers in the United States."
But for too many Americans, he explained, success has been harder to come by lately. This, in large part, is the result of President Obama's first four years in the White House, Romney argued, again jabbing the president for his now infamous "Hope and Change" 2008 campaign slogan, now regularly mocked by conservatives as a hollow, empty promise.
"Hope and Change had a powerful appeal. But tonight I'd ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn’t you feel that way now that he’s President Obama?" Romney asked. "You know there’s something wrong with the kind of job he’s done as president when the best feeling you had, was the day you voted for him."
At one point, Romney compared Obama's first term to former President Jimmy Carter, referring to the struggling economies that both left behind.
"Today the time has come for us to put the disappointments of the last four years behind us," he continued. "To put aside the divisiveness and the recriminations. To forget about what might have been and to look ahead to what can be. Now is the time to restore the promise of America...In America, we celebrate success, we don't apologize for success." Yet another standing ovation ensued.
So, how does he plan to begin the daunting task of restoring the promise of America? He says he's going to create more jobs, because America needs "Lots of jobs."
"To the majority of Americans who now believe that the future will not be better than the past, I can guarantee you this: if Barack Obama is re-elected, you will be right," said Romney.
The Republican presidential nominee then laid out an extremely ambition plan to bring 12 million jobs to the United States. Meanwhile, he said, the president's plans will outsource jobs and eliminate American jobs.
"And unlike the president, I have a plan...It has 5 steps," Romney quipped. You guessed it, another standing ovation. Here is that plan, according to Romney:
- Make North America energy independent by 2020 by tapping America's oil and coal, gas and nuclear and renewables.
- Give American citizens the skills they need for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow by improving schools
- Forge new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences.
- Cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget.
- Reduce taxes on business, simplify regulations, repeal and replace Obamacare
"President Obama has promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family," Romney continued.
Influential conservatives immediately began giving Romney's speech their stamp of approval, some saying he invoked former President Ronald Reagan. That is a compliment in and of itself, but Mitt got a nod from Michael Reagan too, the conservative icon's son:
Romney could not be better.When Dad died we lost AMERICAS cheer leader TONIGHT we have a new one.Bravo— Michael Reagan (@ReaganWorld) August 31, 2012
Romney just delivered the speech that should win him the White House.— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) August 31, 2012
Attacking President Obama's foreign policy, Romney said he has thrown America's allies, like Israel, under the bus, while he has been "eager to give Russian President Putin the 'flexibility' he desires after the election." But should Romney be elected president, "Mr. Putin will see a little less flexibility and a little more backbone," the GOP presidential candidate added.
The back end of Romney's speech focused on the importance of unity among Americans, and said leaders do not divide people based on race, religion or their party affiliation. He also said, unlike Obama, he will not raise taxes on the middle class.
"Everywhere I go in America, there are monuments that list those who have given their lives for America. There is no mention of their race, their party affiliation, or what they did for a living," he said. "They lived and died under a single flag, fighting for a single purpose. They pledged allegiance to the United States of America."
He went on: "That America, that united America, can unleash an economy that will put Americans back to work, that will once again lead the world with innovation and productivity, and that will restore every father and mother's confidence that their children's future is brighter even than the past."
Romney pledged to keep a strong military, strengthen the country's reliance on the Constitution and take care of the poor if he is elected president.
"If I am elected President of these United States," he began, "I will work with all my energy and soul to restore that America, to lift our eyes to a better future. That future is our destiny. That future is out there. It is waiting for us. Our children deserve it, our nation depends upon it, the peace and freedom of the world require it. And with your help we will deliver it. Let us begin that future for America tonight."
Watch Romney's full nomination acceptance speech at the RNC via CSPAN below: