Forget that it was nearly derailed by Hurricane Isaac and marred by Clint Eastwood's bizarre conversation with an empty chair, the Republican National Convention made Tampa the focus of national politics in late August.
Mitt Romney formally accepted the nomination after a long and combative primary and while the energy in the Tampa Bay Times Forum was sometimes lacking, Republicans were convinced he had momentum heading into the general election.
" 'Hope and change' had a powerful appeal," Romney said on Aug. 30. "But tonight I'd ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn't you feel that way now that he's President Obama? 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."
The convention was a triumph for the Tampa Bay Host Committee, which exceeded its $55 million fundraising goal and brought what many thought was long overdue attention on the area. More than 15,000 journalists were credentialed.
The convention exposed shortcomings, however, with many delegates forced to endure long bus rides from their hotels to the convention site. The security presence was heavy, making Tampa's downtown seem unfriendly. But in the end, a study showed visitors left with a better impression of the region.