TAMPA -- As the 2012 Republican National Convention wound to a close Thursday night, party delegates from Manatee County and elsewhere had the chance to reflect on what they've seen and heard.
After Mitt Romney's acceptance speech Thursday night, Peggy Simone, a state committeewoman and nonvoting delegate from Manatee County, said she was energized. "It inspired me and gets me going," she said, "this unbridled optimism and enthusiasm for this country." "It was a great speech," echoed Kathleen King, chairwoman of the Republican Party of Manatee. "I think he hit his stride just right. He was confident and at peace with himself, and how he wants to help America and her people."
Sitting nearby on the floor at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, John Sorey, the mayor of Naples, "I think it was a marvelous speech and it puts us in position to win the presidency in November."
All in all, a good week, said delegates.
"I've had a wonderful time," Simone said. "A highlight was Condoleezza Rice. She gave the best speech, and she hit every major Republican point."
Simone also enjoyed hearing New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez tell her personal story Wednesday night. "Absolutely spellbinding," Simone said. "Both have extraordinary stories." New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie surprised her. "I didn't know Christie had such a sense of humor."
Manatee delegate and Parrish homebuilder Carlos Beruff says he feels good about the party's future.
"Absolutely, I have enjoyed it. The highlight was Paul Ryan, who all along, showed the differences between our party and the other party," he said.
"We want to solve the problems, and nobody's better prepared for that than Paul Ryan on budgetary matters, and that's common knowledge in Washington."
Beruff says he has been a Romney supporter for years, "Mitt Romney is one of the finest individuals I've ever met," he said. "He's just a nice person. Not everyone is prepared to be in front of the camera."
"Substance -- he has substance and a deep, deep passion for the well-being of this country."
King also was satisfied with the week. "It's been a wonderful convention."
King emphasized that, in her opinion, the presidential race is about jobs, health care and the debt. "We talk about 8.3 percent unemployment, King said.
"That equals 24 million people unemployed.
"My point is, we are going to talk about the issues."