Governors at GOP convention: We built it

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks during the Republican National Convention on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks during the Republican National Convention on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

(CBS News) TAMPA, Fla. - Republican governors from key swing states took to the convention floor Tuesday evening to bash President Obama and urge voters to chose a new leader to restore confidence and hope.

The consistant message in all four speeches: Mr. Obama has put forth policies enocuraging Americans to rely on the government. The rhetoric reinforced the GOP's theme this first full night of the convention: "We built it."

Tuesday afternoon, a roll call of Republican delegates chose Mitt Romney to be the Republican nominee. With the official business mostly complete, the remainder of the convention is largely meant to rally voters around the former Massachusetts governor -- and make the case that the president has failed.

The "we built it" theme is a reference to a remark President Obama made at a rally in Virginia last month where he said, "If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help," adding "you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." The comment appeared to reference roads and bridges, though Republicans have taken it to mean the president was saying people did not build their businesses.

Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin: Choosing Ryan shows Romney has "courage"

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a Tea Party favorite who survived a brutal recall fight earlier this summer, has become a target of Democrats for his decision to push state budget cuts and curb public union collective bargaining rights. In his speech Tuesday night, Walker referred to his recall election.

"On June 5th, voters in my swing state were asked to decide if they wanted elected officials who measure success by how many people are dependent on the government," he said, "or if they wanted leaders who believe success is measured by how many people are not dependent on the government, because they control their own destiny in the private sector."

Walker argues that Romney must present "bold" ideas if he's to beat Mr. Obama. Walker said Tuesday that Romney's decision to pick Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate proves his boldness.

"With this pick he showed us that the 'R' next to his name doesn't just stand for Republican, it stands for reformer," he said.

"Governor Romney not only showed that he has the experience and the skill needed to become president, he showed he has the courage and the passion to be an exceptional president," Walker added.

Walker hails from the same state as Ryan and the chairman of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus, which polls suggest is now a swing state after an earlier lead for Mr. Obama. 

Governor John Kasich, Ohio: President Obama "is holding us back"

Governor John Kasich hails from Ohio, a crucial state for a Romney victory. With the Buskeye State's delegates sitting front and center on the floor of the Tampa arena, Kasich highlighted his accomplishments as governor but said he "needs a new partner in Washington."

"We came into power, we took our problems head on," he said. Kasich took credit for the creation of 122,000 jobs since he came into office in 2010 -- and did not mention the significant role played by the Obama-backed auto bailout in driving jobs in his state.

Kasich told delegates the president is "not working and is holding us back." Romney, Kasich said, would make the same difficult decisions that he did to cut the deficit. Without mentioning his time at Bain Capital, Kasich highlighted Romney's leadership of the Salt Lake City Olympics and as governor of Massachusetts.

President Obama led Romney by six points in Ohio in a Quinnipiac/CBS News/NY Times poll released August 23. 

Governor Bob McDonnell, Virginia: Americans have "lost hope"

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who was an early supporter of Romney, mocked Mr. Obama's 2008 campaign message of hope and change. "Their lost hope is why we need a big change this November," he said of people who have lost their jobs over the past four years.

McDonnell called the Environmental Protection Agency the "Employment Prevention Agency" and hammered Mr. Obama over the "you didn't built that" comment.

"The choice is clear: the status quo of the entitlement society, or dynamic change to an opportunity society," he said. "We need a president who will say to a small businesswoman: Congratulations, we applaud your success, you did make that happen, you did build that. Big government didn't build America: You built America! Small businesses don't come out of Washington, D.C. pre-made on flatbed trucks."

Governor Brian Sandoval, Nevada: Opportunity "is my story"

Governor Brian Sandoval, from the swing state of Nevada, highlighted his Hispanic roots and the fact that he grew up living "a simple American life."

In a speech tailored to appeal to Hispanics without offending the Republican base wanting to strengthen immigration laws, Sandoval said that as a federal judge, he "saw in my courtroom the fulfillment of all that our forefathers sought to create: A nation of laws, a nation of due process and merit and justice for all, and, yes, a nation of immigrants."

He then brought his remarks back to the economy. "I have seen Hispanic business owners and families from backgrounds -- not unlike my own -- struggle in this economy," he said.

"This administration sings the siren song that this is all there is. They tell us government is the answer, but we know it's the problem," Sandoval added. "We must leave Tampa this week on a mission to remind Americans they deserve more than the status quo. They deserve to dream big."

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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