TAMPA, Fla. — U.S. Sen Marco Rubio of Florida told the North Carolina delegation Wednesday morning that the convention was well on its way to presenting to the American public “the other side of presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
“I hope by the end of the week the public will understand what a successful person Romney is,” Rubio said referring to his role as a father and husband.
Rubio’s comments came at a delegation breakfast, sponsored by Food Lion, on the morning after Ann Romney dazzled many in the delegation with a speech about her husband.
Rubio, one of the rising stars in the GOP, said North Carolina should brace for “a tremendous amount of television advertising” over the next two months as an evenly divided swing state in the presidential election. “North Carolina symbolizes the 21st century,” Rubio said.
People are moving to North Carolina from places such as California, New York and Illinois where they never saw a competitive presidential race. That means, he said, they are likely to be excited about a hot presidential race, and the Republican Party should reach out to them.
Rubio said the election was a choice between two different visions of the country – one for freedom and one for more government.
He also said that President Barack Obama had promised to be a unifier, but had in fact been a divider.
Younger Romney praises dad
Josh Romney stopped by the North Carolina delegation to praise his father and to take a few shots at President Barack Obama.
The third of Romney’s five sons is a Salt Lake City real estate developer who was born in 1975. He described his father as his hero, and said he was ready to lead the country.
He told a North Carolina breakfast that Obama “doesn’t recognize American exceptionalism.” He said Obama looks more toward Europe as a model.
“My dad realizes this is the greatest country on earth,” he said.
Also speaking to the delegation breakfast Monday morning were U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers of Dunn, state Sen. Leader Phil Berger, U.S. House candidate David Rouzer of Johnston County, and 12th district House candidate Jack Brosch.
Do Republicans not wear blue?
Apparently unworried about stirring up partisan sports rivalries, during Tuesday’s roll call state party vice chair Wayne King and state Rep. Justin Burr said the state would go “Wolfpack red” in November after going “Tar Heel blue” four years ago.
The two announced that the delegates would cast 48 of their 55 votes for Mitt Romney. The rest went to Texas congressman Ron Paul.
Rule change upsets delegates
Those delegates supporting Paul were among the many throughout the convention unhappy with a decision made by the Rules and Credentials committee that will make it more difficult for future grass-roots challenges to establishment candidates.
The new rule requires states to allocate votes in proportion to the statewide vote total rather than winner-take-all.
“I believe it’s the establishment Republicans who are creating divisions in the Republican Party by basically trying to shut down the future of the party,” said state Rep. Glen Bradley of Youngsville. “If we lose in November it will be on the heads of those who try to shut Republicans down.”
Bradley said he will look at which candidate in the fall most closely follows the Constitution.
“I hope Mitt Romney grows a lot,” Bradley said.
“I certainly want to cast my vote for Mitt Romney.”
Ken Nelson of Charlotte, a Republican precinct worker, said he will vote for Romney – but also said he was disappointed with the new rules.
“I have a serious problem with the way the party stifled any kind of dissent,” Nelson said.
“National parties are the kind of place where the parties need to discuss the issues that divide us and come out here as a unified force to defeat Obama in November. We are leaving with a bad taste in some Republicans’ mouths who need to go out and work for Mitt Romney.’’
Nelson said the GOP should be more supportive of insurgencies, because in 1976, it supported the insurgency of California Gov. Ronald Reagan over President Gerald Ford.