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RNC Blog: Mitt Romney, Clint Eastwood, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio Address Convention

It’s the final day of the 2012 Republican National Convention and PolicyMic has your live coverage again. Tonight, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will accept the party nomination for president after fending off several primary opponents including Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry. Romney did not exactly catapult to the nomination so much as outlast and out-fundraise his opponents. One by one, Romney dropped his competition by successfully portraying himself as a calculating technocrat in a field of unbalanced ideologues unfit for the presidency. The full live blog will start when the convention reconvenes at 7pm tonight. Scroll down for tonight's full schedule. For continual updates, click the refresh button. 

 

11:33pm: Well, that's it for this live blog. Thanks for joining. Be sure to tune in next week when we do this all over again for the Democratic National Convention!

11:31pm: The 2012 Republican National Convention is now closed. Let the flood into Tampa-area strip clubs begin. 

11:26pm: Are Republicans of all people seriously popping balloons during this prayer?! And Jesus wept. 

11:25pm: People are popping balloons as Boehner is trying to introduce Cardinal Timothy Dolan. 

11:20pm: Balloon-drop shot from PolicyMic's Nick McNiff. 

11:17pm: I'll tell you right now, I am conventioned-out! But wait; there's still the benediction to be given!

11:14pm: Romney finishes strong:

The America we all know has been a story of the many becoming one, uniting to preserve liberty, uniting to build the greatest economy in the world, uniting to save the world from unspeakable darkness.

Everywhere I go in America, there are monuments that list those who have given their lives for America. There is no mention of their race, their party affiliation, or what they did for a living. They lived and died under a single flag, fighting for a single purpose. They pledged allegiance to the UNITED States of America.

That America, that united America, can unleash an economy that will put Americans back to work, that will once again lead the world with innovation and productivity, and that will restore every father and mother's confidence that their children's future is brighter even than the past.

That America, that united America, will preserve a military that is so strong, no nation would ever dare to test it.

That America, that united America, will uphold the constellation of rights that were endowed by our Creator, and codified in our Constitution.

That united America will care for the poor and the sick, will honor and respect the elderly, and will give a helping hand to those in need.

That America is the best within each of us. That America we want for our children.

If I am elected President of these United States, I will work with all my energy and soul to restore that America, to lift our eyes to a better future. That future is our destiny. That future is out there. It is waiting for us. Our children deserve it, our nation depends upon it, the peace and freedom of the world require it. And with your help we will deliver it. Let us begin that future together tonight.

11:12:pm: It feels like Romney's speech has been going on since I was in junior high school.

11:09pm: Romney already saber-rattling against Iran, Cuba, and Russia. World War Three, baby!

11:07pm: Like all convention speeches, Romney's means absolutely nothing at the end of the day. 

11:06pm: Romney: "Unlike President Obama, I will not raise taxes on the middle class of America." 

11:03pm: Romney says he has a five-step plan  to create 12 million jobs. He's blowing tons of smoke at the audience right now, and they're loving getting pandered to. It's a terrible, terrible sight. 

11:03pm: Romney:

His policies have not helped create jobs, they have depressed them. And this I can tell you about where President Obama would take America:

His plan to raise taxes on small business won't add jobs, it will eliminate them;

His assault on coal and gas and oil will send energy and manufacturing jobs to China;

His trillion dollar cuts to our military will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also put our security at greater risk;

His $716 billion cut to Medicare to finance Obamacare will both hurt today's seniors, and depress innovation – and jobs – in medicine.

And his trillion-dollar deficits will slow our economy, restrain employment, and cause wages to stall.

11:01pm: Romney: "What America needs is jobs. Lots of jobs." 

11:00pm: Romney bashes Jimmy Carter. I'm amazed at how much Republicans love bashing the 39th president. 

10:59pm: Romney plugs Apple for second time. He must really have a lot of AAPL in his portfolio. 

10:57pm: Romney: "You know there’s something wrong with kind of job Obama's done as president when the best feeling you had was day you voted for him."

10:55pm: From Politico:

Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt wouldn't get into the nuances of Clint Eastwood's Republican National Convention speech, but he did have a quick retort Thursday night.

"Referring all questions on this to Salvador Dali," he said in an email to POLITICO, referring to the late surrealist painter.

Incidentally, the Salvador Dali Museum is just across the bay from Tampa in St. Petersburg, Fla.

10:53pm: Will Romney tear up at any point in this speech? It appears he's come close once or twice. 

10:49pm: Romney loves the ladies!

10:48pm: Mitt is getting personal, trying to portray himself as human. Does not compute.

10:45pm: Did you know we live in the greatest in the world? It's only been said 742 times tonight. Romney is giving a gigantic middle finger to the rest of the world, as evidenced by this: "When you need someone to do the really big stuff, you need an American."

10:44pm: Romney looks stiff, as expected. 

10:41pm: Crowd is chanting, "U-S-A, U-S-A!" I believe it's spelled R-O-M-N-E-Y. 

10:39pm: Romney plugs Apple stock holdings by referencing his and Paul Ryan's iPods. 

10:36pm: This is the moment Romney has been waiting for since he was a fetus.  

10:33pm: Ladies and gentleman, Willard Mitt Romney!

