Here’s what we learned from Mitt Romney’s RNC speech on Thursday night at the Republican National Convention:
1. He believes high unemployment is his path to the Oval Office.
After shifting his message from the economy in the weeks since Paul Ryan was tapped as his running mate, Romney finally returned to his signature issue. He repeatedly blamed high unemployment on President Obama, even though the recession actually started under President Bush, who shares many of the same policy goals as Romney.
“What is needed in our country today is not complicated or profound. It doesn’t take a special government commission to tell us what America needs,” Romney said. “What America needs is jobs. Lots of jobs.”
He accused Obama of “leading the worst economic record since the Great Depression.”
2. He’s not afraid of his Bain experience
The Obama campaign has sharply attacked Romney’s business record, casting him as cutting jobs to earn bigger profits for his company. Romney listed Staples, Sports Authority and other companies Bain invested in, trying to describe the company as a job-creator.
3. He really, really wants the women’s vote.
Polls show Romney trailing the president by more than 10 points among women, the majority of the electorate, and holding only a narrow lead among white women, a key electoral bloc. So the GOP nominee went for a direct, non-subtle appeal to the female vote.
“My mom and dad were true partners, a life lesson that shaped me by everyday example,” he said. “When my mom ran for the Senate, my dad was there for her every step of the way. I can still hear her saying in her beautiful voice, ‘Why should women have any less say than men about the great decisions facing our nation?”
He added, “I wish she could have been here at the convention and heard leaders like Governor Mary Fallin, Governor Nikki Haley, Governor Susana Martinez, Senator Kelly Ayotte and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. As governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman lieutenant governor, a woman chief of staff, half of my cabinet and senior officials were women, and in business, I mentored and supported great women leaders who went on to run great companies.”
Democrats of course aren’t questioning Romney’s record of tapping women for posts, but rather his opposition to abortion rights and federal dollars going to Planned Parenthood.
4. He’s eager to woo disappointed Obama voters
Romney sharply attacked Obama for much of his speech, but he seemed eager to deliver woo people who may have voted for Obama in 2008. He described Americans as having “given up on this president.”
“You know there’s something wrong with the kind of job he’s done as president when the best feeling you had, was the day you voted for him,” Romney said.
The speech seemed a determined effort to capture the small sliver of voters (about 5 percent in most polls) who remain undecided, as Romney needs nearly all of these voters to win reelection.
5. He still doesn’t have a detailed jobs plan
Romney’s proposals to reduce unemployment remain largely vague. He promised education reform, increased trade agreements with other nations, reducing the federal budget deficit, repealing President Obama’s health care law and cutting taxes for small businesses. All but the health care provision have been proposed or already done by the Obama administration and it’s not clear exactly how they would create jobs.