The speech capped with confidence an unusual convention that got off to a rocky and uncertain start, as Tropical Storm Isaac barreled toward the Gulf coast and not only delayed the start by a day but kept several high-profile southern speakers in their home states dealing with the storm.

But after the bad weather largely skirted Tampa, Republicans kicked off the convention with a taut succession of hard-hitting speeches. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivered a fiery keynote Tuesday, with other speakers ranging from Ann Romney to Paul Ryan to Marco Rubio trumpeting Romney’s leadership and challenging Obama’s – all the while warming up the stage for Romney’s nomination acceptance.

The Democratic National Convention will get under way next week, with a Labor Day event set for Monday and the formal program starting Tuesday.

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