The Republican National Convention has gotten off to a, err, stormy start.
After Tropical Storm (now Hurricane) Isaac forced the Republican National Committee to cancel Monday's opening session in Tampa, party officials insist that the convention will not be canceled outright.
They have rescheduled the bulk of Monday’s speakers into RNC mega days on Tuesday and Wednesday (schedule here).
On Monday, the RNC will officially "start" at 2 p.m. after a ceremonial gavel drop, then will be called to recess until Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, all eyes are on Isaac, not Romney, a point which may overshadow the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s big day. The storm, which will likely develop into a hurricane, is forecast to hit the Tampa area on Monday or Tuesday, then continue on to the Gulf Coast, where is will likely make landfall in the New Orleans area as a category 1 storm … on the 7-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina no less.
The convention was originally scheduled to run from August 27 to August 30, and will culminate in Mitt Romney's acceptance speech on Thursday night.
Monday's speakers will be rescheduled in order to hold a shortened three-day convention. Vice President Joe Biden, who had planned to go to Florida to counter the GOP's message in Orlando and St. Augustine, has purportedly delayed his trip.
On the flip side, there seem to be growing cracks in the Republican Party. A number of Tea Party Republicans (including Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Donald Trump), neo-conservatives (Geoge W. Bush, Dick Cheney) and libertarians (Ron Paul) will be notably absent from the festivities. Ron Paul is holding a counter-rally — PAUL Fest — across from the Tampa convention center, and held a major speech on Sunday outlining how he and his supporters are changing the face of the GOP.
Watch the RNC live here (news and analysis below):
PolicyMic will be covering the events at the RNC LIVE, as well as live updates on Isaac. Bookmark and refresh this page for our most recent updates and analysis.
Aug. 28, 11:04 PM: Ann Romney's 5 Biggest Take-Aways: Here are the five best highlights from Ann Romney's speech on Tuesday at the Republican National Convention:
1) On Romney's work ethic:
"But let me say this to every American who is thinking about who should be our next President: No one will work harder. No one will care more. No one will move heaven and earth like Mitt Romney to make this country a better place to live!"
2) On Romney's success:
"And let's be honest. If the last four years had been more successful, do we really think there would be this attack on Mitt Romney's success?
But as his partner on this amazing journey, I can tell you Mitt Romney was not handed success.
He built it.
He stayed in Massachusetts after graduate school and got a job. I saw the long hours that started with that first job. I was there when he and a small group of friends talked about starting a new company. I was there when they struggled and wondered if the whole idea just wasn't going to work. Mitt's reaction was to work harder and press on.
Today that company has become another great American success story."
3) On Romney's generosity.
"Mitt doesn't like to talk about how he has helped others because he sees it as a privilege, not a political talking point. And we're no different than the millions of Americans who quietly help their neighbors, their churches and their communities. They don't do it so that others will think more of them.
They do it because there IS no greater joy."
4) On why Romney is the right choice.
"This is the man America needs.
This is the man who will wake up every day with the determination to solve the problems that others say can't be solved, to fix what others say is beyond repair. This is the man who will work harder than anyone so that we can work a little less hard.
I can't tell you what will happen over the next four years. But I can only stand here tonight, as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an American, and make you this solemn commitment:
This man will not fail.
This man will not let us down.
This man will lift up America!"
5) On women.
"I'm not sure if men really understand this, but I don't think there's a woman in America who really expects her life to be easy. In our own ways, we all know better!
And that's fine. We don't want easy. But these last few years have been harder than they needed to be. It's all the little things -- that price at the pump you just can't believe, the grocery bills that just get bigger; all those things that used to be free, like school sports, are now one more bill to pay. It's all the little things that pile up to become big things. And the big things -- the good jobs, the chance at college, that home you want to buy, just get harder. Everything has become harder."
Aug. 28, 10:53 PM: Romney is sitting with Ann and Condoleezza Rice ... wonder what the Condi proximity means.
Aug. 28, 10:38 PM: Chris Christie now giving the keynote speech ... can't compete with Ann, tho.
