POSTED: Friday, August 31, 2012 - 4:52pm
UPDATED: Saturday, September 1, 2012 - 6:30pm
Lakeland, FLA — The morning after the triumphal culmination of the Republican convention, Mitt Romney asked a Florida audience to hold him and his running mate Paul Ryan accountable for their campaign promises once they do the same for President Obama.
"We want to be held accountable for the promises we made last night, and the night before," Romney exhorted the audience again and again at a steamy outdoor rally in Lakeland, Florida, and added of President Obama: "You listened to the last guy running for president, he laid out what he wanted to do, he was unable to do it. It's time to give someone new a chance."
The GOP nominee was embarking on a stepped-up campaign schedule in the days following his party's nominating convention. Romney's campaign announced a surprise visit to Louisiana Friday afternoon, where the nominee planned to survey damage from Hurricane Isaac with the state's governor, before flying on to Ohio that night.
Ryan was headed to Virginia for a Friday afternoon rally, where Romney had also been slated to speak before the Louisiana trip was announced.
In Lakeland, both Romney and Ryan re-lived the pomp, circumstance, and personal touches that helped define the carefully-choreographed gathering of party officials and delegates in Tampa this week.
"Last night you got to know me a little better with some friends that talked about my life, the things that have been part of my life in the past," Romney said of the parade of church officials, business leaders and Massachusetts leaders who spoke about him on-stage Thursday night. "I was embarrassed from time to time with the nice things that were said. Some people were overly generous but I appreciated it."
Ryan, standing beside his wife Janna, chimed in with his approval of Romney's speech.
"This country needs leadership and you know what we saw last night?" he asked. "We saw a man introduce himself to them, he brought us into his family. We saw a man of faith, of integrity, of achievement."
After giving their prime time convention speeches, both men faced criticism for repeating claims that have been debunked by independent fact-checkers.
Friday, Ryan stayed on the broad theme of Obama's "laundry list of broken promises" from his convention speech earlier in the week.
"The unemployment here in Florida is 8.8 percent. Foreclosures, houses under water, the highest poverty rates in a generation. Half of all the college graduates are either unemployed or are not working in a field that they studied for. College graduates do not spend their 20s in their childhood bedrooms looking up at fading Obama posters wondering when they can move on and get on with their lives," he said at the outdoor rally.
The vice presidential hopeful did not however mention the story about Obama and the GM plant closing in Janesville that the campaign and Ryan himself spent the following day defending and clarifying.