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SRLC Day One: Mitt Romney

The star attraction of the morning session yesterday was Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. The first thing that jumps out at you about Romney is his physical appearance: tall, svelt, classically handsome. He just looks presidential. Standing up on stage at the podium with the line of flags behind him, Romney cut a picture straight out of central casting from a Hollywood movie studio.

Romney started by offering the ostensible purpose of his visit: to address the delegates on behalf of the Republican Governor’s Association. After a quick run through of the list of important gubernatorial contests in 2006, Romney launched into his ’08 stump speech which consisted of the four challenges he says America must face. They are, in order: 1) the threat of Islamic jihadis, 2) runaway government spending, 3) the rise of Asia, and 4) “cultural challenges.”

Romney finished with a stirring story about the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics when speed skater Derek Parra carried the tattered American flag taken from the World Trade Center into the stadium in Salt Lake City.

All in all Romney’s speech was well received. He came across as very articulate and passionate, and hit all the right notes with the crowd, including the issue of gay marriage, which received big applause. The question mark for Romney, of course, is the issue of his religion. It seemed a bit of an elephant in a room full of hundreds of GOP delegates, a majority of whom are evangelical Christians.