TAMPA, Fla. - As the Republican National Convention winds to a close, Mitt Romney is expected to formally accept the nomination as President Barack Obama's opponent.
Johnson County Republican Party Chairman Ronnie Metsker believes Romney will use the stage to layout his idea for the future of America.
"I expect Romney will articulate a plan for turning around the economy of this country," Metsker said. "A vision that pragmatic people will be able to resonate with and they'll go, 'let's do that.'"
Romney hinted at the themes for his speech in a morning fundraising appeal emailed to supporters.
"We believe in America, even though the last four years have been full of difficulties and disappointments, doubt and despair," Romney said. "We believe in America, even though President Obama's failed policies have left us with record high unemployment, lower take-home pay, and the weakest economy since the Great Depression."
There was no shortage of advice for Romney from armchair speechwriters on all sides.
Jeb Bush, the brother and son of former presidents, said it was critical for the normally reserved GOP nominee to connect with people on an emotional level -- even if he's never going to be "a new-age kind of guy."
"Where it matters is connecting with other people's concerns," Bush said in a round of morning talk show interviews. Only then, he said, will voters be ready to hear the candidate's case.
While a SurveyUSA poll two weeks ago showed evangelical voters trending away from Romney, local Republicans believe religion is no longer an issue in this election.
"When I was a kid, we had the big worry about what would happen if a Roman Catholic were President," Metsker said. "And J.F.K. served and served well. That didn't seem to be an issue. I think that's not an issue today, either."
Metsker said he thinks the electorate is looking for answers to problems plaguing the United States.
"I think the people are longing for a person with an answer, with a solution," he said. "This administration clearly has no answers and about a year ago next month, this administration began attacking and using distraction methods to get the public off the issue that is our stagnant economy. This presidential candidate, in Mitt Romney, has what it takes to make presidential decisions to get our country moving again."
Romney is expected to address his faith in his speech -- a trait President Obama respects, according to an interview by Time Magazine.
Time Magazine asked the president what he admired about the GOP nominee.
"He strikes me as somebody who is very disciplined," President Obama said. "And I think that is a quality that obviously contributed to his success as a private equity guy. I think he takes his faith very seriously. And as somebody who takes my Christian faith seriously, I appreciate that he seems to walk the walk and not just be talking the talk when it comes to his participation in his church."
According to a Nielson ratings report, viewership of the GOP convention is down from viewership in 2008 with parts of the country paying close attention to Hurricane Isaac's path of destruction. The first night of the GOP convention drew an estimated 22.3 million TV viewers, the vast majority over 55. The Nielsen ratings company said that figure was down from the 23.1 million who watched the first full night of the 2008 convention, which nominated John McCain. Nielsen said just 1.5 million of those who watched Tuesday's convention session were in the 18-34 age group.
That didn't concern local Republican's, though.
“I think the whole convention so far has just been electrifying. I wish I could be there, but the people I’ve spoken to that are there from our area here are just absolutely just highly mobilized and energized," Metsker said. "Now the big question will be what happens to the unaffiliated voters, the independent voters. Will they be captured by the message of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and decide to give them a shot?”
And Metsker said local GOP supporters are ready for the rest of the campaign.
“I can attest to the fact that the Republicans clear across the state of Kansas are very fired up. Mitt Romney picking Paul Ryan has been a very good selection," he said. "It broadened out the swath of what this future administration will look like. Paul Ryan is very bright. We’ll find that he’s a man with a plan, a man with a purpose. He’s very principled and he’s not a bumbling fool."
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