Aug. 28, 10:26 PM: PolicyMic Pundit Zach Anderson is also live blogging tonight, and weighs in on Ann Romney:
Here's a snippet:
"Ann seems to be promoting rushing into marriage and having children..."
Follow Anderson at The Cars of the Future Run on Knowledge
Aug. 28, 10:15 PM: Ann Romney Up Now:
"I've been all across this country for the past year and a half and heard these stories of how hard it is to get ahead now. I've heard your voices: “I'm running in place,” “we just can't get ahead.”
"If you listen carefully, you'll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men."
"I don't think there's a woman in America who really expects her life to be easy. In our own ways, we all know better!"
"We don't want easy. But these last few years have been harder than they needed to be. It's all the little things -- that price at the pump you just can't believe, the grocery bills that just get bigger; all those things that used to be free, like school sports, are now one more bill to pay. It's all the little things that pile up to become big things. And the big things -- the good jobs, the chance at college, that home you want to buy, just get harder. Everything has become harder."
"Mitt will be the first to tell you that he is the most fortunate man in the world. He had two loving parents who gave him strong values and taught him the value of work. He had the chance to get the education his father never had.
"But as his partner on this amazing journey, I can tell you Mitt Romney was not handed success.
"He built it.
"He stayed in Massachusetts after graduate school and got a job. I saw the long hours that started with that first job. I was there when he and a small group of friends talked about starting a new company. I was there when they struggled and wondered if the whole idea just wasn't going to work. Mitt's reaction was to work harder and press on."
Aug. 28, 9:58 PM Nikki Haley up now.
Key Haley quotes:
"Barack Obama will do everything he can to stand in your way."
"American government deserves a government which stands alongside them, not in their way."
"Romney has taken borken companies and made them successful ... oh and by the way, he actually balanced his budget."
Aug. 28, 9:57 PM Artur Davis. Wow. Amazing speech. The next Barack Obama?
Aug. 28, 9:49 PM: Artur Davis now up ... he used to be an Obama and Democratic supporter.
Artur Davis Quotes:
"Lets put the poetry aside ... lets come down to Earth and start creating jobs again."
"Last time I spoke at a convention, it turned out that I was in the wrong place. So Tampa…Thank you for welcoming me!"
"Instead of moving oceans and healing planets, let's get our bills in order and pay down the debt so we control our own future."
"Ask yourself if Democrats speak for you. When Dems say we should grow govt it is the voice of recklessness."
Aug. 28, 9:36 PM: Ted Cruz up now.
Ted Cruz quotes:
"We are seeing a great awakening ... a shared love of liberty across the country."
"Our rights are secured only when government power is restrained."
"We can continue down the road of the the Obama Democrats, restrained economies and free markets or we go down the road of liberty -- free markets, fiscal responsibility and individual liberty.
"It's tragic how far we've come from hope and change."
"Government is not the solution to our problems."
... Ted Cruz has declared a revolution on podiums.
Aug. 28, 9:35 PM: That hands thing ... just blew me away. Embaracing.
Aug. 28 9:31 PM: This Santorum hand job speech is ABSURD. Did he actually write this speech? Isn't his brain pushing the panic button for this speech?
Aug. 28, 9:20 PM: Former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum now on stage.
Key Rick Santorum Quotes:
"In America we believe in the dream of working towards our God-given potential."
"If America is going to succeed, we must stop the assualt on marriage and the family today ... from lowering taxes and restoring social programs."
"Parents should be in charge of local schools, not the department of education."
"When a president can write a law and do something he cannot do ... America is in trouble."
Aug. 28, 8:59 PM: Scott Walker on now ... this should get good.
Scott Walker Quotes:
"On June 5, voters got to decide who was in charge ... was it the government special interests or the hardworking tax payers. On June 5, the tax payers won."
"The last couple of years have been pretty tough. Unemployment in Wisconsin had topped in over 9%. But because of our reforms, unemployment is down and the economy in the state is growing."
"People, not governments, create jobs. Sadly the federal government seems to be going in the opposite direction."
"Now more than ever we need reformers, leaders who think about the next generation, not the next election."
