Fla. advice to Mitt Romney for big speech: Lay out plan for future

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All week the case has been made over and over by speakers at the Republican National Convention: President Obama has failed to fix the economy in four years and has a dangerous world view when it comes to economics, reports David Royse and Margie Menzel of the News Service of Florida.

But now, it’s time to stop talking about Obama, and start talking about what Republican Mitt Romney would do differently, several Florida observers said this week as the GOP nominee prepared to give the convention’s biggest speech, his Thursday night address accepting the party’s nomination for president.

“I think the case has been made and people have decided that the president’s policies haven’t worked, but they like the guy,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said in an interview taped this week by Capitaldatelineonline.com.

“I think re-emphasizing the failures, there’s a point of diminishing returns on that,” Bush continued. “And I think Gov. Romney will lay out a hopeful, optimistic, tangible plan to restore American greatness through economic growth.”

That’s what Romney should do when he takes to the stage for a speech sometime around 10 p.m., some of the state’s delegates to the convention also said.

“Just create a clear distinction between the failed policies of Obama and what we could have, a path to prosperity and more economic growth,” said Richard DeNapoli, a Florida delegate from Hollywood, when asked what he would advise Romney to say in the speech.

In addition to specifics on policy – for which some delegates praised the Wednesday night speech of vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan – Florida voters at the convention also wanted to see some enthusiasm. Some of the criticism of the GOP convention has been that the crowd hasn’t seemed as fired up as it may have been at earlier political party conventions.

“I’m looking for a lot of passion, and a lot of optimism, which I’m sure we’ll have, and the fire in the belly to get things done and accomplished,” said Ellen Hoffman, a Florida delegate from The Villages, the sprawling north-central Florida retirement community near Ocala.

Republicans had better get fired up over the Romney speech, whether the candidate does or not, because it sends a subtle message out over the TV airwaves, several people have suggest.

Most recently, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told Florida delegates that in a speech Thursday morning, urging them to show more enthusiasm. Christie said he’s been a bit disappointed in the low “volume” on the convention floor.

Christie told Florida delegates not to “leave anything in the tank,” and get Romney’s final campaign swing started on a note that exudes enthusiasm.

“You know they’re going to do that next week in Charlotte,” Christie said referring to the Democratic National Convention that begins Tuesday in North Carolina.

Some observers said they want to see Romney also open up a bit, show some of the likeability that Obama used to help get elected four years ago.

Former Gov. Bush noted Romney isn’t particularly good at showing emotions publicly. But, said Bush, who was elected governor twice, he thinks the candidate needs to, at least a bit.

“He has to connect with people on an emotional level about why his leadership will matter to them,” advised Bush.

A New York Times story on Thursday reported that Romney’s speech will focus in part on the disappointment he believes Americans have had in the Obama presidency. But the speech will also be aimed at trying to introduce himself on a more personal level to many voters who remain unfamiliar with him.

But the story also said Romney will do what the Florida voters say they want – hit on some policy details, with aides telling the Times he will lay out some of his vision for an alternative to the Obama White House.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.