TAMPA, Fla. Aug. 30, 2012— -- In a precisely planned climax to the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney accepted his party's presidential nomination and promised "restore America" by creating jobs and fulfilling the hope that he claims President Obama failed to deliver on.
In an energized address that followed three days of speeches by allies, friends and family members, Romney sought to reintroduce himself as a candidate who is sympathetic to the concerns of struggling Americans.
"I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed," Romney said. "But his promises gave way to disappointment and division."
"Today," Romney said, "the time has come for us to put the disappointments of the last four years behind us."
The Republican nominee depicted an America with a vibrant economy, a military so strong it won't be defied, a health care system that works and an optimistic future for its children.
"If I am elected president of these United States, I will work with all my energy and soul to restore that America... Let us begin that future together tonight," he said moments before a wall of balloons descended on the convention hall.
Romney's contrasted himself with Obama at times with sharp digs at the president.
"President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet," Romney said in reference to Obama's environmental policies and to laughs from the audience.
"My promise is to help you and your family," he said.
Romney, who at times can appear stiff or aloof, gave a deeply personal address, mentioning his Mormon faith by name, a rarity on the stump, and talking about his parents' romance as well as the love he shares with his wife of 47 years, Ann.
"I knew that [Ann's] job as a mom was harder than mine and I knew without question her job as a mom was a lot more important than mine," he said.
Romney in recent weeks has been forced to play defense in what Democrats have dubbed a "War on Women." Romney appealed directly to women voters. He often speaks on the stump about his father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney's race for the White House, but tonight he instead spoke about his mother's failed Senate bid.
"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 said of his mother.
To strengthen his bona fides with woman, he stressed the women speakers at the RNC in recent days and his record of choosing a woman to be his lieutenant governor in Massachusetts.
Tonight's speech kicks off the homestretch of the campaign in a race that is neck and neck according to polls.
At the heart of his pitch is that Obama has failed to live up to his promise to create jobs.
"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," he said to applause in the convention center.
"What America needs is jobs, lots of jobs," he said.
"Today more Americans wake up in poverty than ever before… His policies have not helped create jobs they've depressed them," he said of the president.
Romney pledged to create 12 million new jobs in four years if elected. Outlining a five point plan to create jobs by making the U.S. energy independent by 2020, offering greater choices in education, forging new trade agreements, cutting the deficit, and championing small businesses.
Romney and former colleagues who addressed the convention earlier in the evening touted his history as a job creator in the private sector.
Romney's position at venture capital firm Bain Capital has become a routine attack line by the Obama campaign.
"The centerpiece of the president's campaign is attacking success... In America we celebrate success, we don't apologize for it," he declared.
Romney presented his history at Bain as an American success story that helped create jobs.
"That business we started with 10 people has now grown into a great American success story," he said pointing to businesses like Staples and the Sports Authority in which Bain Capital invested in.
Bob White, Romney's friend and former Bain business partner, not only defended the firm but boasted about it.
"Today Bain & Co. is recognized as one of the best places to work in America," he told delegates this evening.