Scott Walker's presence at the RNC is critical. Many Republicans believe that the key to winning election 2012 hinges on using the same strategies -- and policies -- Walker used in the lead-up to his June 5 recall election. Since Walker championed an end to public unions, more conservative politicians have pushed his policies in their own states. Anti-public union policies have sprung up in states like Ohio, California, and Tennessee. Some analysts have thought that anti-public union policies would become the trademark of the Romney-Ryan campaign.
Here's the Obama campaign rebuttle to Walker:
In his speech tonight, Governor Scott Walker touted the economic recovery underway in Wisconsin under President Obama’s leadership. Highlighting how unemployment is dropping, the economy is growing, and small businesses are adding jobs, his message tonight was vastly at odds with how Mitt Romney talks down the economy.
WISCONSIN GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER TOUTED HIS STATE’S IMPROVING UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker “Today, Wisconsin's Unemployment Rate, It's The Lowest It's Been Since 2008.” [“Promises Kept” Ad, Walker For Governor, 3/5/12]
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Was “Quick To Tout That The State’s Unemployment Rate Stands At Its Lowest In Four Years” And Asked That “People Be Patient.” “He is quick to tout that the state's unemployment rate stands at its lowest levels in four years and has been trumpeting even the tiniest positive job creation news. He has also asked that people be patient. ‘Vince Lombardi, when he took over the Green Bay Packers, the Packers were 1-10-1,’ said [Wisconsin Governor Scott] Walker, who took office in January 2011. ‘He didn't take them to the world championship the next year. It took a couple of years. But eventually once they got there they were one of the premiere teams in the NFL. And we can be a premiere state.’”
A public-sector trade union (or public-sector labor union) is a trade union which primarily represents the interests of employees within public sector (government-owned, supported or regulated) organizations. Public sector unions have become some of the larger or more influential unions in certain areas of the world in recent times due to easier corporate opposition to private-sector unions.
Such unions are highly controversial among conservatives who advocate for the downsizing of the public sector and blame public sector unions for running up large state deficits.
Aug. 28, 8:46 PM: Remarks by Governor Bob McDonnell (VA), accompanied by Bev Gray
Bob McDonnell Quotes:
"This nation is powered and designed by the American dream ... we cannot lose that dream."
"Too many people are looking for work because this president's policies simply have not worked."
"The national debt is immoral at $15 trillion."
"The EPA is a job-killing agency."
"Big government didn't make America ... you built it."
"States with Republican governors have an unemployment rate that is a full point less than states with Democratic governors."
"When government gets out of the way, that's when America succeeds."
Aug. 28, 8:46: The "You Didn't Build That" quote is going to come up over and over and over and over.
ICYMI, here's the Obama speech everyone is talking about:
Aug. 28, 8:45 PM: PM Libertarian Pundit Charlie Vidal is also covering tonight's RNC.
Here's a snippet:
"Kudos to Kasich for saying that the government needs to set us free rather than saying that they need to attempt to create jobs. Too often, conservative politicians take credit for the job creation that the market does."
Follow Vidal's blog here, and get your free market fix tonight.
Aug. 28, 8:15 PM: Senator Kelly Ayotte on small businesses and how the current administration is crushing Main Street.
Kelly Ayotte Quotes:
"Under this administration the regulations are up and the job creations are down."
"Obama actually believes that as small business grows, the government should be taking more and more from them."
"Isn't it time that we had a leader who thinks that creating jobs should be celebrated, not penalized."
"[Romney] will roll back Obamacare starting on day 1."
"For small business to survive, we need President Romney, not President Obama."
Aug. 28, 8:07 PM: This rendition of "Amazing Grace" is packed fully of raw conservative emotion. #LoveIt
Aug. 28, 8:07 PM: A Preview of Ann Romney's Big Speech Tonight:
HUMANIZING HER HUSBAND - Here's a preview of what Ann Romney will say in three hours: "Tonight I want to talk to you from my heart about our hearts. I want to talk not about what divides us, but what holds us together as an American family. I want to talk to you tonight about that one great thing that unites us, that one thing that brings us our greatest joy when times are good, and the deepest solace in our dark hours. Tonight I want to talk to you about love."
