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AZ Republic: Arizona Ron Paul supporters boo Romney’s son off stage
PHOENIX – Supporters of Ron Paul booed presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s son off the stage Saturday at the Arizona Republican Party convention, as he sought to solidify support for his father’s nomination.
Hundreds of state GOP members were gathered atGrand Canyon University to elect delegates for the national convention in July in Tampa, Fla., which is expected to select Mitt Romney as the official Republican nominee to challenge President Obama.
“We cannot afford four more years of President Obama,” said Josh Romney, the third of Mitt Romney’s five sons. “We need someone to step in there and turn things around.”
But Josh Romney had to stop repeatedly as people booed and yelled for Paul, who has continued campaigning in the Republican primary. All other challengers, including Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, have dropped out of the race, and Romney has a commanding lead over Paul in the estimated delegate count.
But Paul supporters have begun flooding state conventions, recently winning control of delegate majorities in Nevada and Maine.
Josh Romney tried to appease the crowd, taking a minute to recognize his father’s former challengers.
“I recognize how hard it is to run for president, the sacrifice those men and women made running for president,” he said. “It’s a great contribution they’ve made to the party.”
He recapped Mitt Romney’s background of turning around failing companies, rehabilitating the Salt Lake City Olympics organization and balancing the budget as governor of Massachusetts. Josh Romney said his dad stepped up to the added challenges of taking care of the family after wife Ann was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
But as Josh Romney wrapped up, with an admonition to choose the preferred slate of Mitt Romney delegates, the crowd exploded with competing boos and cheers, cutting him short.
Some attendees said they heard Paul supporters chanting outside that Mitt Romney is “the white Obama.”
State party chairman Tom Morrissey begged for everyone to stay respectful.
“Maybe it’s going to take getting behind somebody we weren’t so excited about. … What I want is to save this country, and we’ve gotta do it together. None of us gets everything we want,” Morrissey said, adding, “Keep your eye on the prize: defeating Barack Obama.”
Arizona is a winner-take-all state, meaning that all of the state’s available 29 national delegates will go to one candidate. Arizona originally had 58 delegates, but theRepublican National Committee took away half as punishment for the state’s decision to break party rules and hold its primary before March 6.