And then Ann Romney stole the show. She described her husband as "humble" and "compassionate," as a "loving, faithful husband" and "wonderful father and grandfather" and as an "honest, hardworking businessman." Her remarks were as powerful as any words I have heard from a political spouse.
On Wednesday, Sen. John McCain, the man who lost to Barack Obama four years ago, described the national security challenges confronting our nation -- and thanked those who serve in uniform to protect us all. His words that "we cannot afford to substitute a political timetable for a military strategy" were a damning indictment of the Obama administration. So, too, was his critique that "we cannot afford to have the security of our nation and the lives of those who bravely defend it endangered because their government leaks the secrets of their heroic operations to the media."
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice -- in one of the shortest presentations of the convention -- posed what she called "the question of the moment." She asked, "Where does America stand? When our friends and our foes alike do not know the answer to that question -- clearly and unambiguously -- the world is a chaotic and dangerous place."
Paul Ryan -- who could become the youngest vice president in a quarter-century -- put the lie to how he has been defined by the opposition. His personal story, grasp of the issues, self-deprecating humor and emotional "to this day, my mom is my role model" were nothing short of uplifting. Ryan's optimism for the future, his stand on the sanctity of life and traditional marriage as matters of faith, and his commitment that "we will not try to replace our founding principles (but) reapply our founding principles" make me look forward to the Ryan-Biden debate in October.
By Thursday evening, when Clint Eastwood -- master of the line, "Go ahead, make my day" -- and Sen. Marco Rubio introduced Romney, tens of millions of people were watching. Romney's inspiring, upbeat presentation and his acknowledgment that we really are an exceptional nation were Reaganesque.
Will the Tampa convention be enough to have the GOP prevail in November? It might be if "We the People" don't give up on "hope and change." I still hope we change -- and hire Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
Oliver North is the host of "War Stories" on Fox News Channel, the founder and honorary chairman of Freedom Alliance, and the author of "American Heroes in Special Operations." To find out more about Oliver North and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.