"When Mitt and I met and fell in love, we were determined not to let anything stand in the way of our life together...I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a 'storybook marriage.' Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called MS or Breast Cancer. A storybook marriage? No, not at all.What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage...At every turn in his life, this man I met at a high school dance, has helped lift up others. He did it with the Olympics, when many wanted to give up."
"...This is the man America needs. This is the man who will wake up every day with the determination to solve the problems that others say can't be solved, to fix what others say is beyond repair. This is the man who will work harder than anyone so that we can work a little less hard. I can't tell you what will happen over the next four years. But I can only stand here tonight, as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an American, and make you this solemn commitment: This man will not fail. This man will not let us down. This man will lift up America!"
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS - THIS IS ANN'S FIRST PRE-WRITTEN SPEECH ALL CYCLE: "I've never gone off a written text. So this is a unique experience for me." the would-be First Lady told reporters on the flight down to Tampa. "I've never spoken with a teleprompter either. I don't like it. It's hard. We'll see how I do."
Aug. 28, 8 PM: PolicyMic Pundit Robert Lee is also covering the RNC, and doing a darn fine job of it. Quick snippet:
"A second generation Mexican American, my husband will do whatever it takes to provide for his family." Clearly some Hispanic outreach right there. It's a good effort, and it speaks to the values that Hispanics share with the Republican Party. "We're actually taking work away from Chinese and Mexican competitors and bringing it back to Delaware." Not exactly Hispanic outreach, but then again, it's good for those concerned about outsourcing.
See more from Lee here, at Right Leaning, Right On
Aug. 28, 7:45 PM: Get ready for the major speeches, set to begin at 8:00 pm.
6:00 PM Mitt Romney's quest for the Republican presidential nomination culminated Tuesday afternoon when the delegates gathered in Tampa officially choose him as their nominee.
Aug. 28, 5:40 PM: New Jersey gave Romney all 50 votes, which officially puts him over the top in the delegate count and secures the nomination for President of the United States for the Republican Party. There you have it.
Aug. 28, 5:30 PM: Here's an update on the burgeoning fight in regards to the convention rules. From Michael Duncan at Freedom Works:
"I just got off the phone with a concerned Florida activist, Laura Noble, who informed me that both of Florida's Rules Committee members, Peter Feaman and Kathleen King, have been removed from the Rules committee and replaced with Romney-appointed delegates."
Read more by clicking here.
Aug. 28, 5:08 PM: State Roll-Call Now...
Aug. 28, 4:45 PM: What Was All That Commotion Earlier? The Republican National Convention saw some uneasy disruption from within its own ranks on Tuesday, as Ron Paul supporters vocally protested the removing of Ron Paul delegates.
Ron Paul supporters burst out into chants and protests at the Republican convention on Tuesday afternoon, shouting "point of order!" in unison to protest the RNC's decision not to seat Paul delegates from Maine. A point of order is a matter raised during consideration of a motion concerning the rules of parliamentary procedure.
They also battled rules changes for the 2016 primaries that they warn will reduce the grassroot's impact. Mitt Romney supporters tried to drown them out with chants of "USA!"
Here’s how it played out:
Chants of "let them sit" erupted on the convention floor supporting Maine's Ron Paul delegates stripped of their seats. Ron Paul-leaning delegates from Oklahoma and Oregon were allowed to sit.
Some 10 minutes later, the rules motion was brought up for a voice vote … which saw significant “nay” votes from Ron Paul supporters … but which was approved anyways.
Ron Paul supporters then started chanting "point of order" opposing rule changes that they say takes away the power of the grassroots in the party. Applause then erupted after Paul supporters lost the voice vote to chants of “USA.”
A few Maine Paulites were occupying the floor peacefully. Security was considering removing them.
As Mitt Romney faces a roll call vote to become the GOP nominee (which he is likely to win), any disruptions in the voting process are disturbing, especially for party unity.
Paul delegates were keen to disrupt the roll call process and instead nominate their candidate to president.
A storm may be brewing, and I don’t mean Isaac.
