As Mitt Romney steps into the national spotlight tonight, Republican delegates want their newly minted nominee to sketch a bold course to turn around the country's economy in blunt, passion-ate language that will show voters he's not "a corporate robot."
"He's going to swing for the fences and hit it over the Green Monster," said Brock Cordeiro, 34, of Dartmouth, a Republican delegate who believes the 65-year-old former Bay State governor should take a cue from the late President Ronald Reagan. "I'm not looking for minute policy details in the speech, but I am looking for the bold bright colors, and not the pale pastels, as Reagan would have said."
Massachusetts delegates, along with Republican Party members from across the nation who made the pilgrimage here for the Republican National Convention, say the founder of Bain Capital needs to show viewers at home he is a take-charge leader with heart.
"He is not just a suit CEO who makes the hard decisions. He makes the hard decisions, but there is thought behind it and there is conscience," said Bay State delegate Bill Nickerson, 58, of Raynham, a power production manager at a Taunton municipal lighting plant.
Vincent DeVito, a delegate who volunteered for Romney's 1994 Senate campaign against the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, added: "When he gets up there and he sees the stadium full of Mitt Romney folks, he'll be exhilarated. He's not, you know, a corporate robot."
Of tonight's speech, DeVito added, Romney is "one of the most passionate people I've met. He listens to you. This perception that he's a little stiff, that's going to disappear."
Romney has been working on the speech for a week, fine-tuning it every day and practicing alongside his wife, Ann, this weekend while in New Hampshire. Ann Romney, who set the bar high with her emotionally powerful speech on Tuesday night, said yesterday even she doesn't know what the final draft will include.
"I can't wait to hear what he's going to say, it keeps changing every other day. He keeps almost re-writing it," she told the Latino Coali-- tion.
But delegates who have not always been Romney supporters said he must show skeptics that he's the right man to lead the country out of rough economic waters.
"I think he needs to show the world who he is, and once he does that, people will understand he's the right person for the job," said Bill Moore, a North Carolina delegate who originally supported Texas Gov. Rick Perry, then switched to Herman Cain, and then backed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
"Then I ended up with Mitt, and that's OK, because anyone in that stand would do a better job than what we have going on," Moore said. "He's not going to make everybody happy, and that's the reality, but if people know who he is, what he's done and what he stands for, I believe people will come around."
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