When Ann Romney and keynote speaker New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave their speeches Tuesday night at the 2012 Republican National Convention, state Assemblyman Marc Butler, R/I/C of Newport was there in the midst of it.
“Yesterday was definitely a highlight,” said Butler during a telephone interview on Wednesday.
Butler — who said he was one of the first New York State legislators to endorse Romney — is in Tampa this week as an alternate delegate for the Congressional district. Butler said though he has been to state conventions, this is his first national convention.
“I have been enjoying it tremendously,” he said. “There’s been a lot speeches from the upcoming stars of the Republican party: Governors, mayors, and those running for Congress. It’s kind of interesting to listen to their experiences and compare it to what’s going on here.”
Butler arrived in Tampa late Sunday afternoon, after a minor delay from the effects of then-Tropical Storm Isaac. He said due to a personal commitment, he will be back home late Thursday night and will miss Mitt Romney’s speech accepting the nomination, but is glad to be taking in the experience.
Butler wasn’t on the floor when Romney secured the 1,144 delegates required to clinch his party’s nomination during the convention on Tuesday, but was on the “second level” of the center.
“You could see and hear better from there,” he said, noting that he could also see the big screen monitors.
According to the official Republican National Convention website, there are a total of 2,286 delegates and 2,125 alternate delegates who are at the 40th Republican presidential nominating convention.
Romney was affirmed as the nominee in a suspenseless roll call of state delegations. He received 2,061 votes to 190 for his nearest roll-call rival, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a preordained victory sealed months ago when the former Massachusetts governor prevailed in a bruising series of primaries and caucuses.
Ann Romney’s prime-time speech on Tuesday was in large measure an outreach to female voters as she declared her husband Mitt Romney “will not let us down” if elected president.
Her tone was intimate as she spoke about the struggles of working families: “If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men. It’s how it is, isn’t it? It’s the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right.”
“Ann Romney made a great presentation,” said Butler. “She really made some strong points. One of [Mitt] Romney’s great strengths is he is by nature a modest guy. We just wish he’d be more forthcoming on some of the things he’s done so well.”
Butler said he was also surprised that Christie didn’t speak more bluntly on some topics, which he is known for doing.
Page 2 of 2 - “It was an effective speech. It got people going,” he said.
Christie issued a broad indictment of Democrats as “disciples of yesterday’s politics” who “whistle a happy tune” while taking the country off a fiscal cliff.
“It’s time to end this era of absentee leadership in the Oval Office and send real leaders to the White House,” he said. “Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to put us back on the path to growth and create good-paying private-sector jobs again in America.”
Butler said he planned on hearing Mitt Romney’s vice-president pick Paul Ryan speak on Wednesday night.
Butler said because of Isaac, the convention activities were canceled for Monday, so two days worth of events were jammed into one day. He said he did make it out onto the floor for a little while, and even got a chance to say “hello” to former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
“It’s been a great experience,” he said. “I believe we’re involved with something that will change the country in a positive direction,.... and I’m excited to be a part of that.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.