In a letter released late Monday, Indiana Republican National Committeeman Jim Bopp and other RNC members instead proposed a new penalty for delegates who cast a vote for a candidate other than the one they are bound to vote for. The rule was adopted by the committee Tuesday.
“The resolution that we have reached is straightforward,” wrote Bopp and other top RNC officials, including Henry Barbour, Ron Kaufman and John Ryder. “It simply prevents a bound delegate from nominating or casting a vote for a different presidential candidate than the one to whom the delegate was legally bound by state law or state party rule.”
This rule, in effect, destroys Ron Paul's ability to challenge Romney for the GOP nomination, which he is doing.
Aug. 28, 4:12 PM: FYI, here's a look at tonight's line-up. We'll be providing live news and analysis on each of the major speeches. Stay tuned for more!
• Announcement of Recess
• Remarks by Speaker John Boehner
• Remarks by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
• Video and remarks by Mayor Mia Love (Saratoga Springs, UT), U.S. congressional candidate
• Remarks by Janine Turner
• Remarks by former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum
• Remarks by Host, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers
• Remarks by U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (NH), accompanied by Jack Gilchrist
• Remarks by Governor John Kasich (OH)
• Remarks by Governor Mary Fallin (OK)
• Remarks by Governor Bob McDonnell (VA), accompanied by Bev Gray
• Remarks by Governor Scott Walker (WI)
• Remarks by Governor Brian Sandoval (NV)
• Remarks by Sher Valenzuela (small business owner, candidate for DE Lt. Governor)
• Remarks by Senate Republican Candidate Ted Cruz (TX)
• Remarks by Artur Davis
• Remarks by Governor Nikki Haley (SC)
• Remarks by Mrs. Luce' Vela Fortuño
• Remarks by Mrs. Ann Romney
• Remarks by Governor Chris Christie (NJ)
• Benediction by Sammy Rodriguez
Aug. 28, 4 PM: The president of the Young Republicans is on now. Though she brings up very great points about millennials and jobs (and the lack thereof), and how Romney will help young people find jobs again ... it's kind of hard to stay focused with all the tin foil shinning up there:
Aug. 28, 3:25 PM: PolicyMic Political Pundit Robert Lee is running some awesome commentary on his own live blog, Right Leaning, Right On.
Here's a snippet:
08/28, 3:06p: Again, Twitter proves it is worth its weight in gold. From @LibertyShovel: "GOP shows off its biggest assets. Def not their understanding of economics or foreign policy. #GOP2012"
08/28, 2:57p: A controversial resolution thanking all who had a part in putting on the RNC Convention - including the media - has been approved. Now, the RNC is recognizing some Republicans that have been lost over the last four years. Andrew Breitbart specifically mentioned. Glad to see Gov. Kenny Guinn is recognized as well. Good guy that I got to meet a few times working on the Lorraine Hunt campaign for NV governor back in 2006.
08/28, 2:49p: Right now, the best action about the RNC Convention is on Twitter, where numerous tweets are about the house band and the awkward dancing taking place. My question: what kind of moves will we see with 3 Doors Down?
08/28, 2:31p: "[Obama] hasn't run a garage sale, or seen the inside of a lemonade stand." That'd be one hell of a garage sale, though, given Michelle's penchant for expensive apparel.
08/28, 2:21p: Committees have broken at the convention, and we're just jammin' out to CSPAN. Yes, you heard it right - jammin' out to CSPAN. The real question is, what is going to be happening in Rules with all the tom foolery threatening the ability of grassroots conservatives to influence party business?
Aug. 28, 3:15 PM: When should you watch the RNC today? The 10 p.m. - 11 p.m. TV slot: Just look at who will be speaking on Tuesday in the network TV hour (from 10 to 11 pm): Texas Senatorial nominee Ted Cruz; former Representative Artur Davis; South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley; Mrs. Lucé Fortuño, first lady of Puerto Rico; Ann Romney; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; and a benediction from Reverend Sammy Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
That's a pretty solid line-up right there.
