TAMPA, FL -- As Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney prepares to give the most important speech of his life Thursday night, U.S. Senate Johnny Isakson offered up a bit of advice to party's nominee: Focus on your strengths
Isakson, in Tampa for the Republican National Convention, told Patch that Romney has had numerous successes in his career — as a businessman, former governor of Massachusetts and head of the Salt Lake City Olympics. And he shouldn't be shy about letting people know about those achievements, Isakson said.
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"He is a very accomplished man who has done very, very many things and has been successful," the senator said. "He’s been maligned a lot by many in the other party and many on the outside, but he’s the real deal. He’s a humble, dedicated person who wants to be a great public servant."
When Romney gives his acceptance speech Thursday night, "he needs to talk about what he’s good at — the economy, getting people back to work," Isakson said. "And I think that will resonate with delegates here and with the American people."
Isakson, like other GOP leaders in Tampa this week, said the campaigns of President Barack Obama and his supporters have been trying to shift the focus from the economy to other issues, like abortion or Romney's tax returns.
"They’ve talked about Bain Capital, they’ve talked about tax returns, they’ve talked about anything but the economy and jobs, where they have had a poor performance," he said. "I think when the campaign is focused and down to two candidates, which is it now...it’ll be a head-to-head battle, lke a championship boxing match between two very accomplished politicians, and I think those distractions will go out the window."
Isakson said he realizes Romney was not the first choice of many Georgia voters. by taking nearly twice as many votes as Romney.
But, the senator said, Republicans to put that behind them.
"It’s now time for Republicans to lock arms and go head to head with the opposition and be in full support of our nominee," said Isakson, who did not endorse any presidential candidate in the GOP primary. "It doesn’t matter whether you were on board two years ago or where you on board two months ago. The important thing is being on board now."
In 2008, Republican presidential candidate John McCain defeated Obama in Georgia by 5 percentage points, and Isakson predicted Romney will win by at least that margin in November.
But, he said, turnout will be critical.
"Anybody who says, 'Well, my guy didn’t win and I’m going to go home and not participate,' is making a big mistake," he said. "This is a critically important election and we need everybody on board."