The Republican National Convention officially kicked off in Tampa on Monday. The convention was gaveled in and immediately gaveled out for recess until Tuesday when the festivities truly begin.
When Thursday rolls around, delegates will name Mitt Romney the first Republican presidential nominee from Massachusetts since Calvin Coolidge in 1924.
That means Massachusetts can boast the status of home state delegation this year, and they were reveling in it. Massachusetts GOP chairman Bob Maginn spoke at the delegates breakfast on Monday morning:
What a blessing for all of us to be in leadership roles in this historic time in our nation's history.
WBUR's Monica Brady-Myerov joined Radio Boston from Tampa to shed some light to how the Massachusetts delegation is experiencing their privileged status this year.
- Monica Brady-Myerov, WBUR reporter
Meghna Chakrabarti: Monica, you were are at the Massachusetts delegates breakfast this morning — what did you see?
Monica Brady-Myerov: A lot of very happy Massachusetts Republicans because they haven't had it this good in decades. They've got the best hotel, the best floor access, they're going to all the best parties. Beth Myers, a senior strategist for Romney who's been working with the Republican party in Massachusetts since 1980, spoke to the crowd:
We've had some ups and downs in the Republican party in Massachusetts but all of you have stood by. And I hope you take pride and great pleasure in being where you are in Tampa today. And you got a good hotel location this time.
A great hotel location because they're staying in the same place as Mitt Romney himself. And you can hear them; they sound as if they've come blinking into the sunlight after decades in the shadows. I understand at the delegation's breakfast this morning, there was a surprise speaker.
One of Mitt Romney's sons went up to the podium to a standing ovation, and he told an interesting story about his father. He remembers when he was a teenager and his father worked at Bain. One of his colleagues came to him very upset because his daughter had disappeared to New York, and he was worried because she knew she abused drugs. Romney shut down all of the Bain office, sent everyone to New York to find her, and because of this search — which was also covered by the local media — someone called with a tip. Craig Romney said they found the daughter who had taken an overdose of ecstasy:
The doctors told her father that if they hadn't found her when they did, she probably wouldn't have made it. It's amazing, I think, what her father said about my dad in that situation. He said that without his help I don't think we would have found her.
What's curious about this story is that it's meant to humanize Mitt Romney, obviously, and show that he just wants to help people, but it's also being told to a delegation that's supposedly knows him, works with him, really knows him already. But regardless, they were thrilled and they just loved Craig Romney.
So, the state delegation has been a cheer leading squad — that actually seems like one of its primary missions this week in Tampa for former Governor Romney, trying to spread to the word of what he did while governor here in Massachusetts.
At the breakfast they were given clear marching orders. They needed to spread the word about Romney's economic record, that when Romney came into office, Massachusetts was at the bottom in terms of unemployment. As he was governor, they moved Massachusetts to be the 30th in the nation with a 4.5% unemployment rate. Also, when Romney was governor, he came into a $3 billion budget gap which he closed without raising taxes and left office with a $2 billion rainy day fund. Republican believe these are strong for the party, strong for Romney, and they're going to resonate with voters because the economy, they say, is the most important thing in this election — actually, all the polls say that. State representative and delegate Jay Barrows from Mansfield said this is Romney's strong point:
We need to get our budget in order, we need to get our fiscal house in order now. All that other stuff is just window dressing - it doesn't really matter. You can's address social issues, you can't address a lot of things until the budget is fixed.
On Thursday, former governor Romney receives the party nomination.
That's right — and this is another perk of being the delegation of the nominee. They will cast the deciding vote that will put Romney over the top for the nomination. So that's going to be a very exciting moment for the Massachusetts delegation. On Thursday, Romney will give his acceptance speech. We'll also have Senator Scott Brown come to the convention on Thursday too.
This segment aired on August 27, 2012.