Aug. 28, 2:23 PM: Rush Limbaugh claimed President Obama exaggerated forecasts of Hurricane Isaac to force the GOP to cancel the Republican National Convention. While Limbaugh said he is not “alleging conspiracy,” this video suggests otherwise:
Issac officially became a Category 1 hurricane Tuesday when its winds reached 75 mph, just over the 74 mph qualification. It is expected to get stronger by the time it's predicted to hit the coast of southeast Louisiana. Only some low-lying regions have been ordered to evacuate, and shelters are open for those who chose to stay or missed the chance to evacuate.
Aug. 28, 2:06 PM: AND THE RNC HAS STARTED!
Aug. 28, 2 PM: Great Analysis from U.S. News and World Report concerning Ron Paul's status at the RNC ... we might be seeing a schism later today when the Romney roll-call begins: Ron Paul is expected to make a surprise appearance on the floor of the Republican National Convention Tuesday at about 1:45 p.m., sources close to the GOP presidential candidate just told me.
His presence is apparently designed as a way to show solidarity with his several hundred delegates, many of whom are frustrated and seething because they are being outvoted and, in their minds, shunted aside at the Republican National Convention.
Aug. 28, 12:15 PM: The Storm at RNC Will Save the GOP, a great analysis from Nomiki Konst: Just as social media has flattened the world and interconnected society causing companies to rebuild their infrastructures and reevaluate their missions, American political parties are on the verge of doing the same.
The question is, of course: Which party will do it first?
If social media has taught business anything, it’s that it should expect the unexpected, be authentic, and be unafraid of delivering what its audience wants. Social media’s democratizing blitz is now swooping in on political parties.
This week the Republican Party may have faced its flattening moment. Scrap the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert! Cancel the Michele Bachmann movie screening! Forget the events costing millions of dollars and years of planning! Hurricane Isaac is billowing in, forcing the RNC to deconstruct, reevaluate and hone in on its core message: The Future.
While there seems to be a resurgence of cultural conservatives in the GOP, the reality is, the country is becoming more liberal on social issues and younger Republicans are following this national trend. You’ll notice that the RNC highlights the future of the party: young Paul Ryan; Latino Marco Rubio; gay Richard Tisei; female Kelly Ayotte, and the authentic Chris Christie.
Wait, is this really the Grand Ole Party?
It sure is. Republican leadership realizes they must appeal to younger voters or else the party will collapse. (And so will the bank accounts of their wealthy backers.)
There’s nothing new here. The modern day GOP has always campaigned to its base membership off of social trends, but governed on its internal fiscal ideologies. Which is why this is the perfect moment for the GOP to tap millennials.
Millennials, the newly minted "cheaper generation" are trending fiscally conservative, skeptical of bureaucratic and industrial models, all while remaining socially liberal. Vocal leaders of the GOP – like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie – see that this shift occurring. But the party isn’t quite there. Understanding that millennials aren’t the major voting block yet, they’ve run socially conservative Tea Party-style primaries targeting older demographics who are consistent voters, while slowly elevating the next generation of socially liberal yet fiscally conservative Republicans.
Despite what pundits may think, the GOP is not dying; it’s undergoing a makeover. And, if designed right, they could be the party that actually capitalizes off of the millennial spirit.
What does this mean for Democrats? It’s time to run a message that actively and actually speaks to the next voting block generation. Democrats need to stop fighting the Republican rhetoric of the past (i.e. abortion and gay marriage) and create their own narrative for the future (i.e. embracing education reform and modernizing unions) before the GOP steals that narrative from them. Instead, Democrats are clinging to outdated models of what Democrats represent to older generations, and trusting that they will continue to retain enough younger voters to get them through the election.
But uber-connected millennials want to feel relevant all the time, not just when the party needs to get out the last-minute youth vote. They want to feel regularly included in the party’s conversation. They want leaders that are authentic and not afraid to challenge liberal ideologies that need to be modernized — even if they're not popular (i.e. Cory Booker on education reform).
Now is Mitt Romney that leader? Uh, no. If you tear off the outside layer of the façade at the RNC, however, you will see two parties.
Aug. 28, 11:40 AM: Ron Paul Will Still Be At the RNC, courtesy of PolicyMic Editor Mike Luciano: On Sunday in Tampa, Ron Paul delivered a one hour and five minute-long speech to cheering supporters at the University of Florida’s Sun Dome.
