At the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney officially accepted his nomination as the Republican candidate for president.
After being introduced by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Romney began his speech by heartily accepting the nomination.
“Tonight, I am asking you to join me to walk together to a better future,” Romney said.
Meanwhile, Duke College Republicans held a viewing party for the speech in the second floor common room of McClendon Tower. DCR chair Taylor Imperiale, a junior, handed out bumper stickers for Romney and Ryan and posters that read “North Carolina Believes.”
Romney prescribed a five-point plan that he said would create 12 million jobs. In this plan, he would cut the deficit and balance the budget, repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—also known as Obamacare—make North America energy independent by 2020, give citizens the job skills they need, forge new trade agreements and champion small businesses.
“What America needs,” Romney diagnosed, “is jobs. Lots of jobs.”
During Romney’s speech, the crowd in Tampa periodically broke into chants of “USA!”
Romney also promised to not raise taxes on the middle class, “protect the sanctity of life” and honor the institution of marriage.
“President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet,” Romney said. “My promise... is to help you and your family.”
By the time Romney began to speak, about one dozen DCR members and one self-identified Democrat had settled into the common room’s blue armchairs.
The Democrat was sophomore Chris Evans. He said that Romney’s speech was decent, but that there was “nothing there really.”
“I hope Romney didn’t lie like Ryan did,” Evans said.
Senior Taylor Gronka was also unsure about Romney. Gronka, a libertarian, had volunteered in the past for Romney, but he is no longer so enthusiastic about the candidate.
“I agree with his message,” Gronka said. “But I’m not sure he’s the right messenger.”
Gronka cited Romney’s support for the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 as a reason for why he was reconsidering voting for Romney. The NDAA, which Obama signed into law, is controversial for provisions that may affirm the presidential power to indefinitely detain American citizens. Gronka said he does not plan to vote for either candidate.
Sophomore Nicholle Romero, a conservative and member of Duke College Republicans, said that she was definitely voting for Mitt Romney. She hoped a Romney administration would bring less regulation and less fiscal spending.
“I want someone who is proud to say that America is what it is,” she said. Romero, however, said she was more excited about Romney’s vice presidential pick, Rep. Paul Ryan.
“If the ticket was flipped, I wouldn’t mind,” she said.
Imperiale said Romney hit several strong points during his speech, adding that he liked that the former governor talked more about his personal background. “That connects with people a little bit more, when you are able to bring in more of your personal background and how you are going to use that to be a good leader,” Imperiale said.
He said Romney’s plan had potential to shake up the current political climate. “A lot of young people came out and voted for Obama, they were excited about his prospects,” Imperial said. “But, like Romney said, when a lot of students graduate, half of them won’t be able to find a job, and I think that’s a really sad state of affairs.”
Although Imperiale thinks that Obama will likely take the student and youth vote, he said that Duke College Republicans is planning a big push to make sure that North Carolina goes for Romney this election.
Online, Duke students were also having a conversation about the convention. Led by senior Chloe Rockow, vice chair of the Duke College Republicans, who was live-tweeting the event, students discussed proceedings at #dukechat.
Unlike the Blue Devils who were remotely watching Romney’s speech, junior Daniel Strunk attended the convention in person. Strunk, the statewide college manager for North Carolina Young Americans for Romney, especially enjoyed the many speeches given by big-name politicians at the event and cited the speeches given by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Florida governor Jeb Bush as his personal favorites.
He said that, on the whole, he agreed with Romney’s speech.
“What matters is whether independents and undecided voters enjoyed the election speech,” Strunk said. “I look forward to seeing the public at large’s reaction.”