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Convention makes up for lost night with impassioned speeches

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Gov. Chris Christie speaks at the Republican National Convention. (Source: CNN) Gov. Chris Christie speaks at the Republican National Convention. (Source: CNN)
Ann Romney weaved personal and political during her speech to the Republican National Convention. (Source: CNN) Ann Romney weaved personal and political during her speech to the Republican National Convention. (Source: CNN)
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum hit conservative issues during his speech to the Republican National Convention. (Source: CNN) Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum hit conservative issues during his speech to the Republican National Convention. (Source: CNN)

TAMPA, FL (RNN) – Ann Romney brought a warmth and personal touch to the Republican National Convention while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie fired up the floor of delegates with a fiery speech – which did not mention Mitt Romney until 20 minutes in.

The prime time speakers at the Republican National Convention made up for a lost night of campaign exposure by attacking President Barack Obama's words and policies while articulating the Republican platform.

Christie, who is known for his straight talk, drew contrasts between Romney and Obama and basic party beliefs by pointing out that Republicans stand for people and solving problems while Democrats stand for politics as usual.

"If you're willing to fight with me for Mitt Romney, I will fight with you," Christie said. "If you're willing to hear the truth about the hard road ahead, and the rewards for America that truth will bear, I'm here to begin with you this new era of truth-telling."

Christie painted Mitt Romney as a strong leader for America, saying he will make the hard decisions, and also pointed out the road ahead might call for sacrifice – a word Republicans have avoided while campaigning on the weak economy because of lost jobs, foreclosed homes and scaled back household budgets.

The speech ended with Christie calling everyone to stand up as a gesture that the delegates stand up for Romney, a candidate who will stand up for America.

Warming up the crowd for Christie, Ann Romney brought a warmth and personal touch to the Republican National Convention by discussing her marriage, raising five boys and how Mitt makes her laugh, weaving the personal and the political to court independent or disillusioned voters.

After a string of established and rising stars in the party fired up the base, Ann Romney softened the rhetoric by sharing why she loves the Republican nominee for president.

"You may not agree with Mitt's positions on issues or his politics. Massachusetts is only 13 percent Republican," Ann Romney said. "No one will work harder. No one will care more. No one will move heaven and earth like Mitt Romney to make this country a better place to live."

Ann Romney roused the crowd to cheers of "Let's go Mitt!" while painting a warm picture of her husband who some view as a little stiff in front of cameras.

"This man will not fail," Ann Romney said. "This man will not fail, this man will lift up America."

A key speech of the evening was given by former rival Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, whose speech fired up social conservatives who have been wary of Romney. The theme of traditional marriage was a strong undertone in his speech.

"A vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will put our country back in the hands of leaders who understand what America can and, for the sake of our children, must be to keep the dream alive," Santorum said.

At the end of his speech, Santorum reinforced the GOP's position on abortion.

"I thank God that America still has one party that reaches out their hands in love to lift up all of God's children - born and unborn - and says that each of us has dignity and all of us have the right to live the American Dream," Santorum said.

Santorum's comments brought abortion back into the limelight after Romney's team worked hard to push it back to the side after Sen. Todd Akin from Missouri said that a women's body can prevent pregnancy in the case of "legitimate rape."

While some Republicans approve of abortion in the cases of rape and incest, the GOP platform does not.

The rest of the evening featured speeches from other politicians and business owners who stayed on message of "We Built This" which highlighted the weak U.S. Economy, immigration, healthcare and fostering business.

"We deserve a president who won't sacrifice American jobs and American workers to pacify the bullying union bosses he counts as political allies," South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell mentioned the success of states with Republican governors and the results of their policies on those states' economies and unemployment rate. He also touted Republican's tightening and balancing budgets while fostering jobs in the private sector.

"While the Obama administration borrows over $3 billion a day just to keep the lights on, Republican governors have closed $65 billion in budget shortfalls, without raising taxes," McDonnell said.

Haley also touched on both voter ID laws and immigration – two hot-button, Republican topics while she cited her experience of being the daughter of Indian immigrants.

Autur Davis, the former congressman from Alabama who introduced Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic convention, delivered a well-received speech about why he changed parties and philosophy.

An undercurrent through the evening was courting women voters. Along with giving Haley a prime time speaking spot, Ann Romney began her speech with "I love you women!" and many speakers mentioned their mothers.

Tomorrow night's theme is "We Can Change It," and will feature Mike Huckabee, Condoleezza Rice and close with vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan.

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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