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September 5th, 2012
01:03 PM ET

Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Patrick McHenry analyze opening night DNC speeches, rebut the Democrats' message

On Tuesday, Democrats capped the first night of their convention with a speech from First Lady Michelle Obama which spoke to the President’s character and accomplishments over his term in office. Earlier, rising-star San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro delivered the keynote address, praising the current president and taking jabs and Mitt Romney on health care. Other Democrats like Fmr. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland went so far as to compare Romney to a fictional character saying, ““If Mitt was Santa Claus he would fire the reindeer and outsource the elves.”

Democrats however are not the only ones in town for the convention. Republican teams are out in full force around Charlotte to counter the messages from the DNC and spread support for GOP candidate Mitt Romney. Two of those Republicans – Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and hometown Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) talk with Soledad O'Brien and the "Starting Point" panel about the DNC’s opening night.

Romney Campaign Surrogate Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) says the greatest weakness for opening night speeches at the DNC was not mentioning any “record of achievement for people getting back to work.” McHenry adds, that people from his district are “not talking about the issues that were brought up last night – they’re talking about whether they have a job.” The North Carolina congressman went on to say “everyone loves” First Lady Michelle Obama and “she’s a fantastic speaker” but Ann Romney is also a good choice for the role of First Lady.

Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) agreed with McHenry’s earlier comment saying, “For six hours worth of speeches no one overtly said ‘you are better off now than you were four years ago.’” “Of course they’re going to play to their base and get rousing applause in that arena,” says Chaffetz. “The reality is you have 23 million Americans who are either unemployed or underemployed.”

Panelist and CNN contributor Ron Brownstein weighs in and asks if “Obama is in position to hold those suburban voters in North Carolina that he won last time?”

"If you look at the suburbs of Charlotte, you’ve got a great example of one of my colleagues...Larry Kissel. He has refused to come to this convention. He’s one of the host Congressman," McHenry responds.“Larry Kissel is a vulnerable member of Congress because of those collar communities around Charlotte, suburban areas, folks that have simply rejected the president’s policies.”

Chaffetz concludes by saying he himself was inspired by Obama’s 2008 campaign centered on hope and change but “there is nothing you can point to to look at President Obama and say ‘oh my goodness, he actually did bridge places that were difficult.’”

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