By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
TAMPA, Fla. — When Republicans nominated former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president, their vote brought to an end a long primary fight and set the stage for a close contest against President Barack Obama.
In a roll call of states Tuesday, New Jersey put Romney over the top, giving him the prize that eluded him four years ago. Romney is scheduled to accept his party's nomination in a speech Thursday night.
Republican voters flirted with a carousel of GOP rivals before settling on Romney, who effectively clinched the nomination in May. All of Romney's former GOP competitors have endorsed him, with the exception of Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
Paul did not have enough support to have his name placed in nomination, but he got 190 votes in the roll call. Romney finished with 2,061, well over the 1,144 needed to claim the nomination.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum got nine votes while former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Rep. Michelle Bachmann and former Louisiana Gov. Charles "Buddy" Roemer each got one each.
Below, a live blog of the latest developments to unfold:
Just as events were wrapping up for the night in Tampa, Romney sent an email to supporters:
Four years ago, many Americans were excited about the possibilities of a new president. I wish President Obama had succeeded, because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division.
This isn't something we have to accept.
We believe in America, and now is the moment when we can do something to turn things around.
I am running for president to help create a better future. A future where everyone who wants a job can find one. Where no senior fears for the security of their retirement. An America where every parent knows that their child will get an education that leads them to a good job and a bright horizon.
The time has come for us to put the disappointments of the last four years behind us. To put aside the divisiveness and the recriminations. To forget about what might have been, and to look ahead to what can be.
If I am elected president of these United States, I will work with all my energy and soul to restore America, to lift our eyes to a better future. Because our children deserve it, our nation depends upon it, and the peace and freedom of the world require it.
And with your help we will deliver that brighter future.
|@ BobNewhart : I heard that Clint Eastwood was channeling me at the RNC. My lawyers and I are drafting our lawsuit... #RNC #ClintEastwood #rnc2012|
|@ ZekeJMiller : Romney: "Every American was relieved the day President Obama gave the order, and Seal Team Six took out Osama bin Laden" Applause|
|@ jonward11 : mocking of obama pledge to heal planet followed by promise to help families gets biggest response of night. huge cheer|
HuffPost's Luke Johnson reports:
Mitt Romney probably hoped that surprise guest Clint Eastwood would make his day at the convention -- instead, the 82-year-old gave a rambling speech that was as disastrous as the botched bank robbery that he stopped in "Dirty Harry" while playing a jaded San Francisco cop.
Eastwood talked to an empty chair representing President Barack Obama.
"So Mr. President, how do you handle promises you've made?" he said to the chair. He then proceeded to rankle Obama for his administration's proposal to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in New York, a plan from which he later backed down, and the war in Afghanistan, for which Romney has endorsed the same withdrawal timeline.
Click here to read more.
|@ dcbigjohn : And our first mention of foreign policy, a quick one line on trade #rnc2012|
|@ feliciasonmez : Boos at Romney mention of sending manufacturing jobs to China|
|@ samsteinhp : Romney's first specific proposal: "What America needs is jobs. Lots of jobs."|
Republican National Convention planners picked an interesting time to feature one of the most touching moments of the night, and perhaps week.
About an hour ahead of Mitt Romney's appearance on the RNC stage on Thursday night, a biographic video of the GOP presidential candidate's life aired, eliciting powerful reactions from observers both in the arena and out. The lengthy film included footage of Romney with his father, former Michigan Governor George Romney, and other members of his family. It covered the struggles Romney and his wife, Ann, went through after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It even covered his work with the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The sentimental production effectively topped off a weeklong effort to humanize Romney and portray him as a devoted and sensitive man.
Click here to read more and watch the video.
|@ GingerGibson : Romeny camp on Eastwood "Judging an American icon like Clint Eastwood through a typical political lens doesn't work.”|
The AP reports:
Members of Mitt Romney's church warmly presented the GOP presidential candidate as a compassionate man who lives his Mormon faith of service.
The former Massachusetts governor is the first Mormon presidential candidate on a major party ticket.
Romney was a bishop in the Boston suburb of Belmont, a job akin to the pastor of a congregation.
An assistant back then, Grant Bennett, told Republican delegates at the GOP convention that Romney had "a listening ear and a helping hand." He said Romney devoted as many as 20 hours a week at his own expense.
Click here to read more.
|@ ZekeJMiller : One woman already removed. One man being shoved upstairs. At least one more being dragged out now.|
In his speech to the Republican National Convention on Thursday night, Mitt Romney began his remarks by declaring, "I accept your nomination for president of the United States."
Click here for more.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Speaking at the Republican National Convention, Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood grossly inflated the number of out-of-work Americans, claiming there were 23 million people currently unemployed.
In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 12.8 million Americans out of work in July. What Eastwood was most likely referring to was the underemployment rate -- the number of American workers who have some kind of job but aren't working as many hours as they need.
Underemployment has been a tremendous problem since the beginning of the Great Recession, but the underemployment rate and the unemployment rate are distinct figures, as workers in the latter category have no job at all.
