(The Root) — Though Ann Romney was billed as the leading lady of tonight’s Republican National Convention, like many leading ladies she came close to having her spotlight stolen by a younger, up-and-coming starlet. Thirty-seven-year-old Saratoga Springs, Utah, Mayor Mia Love had the GOP crowd on their feet with her feisty speech about freedom, entrepreneurship and personal responsibility.
Love, whose parents are Haitian immigrants, spoke of their early financial struggles in their adopted country. She stressed that despite it all they fought for their piece of the American dream without a handout from the government. Love said, “The America I know is centered on self-reliance.” Before taking the stage Love was introduced via a video that featured her multiracial family. Her husband Jason is white. (Click here to read about other interracial couples in politics.)
Her direct attack on President Obama generated some of Love’s most enthusiastic applause of the night. Speaking directly to the commander-in-chief she said, “The American people are awake and are not buying what you’re selling in 2012.”
Love then earned a standing ovation by weaving the convention’s catchphrase into her close. “We built it” has become the conservative rallying cry of this election. The phrase is intended to be a powerful rebuttal of President Obama’s remarks that all successful Americans have had help along the way to get there. The three words were repeated throughout the night and were visible on signs and banners throughout the convention hall.
When Love emphatically declared, “This is the America we know because we built it,” the crowd began chanting in support of her and her message. She was the first of half-a-dozen Republican women, including Gov. Romney’s wife, intended to help the GOP ticket close the gap with female voters. At the moment the Romney campaign is trailing President Obama by double digits among female voters in swing states.
Love was not the only person of color speaking at the convention Tuesday night. To read about others, check out our convention overview for the night on Blogging the Beltway.
Keli Goff is The Root’s political correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.