Dubbed the “We are the Future Rally,” the six hour-long event was both a tribute to the retiring Texas congressman and a counter-convention to that of the Republican Party's being held at nearby Tampa Bay Times Forum. Paul had been offered a speaking slot at the RNC, but he declined because the offer was contingent on his endorsement of Mitt Romney, and his speech being preapproved by the Romney campaign.
Ron Paul was introduced by his son Rand, senator from Kentucky, along with a WWE-esque theme song. Although the younger Paul has come under fire from die-hard libertarians for his endorsement of Romney, he was nonetheless enthusiastically cheered at the Sun Dome, with the crowd chanting “Paul 2016!” when he was introduced. Rand actually gave a better, more engaging speech than his headliner 77 year-old father, whose 65 minute speech tackled the core issues at the heart of the libertarian cause — the Federal Reserve, foreign policy, civil liberties, and the overall size of government.
Despite not winning a single primary or caucus, Ron Paul managed to scrape together 200 bound delegates for the convention — a testament to the organization of Paul’s game on the ground, and the fervor of his supporters, many of which are millennials disillusioned with the two-party system. Even before Sunday’s rally, Paul had already left his mark on the Republican Party platform, which this year includes a provision calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve, as well as the creation of a commission that will study the viability of a return to the gold standard. Both of these issues have been near and dear to Paul for the duration of his tenure in Washington, and the incorporation of these issues into the platform represents a clear attempt by the GOP to extend an olive branch to Ron Paul libertarians.
Where the Liberty Movement goes from here remains to be seen. For the last four or five years, Paul has been the de facto leader of the cause, around which millions of supporters across the country have coalesced. It may be that Rand Paul can become that focal point, but he will have to overcome the perception held by many in the movement that he is too willing to compromise with members of the party establishment.
Aug. 28, 11 AM: Monday morning on MSNBC, Tom Brokaw indicated that political conventions — like the Republican National Convention in Tampa — have lost their usefulness.
Before the three-day RNC extravaganzas begin, for instance, the candidates have already been selected, the platforms negotiated, and the bulk of campaign funds have been committed. Frankly, there are no reasons why anyone should tune in until the presidential candidate him (or, hopefully down the line, herself) speaks on the last day.
Brokaw suggested a one-day affair and a series of rallies across the country at sports stadiums connected to the convention by satellite. This, he said would energize the process. It’s a novel idea.
Weigh in: What ideas do you have to make the conventions more relevant? Is the current convention system as we know if broken?
Aug. 28, 9:30 PM: Republicans are eager to showcase Mitt Romney as a man who understands everyday Americans and a leader who can fix the economy, with GOP National Convention speeches Tuesday by the woman who knows him best and tough-talking New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. But with New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast waiting fearfully to see where a massive storm makes landfall, politics has become an awkward enterprise and no one knows what sort of party the GOP gathering will turn out to be.
After a one-day weather delay, the convention proceeds according to its latest script: delivering Romney the presidential nomination he fought years to achieve, calling the party to unify around him and setting the stage for the final stretch of the hotly contested campaign to unseat President Barack Obama.
Christie, who delivers Tuesday's keynote address, said that for those Americans who aren't yet sold on Romney, "you start turning it around tonight."
In a round of morning talk-show appearances, Christie said Ann Romney would humanize her husband for the nation, and that his own speech would make the case for GOP economic policies and Romney as the fixer. But ultimately, Christie said, it will up to Romney himself "to let the American people see who he is."
Eager to counter Romney's economic pitch to middle class voters, a super PAC supporting Obama unveiled an ad featuring a small businesss owner who criticized the candidate's record on job growth as Massachusetts governor.
The Romneys boarded a plane bound for Tampa, but it was a mystery whether the GOP candidate would attend the convention before his big address Thursday night.
Aug. 27, 2:00 PM: The RNC Has Officially Started! A ceremonial gavel hammer has started the event ... and now there's a recess until tomorrow afternoon.
