Mitt Romney campaign buttons are stacked up for sale in a Tampa, Fla. store as the city hosts the Republican National Convention in August 2012.
Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
TAMPA, Fla. - Scott Kimmich may be a Republican, but like Barack Obama four years ago, he’s ready for some hope and change.
He’s hoping voters will change course and elect Mitt Romney as president in November.
“This country can’t continue the way it’s going,” Kimmich said from the floor of the Republican National Convention, where he and other delegates formally nominated the former Massachusetts governor as their party’s candidate for president.
Kimmich, a delegate from Erlanger, recalled that when Obama was running for president four years ago, he asked voters to give him a chance to turn the economy around and said that if things had not improved after three years, he’d probably be a one-term president.
With 23 million people out of work and unemployment stubbornly stuck at more than 8 percent, Kimmich said it’s time to see that Obama’s prediction comes true.
“We want to hold him accountable,” Kimmich said. “He made that pledge, and he failed. It’s time to quit blaming somebody else for everything that’s going on. It’s now his economy. It’s now his administration. And it’s time for leadership.”
Kimmich is one of a handful of delegates and alternates from Northern Kentucky who are attending the GOP’s national convention, which opened on Monday in Tampa.
While the purpose of the gathering is to formally nominate Romney and his vice-presidential running mate Paul Ryan, the week has been chock-full of extracurricular activities, such as breakfasts, parties, receptions and policy briefings.
The Kentucky delegation’s itinerary included receptions sponsored by the coal industry, Toyota and DHL Worldwide Express and events with the state’s two U.S. senators, Mitch McConnell of Louisville and Rand Paul of Bowling Green.
For Ian Koffler, a Villa Hills, delegate attending his first convention, one of the highlights was just being on the convention floor and casting his delegate vote for Romney.
“You get a tremendous sense of national pride when you’re involved in this process,” Koffler said. “When you’re sitting on the floor representing your fellow Kentucky Republicans, casting votes for your party’s nominee, in politics there probably are very few feelings that are better than that. I’m sure when a candidate wins a race you get that same feeling. It’s unbelievable to participate in a process like this.”
Koffler, an attorney in Covington, said he’s not one to study opinion polls closely, but as the convention comes to a close, he thinks Romney has the momentum going into the final weeks of the campaign.
“I really think it’s his race to win,” Koffler said. “He just needs to tell the American people his story and remind them of the fact that this president has led the worst recovery in American history. We need a course correction. (Obama) has proven he can’t get the job done.”
Cathy Flaig, an alternate delegate from Hebron, said she was especially impressed with Ann Romney’s address Tuesday night. Romney’s handlers were hoping his wife’s speech would show the human side of the candidate, and Flaig thinks she did.
“I absolutely thought she knocked it out of the ballpark,” Flaig said. “She’s not a politician. She’s a wife. She’s a mother. She’s married to a man who has a career in this. But she just did a wonderful job. She talked about the things that were important to her – and they were her family.”
Flaig was a Ron Paul supporter in the beginning, but now that Romney is the nominee, “I’m a Romney girl,” she said. “Obama has to go, and no matter who the candidate would have been, the Republicans are going to be united.”
Flaig said her family business, Flaig Welding Co., has suffered under Obama because of new regulations his administration has placed on businesses. A sign in her front yard has a pointed message for Obama. “Bob and Cathy built Flaig Welding,” it says. “You’re the problem, not the solution.”
While most national polls show the race a dead heat, Romney is expected to win easily in Kentucky. With the state considered a lock for Romney, many Northern Kentucky Republicans plan to campaign for the GOP ticket in Ohio and Indiana, Kimmich said.
“It’s going to come down to turnout,” Kimmich said. “It’s going to come down to a very small number of undecideds who will break in the last few days, and our job is to be on the ground in those battleground states turning out the vote.
“If we do that, Gov. Romney will become President Romney. If we fail, then we face four more years of this administration.”
Scripps Howard News Service