Rubio, one of the GOP’s rising stars, drew a prime-time speaking slot. “Our problem with President Obama isn’t that he’s a bad person,” he said. “By all accounts, he, too, is a good husband and a good father, and thanks to lots of practice, a pretty good golfer. Our problem is he’s a bad president.”
Bush talked mostly about education but first spoke as a member of one of the Republican Party’s leading families by calling out Obama for explaining his economic record by pointing to the problems he inherited from the administration of former president George W. Bush, Jeb Bush’s brother.
“Mr. President, it’s time to stop blaming your predecessor for your failed economic policies,” Jeb Bush said. “Mr. President, you were dealt a tough hand, but your policies have not worked.”
The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that 54 percent of Americans blame George W. Bush for current economic problems, compared with 32 percent who blame Obama.
Romney did not lack advice in the hours before his speech. Jeb Bush urged him not to listen to most of that advice and told him to simply “speak from the heart.”
“That’s been hard for a guy who’s been brought up, trained, lived his life in a way of great discipline and reserve,” Bush told reporters and editors from The Washington Post and Bloomberg News at a breakfast Thursday morning. “You can’t undo 63 years of how you’ve lived.”
Romney and Ryan toured the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday afternoon, joining about 100 campaign staff members for a photo in front of the stage. Romney spent a few minutes onstage checking out the lectern and adjusting the teleprompters. Accompanying him were members of his team’s senior staff: campaign manager Matt Rhoades, chief strategist Stuart Stevens, media adviser and convention producer Russ Schriefer, longtime spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom, and senior adviser Peter Flaherty.