Aug. 27, 12:45 PM: Romney on Isaac:
Romney gave his thoughts on the storm off the Gulf Coast on Monday, saying that "Our thoughts are with the people that are in the storm's path and hope that they're spared any major destruction."
Romney briefly addressed reporters Monday morning as he and his wife, Ann, entered a high school auditorium near his New Hampshire summer home to rehearse his convention speech. Ann Romney is scheduled to address the convention on Tuesday night, while Romney will speak Thursday night.
The former Massachusetts governor struck an optimistic tone as he left the school, and suggested things were "terrific" in Tampa, where the weather was rain-free, partly sunny and breezy.
"I like my speech. I really like Ann's speech," Romney said, his wife at his side. "Our sons are already in Tampa and they say it's terrific there – a lot of great friends. And we're looking forward to a great convention."
Aug. 27, 12:40 PM: The official Republican talking points being distributed to surrogates speaking on the party's behalf during the 2012 convention are below:
Top Line Message Points:
For four days, we will drive stories that will set the coming election in context -- both thematically and through compelling, real-life examples and through powerful, dynamic speakers.
Overall Theme: A Better Future
- Monday -- We Can Do Better
- Tuesday -- We Built It
- Wednesday -- We Can Change It
- Thursday – We Believe in America
The Republican Convention gives us an opportunity to present the American people with a clear contrast between the failed policies of Barack Obama and Governor Romney’s vision for a better future.
The American people demand and deserve better, and we cannot allow President Obama to continue to run away from, or distract the American people from, his failed policies. The President’s failures have resulted in:
- High unemployment
- Lower take-home pay
- The weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression.
In contrast to President Obama, we will advance specific polices that Governor Romney and Paul Ryan will implement to grow our economy, help businesses create more jobs and let American families keep more of what they earn.
Governor Romney is uniquely qualified to be president at this critical time in our nation’s history.
- Family, the organizing principle of his life -- devoted and loving husband and father
- Business career -- Bain and the businesses he saved and jobs he created -- a defender of free enterprise
- Public service -- Governor of Massachusetts, rescuer of the Olympics
- Faith -- integral to his life
Unprecedented ways to deliver our message and connect with tens of millions of Americans watching each night on television and countless others participating online:
The podium/Stage, with its 13 LED screens, will provide maximum flexibility to enhance the program with live-stream videos, social network feeds, and panoramic and collage images. The screens allow the stage to be transformed into a factory floor or a Midwest farm.
Convention Without Walls will utilize multiple social media platforms in ways no convention has ever before attempted in order to create community, engage with Americans and amplify the themes and messages from the convention.
Americans across the country and around the globe (working mothers in the Midwest and soldiers stationed overseas alike) will be able to share in the convention experience -- unfiltered, uninterrupted and free of charge.
From the convention, we expect:
- a renewed enthusiasm among supporters and important constituencies
- new opportunities to draw support from target communities
- upward movement in the polls
Aug. 27, 11:30 AM: Isaac Bumps Donald Trump From the RNC, from PM Editor Alex Marin:
It looks like Hurricane Isaac told Donald Trump: you’re fired!
As Republicans scramble to save their quadrennial pageant from being drowned by storm-soon-to-be-hurricane Isaac, RNC 2012 speakers are being shaved off the original schedule of Mitt Romney’s coronation.
One of them is real state mogul and reality television star Donald Trump, who after flirting with a presidential run of his own, decided to endorse the 2012 presumptive Republican presidential nominee back in February.
As recently as Saturday afternoon, the host of NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice was supposed to make a “surprise” publicity stunt on the very convention floor – along with additional activities such as media interviews and meetings with top donors to the Romney campaign.
But imminent Hurricane Isaac has changed these plans, as convention officials canceled Monday’s events, forcing the prominent “birther” to either do something else or stay at home in New York City (no wonder Romney was in charge of delivering the birth certificate joke du jourat a recent campaign stop in Michigan).
However, the owner of the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, didn’t spare kind words for Romney; whom he described as “very tough” but also with a “tremendous heart.” The mogul went on to tell Newsmax that Romney [and Ryan] will “save Medicare,” while Obama [if reelected] would “dissolve it” in the next four years.