TAMPA, FLA. — Given that conventions have essentially turned into coronations and media pageants, one of the only real purposes they still serve is to provide a launching pad for rising political stars to put their face in front of a national audience (before the Democratic convention in 2004, Barack Obama was just another junior senator).
In that regard, the real star from the first night of the 2012 Republican National Convention Monday was Mia Love, the Utah congressional candidate and Tea Party darling who wowed the audience at the Tampa Bay Times Forum with her speech on self-reliance and the American Dream.
The GOP has always had high expectations for Love, who won over her state as the first black woman in Utah to become mayor and is now poised to become the first black Republican woman in Congress if she can defeat Democrat Jim Matheson in November.
And Love did not disappoint Monday. The 37-year-old mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah spoke early in the night, standing out in a lineup of female speakers that the GOP put together last week in an effort to rehab the party’s image among women in the wake of the Todd Akin fiasco.
Unlike some of her fellow speakers, Love has never flirted with birtherism or other Obama-centric conspiracies. And her speech was refreshingly positive, focusing on her experience as the daughter of Haitian immigrants.
“My parents immigrated to the U.S. with 10 dollars in their pocket, believing that the America they had heard about really did exist. When times got tough they didn’t look to Washington, they looked within,” Love told the audience. “So the America I came to know was centered in personal responsibility and filled with the American dream.”
“President Obama’s version of America is a divided one — pitting us against each other based on our income level, gender, and social status,” she continued. “Mr. President I am here to tell you we are not buying what you are selling in 2012.”
Watch her whole speech below:
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