When the Republican National Committee announced weeks ago that Artur Davis would deliver a primetime speech at its August convention, it dubbed him a "headliner." He did not disappoint.
Four years ago, Davis had a speaking role at the Democratic National Convention, during which he hailed his former political ally Barack Obama. Tuesday night, he opened by saying that was a mistake.
"The last time I spoke at a convention it turned out I was in the wrong place,” the former Democratic congressman from Alabama said. “So Tampa, my fellow Republicans, thank you for welcoming me where I belong.”
Recalling the wild enthusiasm Obama garnered in 2008, Davis suggested that he and others had been blinded by the Hollywood stars and glamour that surrounded the candidate. Mitt Romney, he said, doesn’t confuse the presidency with celebrity or loftiness with leadership. He urged voters to listen carefully during next week's Democratic National Convention and decide whether that party still speaks for them.
Davis was followed by Ann Romney, whose goal was to soften her husband's image. She praised him as the man America needs.
"This man will not fail. This man will not let us down," she said.
Mrs. Romney also spoke directly to women voters, with whom Obama currently has the edge, and said they're the hope of America. In addition, she dispelled the notion that their 42-year union has been the stuff of storybooks.
"Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called [multiple sclerosis] and breast cancer," she said. "A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivered the night's keynote speech. Recalling a lesson about dealing with girls taught by his mother, he said that it was more important to be respected than loved. Interestingly, he didn't mention President Obama nor did he reference the Republican presidential candidate until well into his speech.
"We have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved,” said Christie. “Tonight we’re gonna choose respect over love.”
The tough-talking governor focused much of his speech on his own accomplishments and the hard choices that lawmakers must make to get the job done.
"We have a nominee who will tell us the truth and who will lead with conviction," Christie said. "And now he has a running mate who will do the same. We have Gov. Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan, and we have to make them the next president and vice president of the United States."
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(Photos from left: Scott Olson/Getty Images, AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall,AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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