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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Connie Mack sets tone with RNC speech



U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack IV gave an inspirational and nostalgic speech that set the tone for tonight’s Republican National Convention session, but many in the main hall weren’t listening.

Mack, the Florida congressman, was the first speaker of the evening and came on the stage directly after a musical interlude. Scores of people searched for their seats or socialized during the Florida congressman’s five-minute speech. But if they were paying attention, they heard a speech that focused on U.S. exceptionalism and a need to return to American values.

“Our success is built on our values and our principles but so many of them are under attack,” he said. “Our commitment to freedom and liberty and to everything that makes our country great seems to embarrass the ‘blame America first’ crowd.”

Mack hopes to unseat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson this fall. Although other Republicans challengers  attacked him as Florida’s version of Charlie Sheen, he easily won the primary. The race is expected to be a close one.

He came across confident and poised on the main stage tonight.

“Tonight we embark on a renewal of the American dream,” Mack said. “Tonight we  honor those who have come before us and done so much, many even giving their lives.” He also borrowed a popular line from President Ronald Reagan: “This is America, and it's morning once again."

But Mack still showed his less buttoned-up side, ending the speech by yelling out, “I love you, Florida.”

Afterward, Mack sat with the Romney family in their conventional hall viewing section.

[Last modified: Thursday, August 30, 2012 8:36pm]


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