TAMPA, Fla. — Mitt Romney launched his fall campaign for the White House with a rousing, remarkably personal speech to the Republican National convention and a prime-time TV audience Thursday night, proclaiming that America needs “jobs, lots of jobs” and promising to create 12 million of them in perilous economic times.
“Now is the time to restore the promise of America,” Romney declared to a nation struggling with 8.3 percent unemployment and the slowest economic recovery in decades.
Often viewed as a distant politician, he made a press-the-flesh entrance into the hall, walking slowly down one of the convention aisles and shaking hands with dozens of delegates. The hall erupted in cheers when he reached the stage and he waved to his shouting, chanting supporters before beginning to speak.
“I accept your nomination for president,” he said, to a roar of approval. Then he pivoted into personal details of family life, recounting his youth as a Mormon, the son of parents devoted to one another, and a married man with five rambunctious sons.
He choked up at least twice, including when he recalled how he and wife Ann would awake to find “a pile of kids asleep in our room.”
Romney aimed numerous jabs at President Barack Obama, his Democratic quarry in a close and uncertain race for the White House, and drew cheers when he vowed to repeal Obama’s signature health care law.
“This president can tell us it was someone else’s fault. This president can tell us that the next four years he’ll get it right. But this president cannot tell us that you are better off today than when he took office,” Romney declared.