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Experiencing the RNC: Dickinson delegate finds GOP convention in Fla. 'impressive and powerful'

Dickinson resident Frank Klein's first Republican National Convention did not disappoint.

Klein, who began traveling back home from Tampa, Fla., early Friday, said the convention was "impressive and powerful."

Klein represented Dickinson in the state House of Representatives during the 2001 and 2003 legislative sessions.

Now he is jazzed more than ever about putting the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket in the White House this November.

"I liked everything he had to say and I think the speech will give him a bounce in the standings," Klein said about Romney. "I agreed with it when he talked about the need to quit government spending and give small business tax breaks. Small businesses needed to be able to trust the person in charge to do what they say and I believe that Mitt Romney will."

Klein said actor Clint Eastwood's surprise Thursday appearance was also a hit in the hall.

"People were impressed with (Eastwood) and he got their attention," Klein said. "His performance went over well and I think it helped the cause."

Klein, who was among North Dakota's 28 delegates and 20 alternates at the RNC, was equally impressed by the ticket's No. 2, Paul Ryan, who Klein stood 25 feet away from during Wednesday's address at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

"Paul Ryan did an excellent job," Klein said. "You could tell that the people around the convention hall really appreciated his speech when the delegates got to talking the next morning. It seems that he really impressed everyone, including me."

With the candidates' political views well-documented, Klein felt the speeches gave the public a better look at their lives outside of politics, which he said was especially important in Ryan's case.

"None of us really knew much about him when he was announced as the vice presidential candidate, but the speeches at the convention really helped us to learn about him," he said. "From family side things, I did not realize Ryan had three younger children or that Romney had 18 grandchildren."

When he wasn't transfixed on the speeches, Klein said he caught sightings of GOP bigwigs, like former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

"When the speakers were done on stage, they would go to the rear of the convention hall, shake hands and talk to people," he said. "A lot of people would follow them back there, but I didn't."

The excitement the meet-and-greets created couldn't even be dampened by Hurricane Isaac.

"When we arrived Saturday evening, it was very calm, not windy at that point," Klein said. "It ramped up after that, but the only thing we received was a little rain and wind, not intense or dangerous."

A highlight for the North Dakotans was U.S. Senate Republican candidate Rick Berg's Tuesday night address.

A call placed Friday to the Berg campaign was not returned and the North Dakota Republican Party number was not in service.

After seeing the enthusiasm the convention generated, Klein sees "Republican red" in North Dakota's future.

"I think North Dakota will definitely go to the Republicans this fall because the Democrats haven't won North Dakota in a presidential race since 1964," he said.

That year, The Peace Garden State's four electoral votes went to Democrat Lyndon Johnson, who defeated Republican Barry Goldwater by 434 electoral votes to win the presidency.

There's no way that will happen this year, Klein said.

"President Obama has really lacked at doing things. We have no budget and he promised during his 2008 election that the unemployment numbers would be lowered," he said.

"To beat him, Romney and Ryan just need to keep going around the country and meeting and talking with people. They need to show people that they're genuine and personable, and show people how they plan to lead us out of the situation the country is in at the present time."