Republicans gathered in Tampa, Florida, have officially nominated Mitt Romney as their party's candidate to challenge Barack Obama for the presidency of the United States.
After the role call vote of the several hundred delegates was postponed by one day due to storm concerns in the Gulf of Mexico, Romney's nomination - which has long been all but secure - was made official on Tuesday at the Republican national convention.
The highlight of the evening was a speech by Romney's wife, Ann. Her speech was designed to give Americans a deeper glimpse of Romney, who generally keeps a quiet composure.
"It has been 47 years since that tall, kind of charming young man brought me home from our first dance," Ann Romney said, referring to their first date. "Not every day since has been easy. But he still makes me laugh. And never once did I have a single reason to doubt that I was the luckiest woman in the world."
"You can trust Mitt," she said. "He loves America. He will take us to a better place, just as he took me home safely from that dance."
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie followed Ann Romney as the keynote speaker, saying that Romney was the candidate who would deliver the hard truths the American people needed to hear.
Romney, who had planned to stay out of the spotlight until his acceptance speech Thursday, decided to show up early for his wife's turn at the podium. He came onto the stage after her speech and gave her a kiss.
Romney is scheduled to give his acceptance speech on Thursday.
Republicans will also present their heavily conservative party platform, which reflects a move harder to the right. Social positions may even seem extreme to many members. The platform panel approved anti-abortion language with no exception for rape or incest at about the same time Representative Todd Akin, a Republican candidate for the Senate, said women biologically protect themselves from pregnancy after "legitimate rape."
Romney spent the past days rehearsing his speech at his New Hampshire vacation home. He is scheduled to fly to Indiana to address the American Legion on Wednesday before returning to Tampa. Running even with Obama or slightly behind him in most polls, Romney needs a bounce in popularity from the gathering.
Romney's running mate, US Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, tops the bill on Wednesday.
mkg,mz/lw (AFP, Reuters, dpa)