- Dave Jamieson
|@ MattVas : "Mr. Chairman and delegates, I accept your nomination for president of the United States." -- Romney at 10:37p|
|@ jonward11 : and with 25 minutes til 11, he will be going past the top of the hour|
|@ FrankBruni : Mitt entrance meant to evoke State of the Union? Jumping the gun. #RNC|
|@ howardfineman : Ten guys come rushing out off camera to change the podium as Mitt slowly walks to the stage.|
|@ mpoindc : Romney making his way *through* the crowd to the podium, rather than emerging from backstage. #NBCPolitics|
|@ thehill : Rubio: "We chose more government instead of more freedom." #GOP2012|
|@ ebertchicago : Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic. He didn't need to do this to himself. It's unworthy of him.|
HuffPost's Dave Jamieson reports:
The campaign for GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has held up the success of retailer Staples as evidence of the nominee's credentials as a job creator, a fact voters were reminded of when Staples founder Thomas Stemberg stumped for Romney at the Republican National Convention on Thursday.
Bain Capital, the private equity firm that Romney helped found, was one of the early investors in Staples, and the former Massachusetts governor remained on the retailer's board for more than a decade. In claiming he helped create some 100,000 jobs in the private sector over the years, the Romney campaign has leaned heavily on the success of the office supplier, citing roughly 90,000 Staples jobs in their math.
Click here to read more.
|@ zachdcarter : So Rubio excludes nonbelievers from America's ideals, and accuses Obama of "divide and conquer." #RNC2012|
TAMPA, Fla. -- Mike Eruzione, the captain of the 1980 Winter Olympics U.S. hockey team, which famously defeated the Soviet Union and went on to win a gold medal, said at Thursday night's Republican convention that Mitt Romney saved the troubled Salt Lake games. Eruzione told the convention:
I am honored to have this opportunity tonight to talk with you about the global significance of the Olympic movement -- its ideals and its meaning -- and how it was rescued by Mitt Romney.
It has been over 10 years, so many of you may have forgotten, but in 2002, due to bribery scandals and mismanagement, the Olympics -- not just those Games -- but the Olympics as an institution - were threatened.
Thankfully, Mitt Romney was there, to salvage a desperate situation.
An in-depth investigation into the Salt Lake games by Sports Illustrated shows that Romney didn't save the games -- the federal government did, pouring in millions. The amount of money became a point of contention for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and included millions spent on a temporary parking lot, a road that benefited a millionaire, and other questionable projects. The $1.5 billion in U.S. tax dollars spent on the Utah games eclipsed the amount the government spent to support all seven Olympic Games held in the U.S. since 1904 -- combined, Sports Illustrated reports.
The magazine writes:
Enrichment of private interests. For the first time, private enterprises—primarily ski resorts and real estate developments-stand to derive significant long-term benefits from Games-driven congressional giveaways.
Most government entities tapped for cash. With all the skill, grace and precision of a hockey team on a power play, Utah's five-member congressional delegation has used the Olympics to drain money from an unprecedented number of federal departments, agencies and offices -- some three dozen in all, from the Office of National Drug Control Policy to the Agriculture Department.
-- Jason Cherkis
|@ HuffPostHill : Somewhere backstage, Clint is still talking to the chair.|
|@ meredithshiner : Biggest applause line from @MarcoRubio so far: "An almighty God is the source of all we have."|
HuffPost's Howard Fineman writes in a blog:
If conventions are important anymore, and I'm not sure they are, they matter for what is not said more than what is said.
The strategic and factual silences show indirectly what the party, candidate and campaign regard as their vulnerabilities -- the people, issues and themes that they know will drive away what's left of the undecided vote.
Click here to read more.
|@ howardfineman : Now they're loving him here -- "When somebody does not do the job, we gotta let him go." One of the best in-the-hall responses of the week.|
|@ HuffPostMedia : Interesting that this video is being shown before the networks break in. You'd think they'd want it before largest possible audience.|
|@ michaelscherer : Red light is blinking under prompter. Clint is getting the hook.|
|@ jbendery : Right now Clint Eastwood is telling an invisible Obama on an empty chair, "I'm not going to shut up. It's my turn." That's all.|
|@ mollyesque : In case you were wondering, this Clint Eastwood mumbling is off-teleprompter. #gop2012|
|@ AndrewKroll : Why isn't this Romney's entrance right here? Crowd was primed to go nuts. Yet Rubio still has to speak. #gop2012|
|@ mckaycoppins : Applause for Romney saying that what his wife does as a mother is more important than what he does in his career.|
|@ michaelscherer : Bebe Winans, who can sing, plans to sing at DNC in Charlotte too. http://t.co/Cgx7GbTx|
HuffPost's Amanda Terkel and Ryan Grim report:
Bain is back.
Mitt Romney initially launched his presidential campaign on a simple premise: During tough economic times, America needed someone who understood the economy, someone with business experience who could turn it around. Early on, Romney frequently referred to his time at Bain Capital, where he said he helped start and revive an array of companies, creating 100,000 net new jobs.
Click here to read more.
|@ HuffPostMedia : CNN cameras catch Paul Ryan walking to his seat. Romney's up soon — after Clint and Rubio, of course.|
|@ jaweedkaleem : Thinking religion at #RNC2012, seems strategy is to 'fess up' - "yes, Mitt's a church man" - & move on - "but he's a lot more than that"|
|@ GingerGibson : Crowd errupts as Scott Hamilton is introduced. Hamilton has attended Romney fundraisers before.|
|@ HuntsmanAbby : Have a feeling the #DNC2012 will have a better music guest before Obama's big speech. #notfeelingtaylorhicks|
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
(Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Ohio Gov. John Kasich
(Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez
(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Former Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice
(YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Florida Gov. Rick Scott
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)