Romney Built This Convention But Work's Not Done
TAMPA, Fla. (TheStreet) - Mitt Romney may have built this convention but his work his far from done.
Tropical Storm Isaac forced Republicans to scatter from convention events on Monday, but when Romney takes the stage Thursday evening it will have been his exceptional organization and politicking that brought party members of all stripes to unite behind the moderate candidate.
The former Massachusetts governor struggled at times during the primaries to cast himself as the stalwart conservative, while opponents gobbled up the evangelical Christians, blue collar workers and voters in the South.
The tide turned when it became clear Romney had won over Republicans living in so-called purple suburbs and metropolitan areas. Locations like southern New Hampshire, Palm Beach, Fla., Denver, and Detroit all ultimately leaned toward Romney to ultimately hand him an insurmountable delegate lead.Questions remain, of course. Romney is still working to shake an elitist image summed up by a quip from former Republican presidential hopeful and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who said Romney looked "like the guy who fired you." And there are still doubts that he will ultimately be able to motivate evangelicals, Ron Paul supporters and blue collar workers to turn out and support him on Nov. 6. So while Romney's deft organization may have carried him this far, there is still a lot riding on what transpires in Tampa this week and it looks like the Republican party is positioned to address these weaknesses. For example, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is slated to speak later this week in a scheduling move made weeks ago that should give the candidate, who owned the evangelical base during this year's primary race, an opportunity to convince voters that Romney is a true conservative with family values and a pro-life agenda. In fact, a television special about Romney that aired Sunday on CNN painted the image of a family man who is an active member of the Mormon faith, the patriarch of a massive family of children and grandchildren and a devout partner to wife Ann, who encountered life threatening health scares during some of his most rigorous years in private equity. Though Ron Paul hasn't been noisy about his support of Romney -- Paul hosted his own rally of some 10,000 in Tampa on Sunday -- Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), his son, is slated to speak at the convention. Some Republicans have suggested that this move would allow the younger Paul a chance to receive the national political spotlight from his father as the Texas Congressman retires from office.
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