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NY delegates: Mitt Romney hits mark at RNC

New York State Republican Party Chairman Edward Cox

New York State Republican Party Chairman Edward Cox speaks to media August, 27, 2012, during the New York State Republican Party Delegation's breakfast at the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort in Clearwater, FL. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

TAMPA, Fla. -- New York delegates to last week's Republican National Convention said their new standard-bearer, Mitt Romney, hit the mark in his acceptance speech, especially with his message of cutting taxes, shrinking government and creating jobs.

Yet they acknowledged that their presidential ticket of Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is selling a program of fiscal austerity that would make cuts in government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid that are popular in New York.

New York GOP chairman Ed Cox called it a message that voters are ready for and willing to accept. He compared it to the message delivered successfully by Ronald Reagan when he won the presidency in 1980.

Cox said Romney on Thursday night successfully posed the "big question" for voters: "You felt good four years ago when you voted for Barack Obama, but do you feel good under him now?"

Cox also said Romney's five-point plan to create 12 million jobs, which includes keeping taxes low, repealing Obama's landmark health care law and boosting trade, "will work back in New York."

Former Rep. Rick Lazio of Brightwaters, a delegate and Romney surrogate, said the Bain Capital founder and former Massachusetts governor presented himself as a competent leader with a human touch.

Lazio said he had no problem with Romney omitting the specifics of how he would carry out his program, saying he was delivering an acceptance speech to lay out his vision, not a policy address.

Romney's speech capped a three-day convention in which speaker after speaker said the road to prosperity starts with cutting government spending and reining in the federal debt. Failure to do so would put the country on the path to becoming insolvent and bankrupt like Greece, Romney said.

Nassau County Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs responded that there is a "mathematical absurdity" to the Republican program.

"You can't cut taxes on the wealthy, not touch Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, increase defense spending and get your cuts out of everything else, and balance the budget," he said. "That's just not going to happen."

At a reception by the nonprofit Americans for Prosperity to honor David Koch -- a New York delegate, billionaire industrialist and mega-donor to the effort to defeat Obama -- Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona offered the Romney ticket some messaging advice.

Separate from the Romney campaign, Americans for Prosperity is running $14 million in ads against Obama, Federal Election Commission records show.

"If Mitt Romney makes this campaign about economic growth, he will be the president of the United States," Kyl said. Citing the example of the late New York politician Jack Kemp, Kyl said Romney should frame his campaign around the message that "this country was built on freedom to prosper."

But Kyl warned, "If it's about austerity and sacrifice and the like, I don't think the voters are going to respond very well to that."

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