Not Chris Christie's (meh), and not Ann Romney's (sorry, she has a nice smile but I'm not that interested), but Rick Santorum's and Rep. Artur Davis's.
HuffPo has the text of the prepared version here. Here's an excerpt, roughly corrected to match the actual delivery:
Maybe we should have known that night in Denver that things that begin with styrofoam Greek columns and artificial smoke typically don't end well.Then there was Rick Santorum's speech, which was actually quite beautiful, emphasizing the critical importance of traditional families, work instead of dependency, human dignity, and love. You can watch it here and read it here.
Maybe the Hollywood stars and the glamour blinded us a little: you thought it was the glare, some of us thought it was a halo.
But in all seriousness, do you know why so many of us believed? We led with our hearts and our dreams that we could be more inclusive than America had ever been, and no candidate had ever spoken so beautifully.
But dreams meet daybreak: the jobless know what I mean, so do the families who wonder how this Administration could wreck a recovery for three years and counting.
So many of those high-flown words have faded.
Remember, my friends, the President saying of negative politics and untrue ads, "not this time?"
Who knew "not this time" just meant "not unless the economy is still stuck and we can't run on our record?"
Remember when the president said, of his own election, "this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal?"
Who knew the plain English version of it was, "middle America, get ready to shell out 60 bucks to fill up your car?"
And in terms of their crown jewel legislative achievement: who knew that when asked, "could government conceivably impose a federal mandate requiring middle class Americans to buy health insurance whether they could afford it or not?" that the Obama answer would be "Yes we can!"
So, this time, in the name of 23 million of our children and parents and brothers and sisters who are officially unemployed, underemployed, or who have stopped looking for work, let's put the poetry aside, let's suspend the hype, let's come down to earth and start creating jobs again.
This time, instead of moving oceans and healing planets, let's pay our bills down and pay down the debt so we control our own future.
And of course, we know that opportunity lies outside the reach of some of our people.
We don't need flowery words about inequality to tell us that, and we don't need a party that has led while poverty and hunger rose to record levels to give us lectures about suffering.
Ladies and gentlemen, there are Americans who are listening to this speech right now who haven't always been with you, and I want you to let me talk -- just to them - for a moment.
I know how loaded up our politics is with anger and animosity, but I have to believe we can still make a case over the raised voices.
There are Americans watching right now who voted for the president, but they're searching right now, because they know that their votes didn't build the country they wanted.
To those Democrats and independents whose minds are open to argument: listen closely to the Democratic Party that will gather in Charlotte and ask yourself if you hear your voice in the clamor.
Ask yourself if these Democrats still speak for you.
When they say we have a duty to grow government even when we cannot afford it, does it sound like compassion to you -- or does it sound like recklessness?
When you hear the party that glorified Occupy Wall Street blast success; when you hear them minimize the genius of the men and women who make jobs out of nothing, is that what you teach your children about work?
When they tell you America is this unequal place where the powerful trample on the powerless, does that sound like the country your children or your spouse risked their lives for in Iraq or Afghanistan?
Do you even recognize the America they are talking about? And what can we say about a house that doesn't honor the pictures on its walls?
John Kennedy asked us what we could do for America. This Democratic Party asks what can government give you. Don't worry about paying the bill, it's on your kids and grandkids.
Bill Clinton took on his base and made welfare a thing you had to work for; this current crowd guts the welfare work requirement in the dead of night and won't tell the truth about it.
Bill Clinton, Jack Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson reached out across the aisle and said meet me in the middle; but their party rammed through a healthcare bill that took over one-sixth of our economy, without accepting a single Republican idea, without winning a single vote in either house from a party whose constituents make up half of this country.
You know, the Democrats used to have a night when they presented a film of their presidential legends: folks, if they do it in Charlotte, the theme song should be this year's hit, "Now You're Just Somebody That I Used to Know."
My fellow Americans, when great athletes falter, their coaches sometimes whisper to them "remember who you are." It's a call to their greatness at a moment when their bodies and spirit are too sapped to remember their strength.
This sweet, blessed, God-inspired place called America is a champion that has absorbed some blows.
But we bend, we do not break.
This is no dark hour, this is no dark hour; this is the dawn before we remember who we are.
So may it be said of this time in our history, 2008 to 2011: lesson learned; 2012: mistake corrected. God bless you, God bless you, Tampa, God bless you, America. Let's take this country back.
We watched the speeches on CNN through our Roku, streaming almost live with no talking heads except the ones on stage. The invaluable RightScoop has all the videos.
Update: Jim Geraghty reminds me of the stronger passages of Gov. Christie's and Mrs. Romney's speeches.
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