TAMPA, Fla. — With the Republican National Convention finally in full gear, U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin of Little Rock joined a long line of speakers Tuesday in urging a change in the nation’s leadership.
"Folks, we can do better," was Griffin’s oft-repeated line during a speech that lasted just two minutes on center stage at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Along with the partisan speeches, the convention did conduct its roll call of the state delegates with Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan winning the party’s nomination. Arkansas cast all its 36 votes for Romney and Ryan.
"The great state of Arkansas casts its 36 votes for the next president of the United States Mitt Romney and the next vice president of the United States Paul Ryan," announced U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark.
The Arkansas delegation cheered loudly from its section of the floor as Griffin spoke.
"Some of them don’t speak with such enthusiasm. He did very well," said Jonelle Fulmer of Fort Smith.
Griffin had been scheduled to speak Monday but opening day was delayed as Tropical Storm Isaac loomed. While Tampa was spared any serious damage, convention organizers scrambled to reshape their schedule. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will speak Wednesday evening.
Griffin opened his address Tuesday with a rat-a-tat attack on President Barack Obama’s tenure as the nation’s chief executive.
"Record unemployment. Record debt. And $716 billion raided from Medicare to pay for ObamaCare. We can do better," Griffin said.
Griffin then pointed to the State Department delay in permitting the Keystone XL Pipeline and its connection to Welspun in Little Rock.
"We have a company with over 500 miles of pipe ready for the Keystone pipeline, but that pipe is sitting in a stack because President Obama says "you can’t build that," he said.
Griffin told convention delegates they have an opportunity to replace "small, rudderless confusion" with "bold, purposeful leadership." He urged them not to waste that opportunity this November.
"Let’s do better," he urged them.
Also Tuesday, Fulmer was formally approved to serve on the Republican National Committee for the next four years. She will replace Reta Hamilton of Bella Vista.
U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock, speaks to the Republican National Convention on Tuesday in Tampa, Fla. PETER URBAN PHOTO