Romney Debate Performance Spices Up RPOF Victory Dinner in Orlando

By: Jim Turner | Posted: October 5, 2012 3:55 AM

What a difference a good debate appearance can make for everyone on the team.

A day after GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney turned national media coverage from the verge of writing his campaign obit to watching him hurl a zestless President Barack Obama against the ropes, Florida Republicans reveled.

They were in the right place to do it, too -- Walt Disney World, partying it up royally Thursday night, around state leaders and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

“I think there was a leader on the stage last night, a person who understood the
McDonnell, Scott, RPOF Victory Dinner

Gov. Rick Scott's playful trophy moment with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

American dream, and the policies needed to get the greatest nation out of debt,” McDonnell said of Romney to the nearly 750 GOP faithful. It was the Republican Party of Florida’s Victory 2012 dinner at the Contemporary Resort.

“It’s incumbent upon us in Florida and Virginia, with those 29 and 13 electoral votes, to stand up and really make a difference.”

McDonnell and others laid out a case against Obama to already sympathetic ears, hammering on the potential economic and employment impacts of pending defense cuts to job losses through the EPA’s coal regulation to mounting debt and sustained unemployment.

The governors and other state leaders who took the stage encouraged party members to put up a few more signs, attend a few more meetings, and talk to employers, suppliers, vendors, about what is needed to keep their companies and businesses strong.

Attorney General Pam Bondi, who has been campaigning in Iowa, New Hampshire and Virginia for Romney, said people have to do more than just support Romney with money. They have to get out on the campaign trail.

“We heard last night Barack Obama make excuses for why people are out of work,” Bondi said. “Here we have a governor who is finding people work and doing exactly what we elected him to do and that is what Mitt Romney will do as president.”

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, prior to giving the Pledge of Allegiance, promised plenty of “red meat” from the podium in addition to the shallot braised beef short rib with truffled mashed potatoes, hericot verts and baby carrots from the Disney staff.  And the speakers delivered with hit after hit about how Obama spent his 20th wedding anniversary.

“One thing Governor Romney could have said last night: ‘Don’t despair, Mr. President, Florida has a consolation prize for you’,” said Scott. “We have over 1,000 golf courses that you can enjoy in your early retirement.”

McDonnell also jumped on Biden for his recent comment that the middle class has been “buried” the last four years.

“And today he had the candor to say on the campaign trail ‘elect us and we will raise your taxes,’” McDonnell said. “So I think Joe Biden gets the honesty in politics award.”

Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who supported Romney in 2008, said, the “debate just solidified the belief we had in our hearts and our minds.”

In a playful moment, Gov. Rick Scott presented McDonnell with a trophy representing Virginia’s 6th place standing in Chief Executive Magazine for places to do business. Florida stands in second place.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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