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Romney’s defining moment in Tampa

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

So then – it's now Mitt Romney's turn.

The Republican presidential nominee will take the Tampa Bay Times Forum stage Thursday night to address the nation and a Republican Party hungry to unseat President Barack Obama in the upcoming election.

For Romney, it will be a defining moment in his political career.

"I think he needs to layout a hopeful alternative to the pessimistic climate that we're in now," former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Thursday morning from the convention floor. "The president's had four years. His policies haven't worked. While he's tried, they just haven't worked. And I think pointing that out is fine – it's part of politics – but I think it's also important to layout an alternative."

For Tampa, it is a defining moment as well, with the eyes of the political world set on the city. Workers went through the night redoing the stage and making it bigger for tonight's Republican National Convention closing.

The buildup at the convention reached new heights Wednesday night, when vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice electrified the Forum.

"After four years of getting the runaround, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney," the 42-year-old Ryan said.

It laid groundwork for Romney to rally the Right and accept the party's nomination for president tonight.

"Mitt Romney has to define who he is as well," Fox 13 political editor Craig Patrick said. "He's going to reintroduce himself to voters, spell out his plan to create new jobs – those 12 million jobs over four years."

Among many things, Romney will touch on his personal life and Mormon faith during the crucial convention address – a chance to reintroduce himself to the American people.

"It will probably go roughly 30 to 45 minutes, probably closer to 45 minutes," Patrick said. "I remember some acceptance speeches from Bill Clinton that went much longer than that. You can expect him to start speaking shortly after 10 p.m."

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Miami will get the honor of introducing Romney, also stepping into the national spotlight with a short address.

It's a prestigious spot for the 41-year-old Rubio, whose name was said to be near the top of Romney's list for vice presidential picks.

A known face to Florida, he'll set the tone before Romney walks into the convention's biggest moment. And Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a Democrat, said it will be a big moment for the Bay area, too.

"This city, this area, is in the world view, and we are doing great," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. "We're telling Tampa's story like it's never been told before. I can't tell you how many folks have stopped me to tell me how proud they are to be apart of this community."

Stay with Fox 13 for live coverage from the Forum tonight. Follow updates on Twitter and Facebook.

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