By Arian Campo-Flores
TAMPA, Fla. — In a rousing speech infused with the theme of American exceptionalism, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introduced Mitt Romney to those gathered for the Republican National Convention’s culminating moment: the former Massachusetts governor’s acceptance of his party’s presidential nomination.
“Mitt Romney believes that if we succeed in changing the direction of our country, our children and grandchildren will be the most prosperous generation ever, and their achievements will astonish the world,” he said.
Mr. Rubio’s prominent speaking slot, before a nationwide television audience, also served as his own introduction to the country. A Cuban-American from Miami with a gift for soaring oratory, he is considered a rising GOP star who could help the party repair its relationship with Hispanics, many of whom take offense at Republican rhetoric on immigration.
Mr. Rubio covered familiar ground in his speech, celebrating America as a country that encourages ordinary people to do extraordinary things. “We’re special because dreams that are impossible anywhere else, they come true here,” he said.
He recounted his parents’ emigration from Cuba in the 1950s, as the Castro revolution was brewing, and cited his father’s work as a bartender and his mother’s work as a maid.
“They never made it big,” he said. “They were never rich. And yet they were successful. Because just a few decades removed from hopelessness, they made possible for us all the things that had been impossible for them.”
Mr. Rubio cast President Barack Obama as a failed president. “Hope and change has become divide and conquer,” he said. Choosing Mr. Romney as president, however, presents the country an opportunity to turn the page.
“America has always been about new beginnings,” he said. “And Mitt Romney is running for president because he knows that if we are willing to do for our children what our parents did for us, life in America can be better than it has ever been.”
Watch Republican Senator Marco Rubio’s speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.