Parting ways with convention tradition, Mitt Romney just entered the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum through the rear of the arena, walked through the crowd of delegates to the stage before them and accepted the Republican Party's nomination for president.
"I do so with humility, deeply moved by the trust you've placed in me," Romney said. "It's a great honor. It's an even greater responsibility. I ask you to walk together to a better future. By my side I have chosen a man with a big heart from a small town."
Some 120,000 balloons, inflated by local high school students, are scheduled to fall from the ceiling when Romney concludes his speech.
Romney's address followed remarks by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and, the night's "mystery speaker," actor-director Clint Eastwood, the latter of whom addressed the near-capacity crowd with an empty chair positioned by the podium. Eastwood imagined President Obama was seated next to him.
"I remember three-and-a-half years ago, when Mr. Obama won the election. And though I was not a big supporter, I was watching that night when he was having that thing and they were talking about hope and change and they were talking about, yes we can, and it was dark outdoors, and it was nice, and people were lighting candles.
"I was even crying. And then finally — and I haven’t cried that hard since I found out that there is 23 million unemployed people in this country. Now that is something to cry for because that is a disgrace, a national disgrace, and we haven’t done enough, obviously — this administration hasn’t done enough to cure that."
Eastwood concluded his speech, much of which was ad-libbed, by inviting the audience to join him in saying his famous movie line.
"Go ahead," Eastwood said.
"Make by day," the audience responded.