The Republican National Convention has wrapped up with a speech by Mitt Romney that combined details of his life story with a pledge to create millions of jobs and "restore the promise of America."
After entering the convention hall down one of the aisles, shaking hands with dozens of delegates along the way, Romney began a speech in which he spoke of his youth as a Mormon, and then as a married man with five rambunctious sons.
He choked up at least twice, once when he recalled how he and his wife Ann would awake to find "a pile of kids asleep in our room."
But the speech also contained repeated criticism of President Barack Obama, particularly his failure to spur a more robust economic recovery. Romney said Obama can "tell us it was someone else's fault" and that in the next four years "he'll get it right" -- but that he can't tell Americans that they are better off than when he took office.
Romney said he will start his presidency with a "jobs tour" -- and he accused Obama of starting off with an "apology tour." He accused Obama of failing to support Israel, while showing patience with Israel's arch-enemy, Iran.
He drew cheers when he vowed to repeal Obama's signature health care law.
His speech ended with the now-traditional scene in which Romney and his wife Ann were joined by running mate Paul Ryan and his wife, and then by other family members, as delegates cheered and balloons fell.
Highlights from Mitt Romney's acceptance speech on Thursday to the Republican National Convention:
ECONOMY and JOBS: Romney said he will create 12 million new jobs by expanding domestic energy production, improving education and training, forging new trade agreements with other countries, balancing the budget, and helping businesses grow. "What America needs is jobs," Romney said. "Lots of jobs." Romney said he will not raise taxes on the middle class.
ENERGY: The United States will be independent from energy sources outside of North America by 2020, Romney said. He supports opening the Atlantic and Pacific outer continental shelves to drilling, as well as Western lands, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore Alaska. He also has proposed reducing obstacles to coal, natural gas and nuclear energy development.
MILITARY: Romney said President Barack Obama wants to make major cuts in military spending that will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs and put U.S. security at greater risk. Romney said he would "preserve a military that is so strong, no nation would ever dare to test it."
FOREIGN POLICY: Romney credited Obama for giving Seal Team Six the order to take out Osama bin Laden. But he criticized the president for failing to slow Iran's nuclear threat and for abandoning key allies Israel and Poland. Obama has been too easy on Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said. "Under my administration, our friends will see more loyalty, and Mr. Putin will see a little less flexibility and more backbone," Romney said.
SMALL BUSINESS: Romney said he would be a champion of small businesses, which he described as "America's engine of job growth." Taxes on businesses would be cut, not increased, under a Romney administration, he said. He would also repeal President Barack Obama's health care law in order to "rein in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare."
WOMEN: Romney made a direct appeal to this critical demographic by noting that women held important positions during his term as Massachusetts governor. He listed several of the women, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who addressed the Republican National Convention, and he also mentioned that his mother, Lenore Romney, had once run for the U.S. Senate.
BUSINESS EXPERIENCE: Romney stressed that his business background at Bain Capital, a private equity firm he helped start in 1984, makes him better qualified than Obama to turn around a struggling American economy. Among the successful companies Bain helped start, Romney said, are Staples, The Sports Authority, and Steel Dynamics, a steel mill in Indiana.
RELIGION: Romney tied his Mormon faith to the American experience. His family found community and kinship with "remarkably vibrant and diverse congregations" that prayed together and were quick to help each other out. He said that growing up Mormon in Michigan may have seemed out of place, but his friends cared more about the sports teams they followed than what church he and his family went to.
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