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Local Republicans react to National Convention speeches

August 31, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Richard Rentschler, 74, left, of Hagerstown and Mary Moser, 67, of Boonsboro share their thought on the Republican National Convention.
By Caleb Calhoun

Maryland Sen. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, took a page out of President Obama’s 2008 campaign playbook Friday to describe Mitt Romney’s speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention.

“The speech was filled with hope, talking about the idea of America and why people come to this country,” Shank said. “It’s set against the backdrop of this administration degrading those who’ve helped this economy and putting them down.”

The convention in Tampa wound down Thursday evening with Romney’s speech. On Friday, local Republicans voiced their approval of the speeches given throughout the week, particularly by Romney.

Shank said he also liked the speech of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and as a father of three children, it “struck” him when Romney mentioned the future of the country’s children.

“Gov. Romney understands we have to turn this country around,” Shank said. “Ryan framed the question, ‘Why would we believe the next four years will be different from the last four years without change at the top?’”

More than 2,000 delegates and more than 2,000 alternate delegates attended the 40th Republican National Convention in the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Marilee Kerns of Boonsboro is an alternate delegate from Maryland who was scheduled to attend the event but said she got caught up with her job at Thompson Gas. She said she did watch Romney’s speech and enjoyed the business perspective he provided.

“The country needs to be run like a business,” she said. “It’s time for a businessman to be in the White House.”

Kerns said she liked how Romney did not attack Obama and that the diversity she saw at the convention goes against the stereotypes people have of the Republican party.

“There were plenty of women and people from all walks of life there,” she said. “We’re an inclusive party. Romney was admirable in giving the president credit for having a plan, but it’s not provided results.”

Local residents supporting Romney also expressed support for his speech at the convention.

Larry Horchner, Sr., 73, of Fairplay, said he appreciated Romney giving specific proposals to improve the country.

“He’s going to put 12 million people back to work, they’re going to start exploring for gas, and he said by 2020 we’ll be independent from the other countries for oil,” he said. “I also think he’ll be stronger on national defense.”

Horchner said the other speakers at the convention showed that the party has a bright future.

“We have a lot of good young stars in the Republican convention,” he said. “It shows a lot of hope for the country.”

Romney’s speech lasted about 38 minutes as he accepted the GOP presidential nomination. The speech included applause, some laughter, boos when he mentioned things President Obama did, and some chants of “U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.”

Richard Rentschler, 74, of Hagerstown, said he was not sure if he would vote this election until he saw Romney speak.

“Maybe he could bring things back again,” he said. “I liked how he didn’t rip Obama apart.”

Hagerstown resident Edgar Murray, 82, said he has voted Republican his whole life and loved Romney’s speech.

“He sounds like he’s going to be a good president,” he said. “I enjoyed his talk. He put it all out there.”

Other speakers at the convention that generated attention were U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Actor Clint Eastwood also gave a surprise speech Thursday night.

Glenn Phenicie, 63, of Greencastle, Pa., said that even though he liked Romney, Rubio and Ryan were his favorite speakers.

“They seemed to connect better, I think,” he said. “The economy went down the toilet, and these guys have a vision for getting it out.”

Boonsboro resident Mary Moser, 67, said Rubio was also her favorite speaker.

“I liked how he said the most important thing in this country should be about the Lord,” she said. “I thought the overall convention was great. I watched every bit of it.”

The Democratic National Convention is scheduled Tuesday to Thursday in Charlotte, N.C.

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