TAMPA, Fla. ‚?? A tour of a brewery with local roots was among the events at the Republican National Convention that two local delegates enjoyed on Wednesday, before hearing from their vice presidential candidate later in the evening.
State Sen. John Gordner, R-Berwick, said the day began with a breakfast at which U.S. House Speaker John Boehner stopped by and commented on the success Pennsylvania Republicans had in 2011, noting in particular the election wins of U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta in the 11th Congressional District and U.S. Rep. Tom Marino in the 10th.
After breakfast, Josh Romney, one of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney‚??s five children, spoke of his father‚??s family life, noting that his 18 grandchildren call him ‚??Poppa. He‚??s very involved with his family and grandchildren,‚?Ě Gordner said.
On Tuesday, Gordner said, he was impressed at how ‚??very genuine‚?Ě Romney‚??s wife, Ann, seemed in her speech. ‚??She‚??s not a lawyer like Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. She‚??s more of a Laura Bush type person, very down-to-earth.‚?Ě
Ann Romney told the story of how she and her husband lived in a basement apartment when he was 22 and they had ‚??an ironing board for a table. They got married while Mitt was going to law school and business school. They were a typical, struggling newlywed couple,‚?Ě Gordner said.
Pundits have said Ann Romney‚??s speech was intended to show a softer side of Romney with whom middle class voters could relate.
Gordner said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was ‚??the one guy I really wanted to hear from,‚?Ě and Christie‚??s Tuesday night keynote speech didn‚??t leave Gordner disappointed.
Coming from a state heavily in debt and assessing high taxes like Pennsylvania, Christie said he had to do ‚??the right thing, not the easy thing,‚?Ě he said.
Gordner said a ‚??debt clock‚?Ě on the convention floor showed the U.S. was ‚??almost $16 trillion in debt and has gone up $5 trillion in the past five years because we haven‚??t had a leader willing to make the tough decisions.‚?Ě
Gordner said one of the ‚??fun things‚?Ě he got to do at the convention was visit the Tampa brewery of Yuengling, at which owner Dick Yuengling hosted a reception for the Pennsylvania delegation.
Barletta, who also attended the reception, said he felt ‚??very proud knowing that the Yuengling brand started in (and remains based in) Pottsville, Pennsylvania. And to see how that company grew was very exciting for me, with it being a small family business.‚?Ě
As for the speeches he‚??s heard over the past two days, ‚??it‚??s hard to say what speech for me was the absolute best,‚?Ě Barletta said.
He did note one of the most recent he heard as of Wednesday night ‚?? that of former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. ‚??It could have been a State of the Union speech,‚?Ě Barletta said, adding that Ann Romney‚??s speech on Tuesday also was excellent.
Barletta said the themes he‚??s heard consistently is that a current lack of leadership in the Oval Office is hurting the country.
‚??Condoleeza Rice said the way to peace is through strength, and you cannot lead from behind. The current lack of leadership is causing more unrest around the world,‚?Ě Barletta said.
Barletta said Christie‚??s speech on Tuesday ‚??knocked it out of the park‚?Ě and ‚??laid the groundwork for GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan‚??s speech Wednesday night.
Aaron Kaufer, candidate for state representative in the 120th Legislative District, noted that former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu ‚??warmed up the crowd‚?Ě at the breakfast Thursday, saying that states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey will decide the election in November.
Kaufer said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett introduced Christie at the breakfast meeting and that Christie, who arrived after Sununu spoke, said there was ‚??no way New Jersey was in play so it was up to Pennsylvania to carry the torch‚?Ě in November.
What: Party to watch Mitt Romney‚??s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.
When: 8 to 11 tonight.
Where: Mulligan‚??s Irish Pub, 41 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre.
Who: Hosted by the Luzerne County Republican Party, the party is open to the public and admission is free.