Framework

2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

On the final day of the RNC, presidential nominee Mitt Romney addressed the convention delegates.

He officially gained the Republican presidential nomination on a day when his party tried to steer national attention toward its storm-shortened convention in Tampa, Fla.

At Tuesday’s proceedings,hastily reprogrammed because of cancellations Monday due to the storm called Isaac, Romney’s wife, Ann, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were the prime-time attractions. Their appearances were designed to give voters a more intimate glimpse of the GOP nominee and to amplify Romney’s critique of President Obama.

Ann Romney’s deeply personal speech, woven around the story of their life and family, was also a paean to women — a voter group that has been largely resistant to her husband — as the pivotal force in everyday life.

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“I love you women! And I hear your voices,” she said during 21-minute speech punctuated with nervous laughs. “You are the best of America.”

When she was done, her husband emerged from backstage, past a collage of black-and-white blowups from the family album, to hug her and deliver two brief kisses. “You were fabulous,” he told her.

Christie, the tough-talking Jersey pol, was chosen by Romney to deliver the evening-ending keynote address, a convention staple that typically features some of the most combative rhetoric of the entire event.

Christie delivered an outsider message aimed at the nation’s leaders, prefaced by a long description of his own life and gubernatorial record.

The governor never mentioned Obama by name. His most direct reference accused “Mr. President” of being poll-driven, a familiar gibe at incumbents.

“I’m here to tell you tonight that it is time to end this era of absentee leadership in the Oval Office and send real leaders to the White House. America needs Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and we need them right now,” Christie said to loud applause. Romney looked on from the audience, seated between his wife and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

One of the hardest-hitting attacks on Obama came from unsuccessful GOP presidential contender Rick Santorum. The socially conservative former Pennsylvania senator assailed Obama’s election-year executive actions to spare some young illegal immigrants from deportation and allow states to seek waivers from the federal welfare law that Santorum helped draft.

“President Obama rules like he is above the law,” Santorum said. “Americans take heed: When a president can simply give a speech or write a memo and change the law to do what the law says he cannot do, we will no longer be a republic.” He accused Obama of creating “a nightmare of dependency” and drew cheers with a rare podium reference against abortion.