10:32pm: Rubio just said the Republican Party chooses more government over freedom. Freudian slip? Ron Paul supporters would say yes. 

10:32pm: Fun political fact: 100% of nominating conventions are 100% substance-free. This one is no exception. 

10:28pm: Rubio is crushing it. So much so, it's almost easy to forget that his party wants to transform America into a Randian dystopia.

10:26pm: Rubio now looking directly into the camera talking to younger Americans who are underemployed. 

10:23pm: "Almighty God is the source of all we have," says Rubio to a cheering crowd. Thank Zeus for that. Also, "Faith in our creator is the most important value of all." Rubio is getting religious.

10:20pm: Rubio is giving one of the most America-centric speeches I've ever heard. Apparently we need to help the rest of the world become more like America. 

10:19pm: Rubio has already given the best speech of the night so far. 

10:18pm: Another reference to "American exceptionalism." Whoever's playing the RNC drinking game, finish that beer!

10:17pm: I wonder if Ron Paul is watching the RNC or just reading an economics textbook instead. 

10:14pm: Marco Rubio opens with, "I think I just drank Clint Eastwood's water."

10:13pm: Janna Ryan's weird clapping method:

10:12pm: Are people really appluading Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair? Yes they are.

10:06pm: I take back by remarks from 10:04pm. I don't know who came up with the idea of octogenarian Eastwood talking to an empty chair, but it's a really bad idea. 

10:04pm: I don't think Eastwood is using a teleprompter. He's doing a better job of speaking off the cuff than a lot of politicians. 

10:03pm: Clint Eastwood.

10:01pm: More from Nick McNiff:

9:59pm: Video tribute to Romney family, including his father George, who ironically set the precedent of presidential candidates releasing tax returns.

9:55pm: Gmail chat from a friend. "Can we pause to acknowledge that Ann Romney is really hot for 63?"

9:51pm: Photo from the floor of the convention by PolicyMic's Nick McNiff. 

9:49pm: What percentage of this awesome black church choir do you think will cast votes for Mitt Romney? According to the latest poll, zero percent.

9:43pm: Apparently, the 2002 Olympics never would have happened if it weren't for Mitt Romney. 

9:36pm: "Miracle on Ice" hero Mike Eruzione is speaking.

9:29pm: To Taylor Hicks: Which street and what exactly is being taken there?

9:28pm: Some guy named Taylor Hicks is performing. Apparently he won some singing contest once and now he's famous. 

9:24pm: Is it me or is there just a little too much sexual innuendo in this speech by Jane Edmonds? 

9:19pm: Mitt Romney will never apologize for America. Sure, Barack Obama never has either, but they're just saying!

9:15pm: Former Romney Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey is basically saying that Massachusetts was a toilet when Mitt Romney became governor. 

9:13pm: The last 20 minutes or so have been one long commercial for Bain Capital. 

9:10pm: Flashback: Staples founder Tom Stemberg admits private equity is about making money first and foremost, not jobs. This is a very uncontroversial proposition in the business community, but Romney has to jump through hoops to explain otherwise to the public.

9:05pm: "They just don't get it!"

9:04pm: "They just don't get it!"

9:03pm: They just don't get it!" 

9:02pm: "They just don't get it!"

9:00pm: Stemberg says Romney would make a great president because he knows how to save on pens and paper. No joke. 

8:59pm: Tom Stemberg, founder of Staples, is coming on to talk about how awesome Staples is. 

8:55pm: Who is the real Bob White?

8:52pm: Romney campaign chairman and former manager at Bain Capital, Bob White and his Boston awesome Boston accent are reminscing about their days at the vulture -- I mean venture -- capital firm. 

8:50pm: Tons of people crying, as the last two speakers talk about how Romney helped them through tough times, in what is no doubt an attempt to counter the perception that Romney is stiff, unfeeling, and impersonal. Interesting approach, but it may have depressed people more than anything else. 

8:47pm: The last two speakers have talked about how their children died and Mitt Romney was there to support him.

8:45pm: The RNC is trotting out one Mormon after another. Is Romney finally coming to publicly embrace his religion, after years of downplaying it? 

8:44pm: PolicyMic's Nick McNiff on Grant Bennett: "Grant Bennett sounds like droopy the dog, but everyone seems to love his stories about Romney's charitable spirit."

8:42pm: Everyone in the audience looks bored to death. Come on, folks!  

8:39pm: I don't know who Ted Oparowski is, but I love this guy. 

8:36pm: If it's possible to "look like a Mormon," Grant Bennett is achieving that right now. Hey, I can say that because I have Mormon cousins, so back off! 

8:32pm: The RNC managed to find a friend of Romney -- Grant Bennett -- who's as boring as he is. Incredible!

8:31pm: Rodgers could use some lessons in speech cadence.

8:29pm: Washington state Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is not getting the kind of responses she's hoping to get from the audience. Her fiery rhetoric is going unappreciated. Tough crowd!

8:24pm: Everyone in the crowd looks very stiff, even the ones trying to dance. Clearly alcohol is not that readily available at this venue. 

8:21pm: Bush says, "God bless our excellent teachers," whose right to bargain collectively my party wants to take away. 

8:19pm: Bush's speech has focused entirely on education and pushing school choice -- read, voucher -- programs. Mentions Scott Walker and the crowd cheers. Get those unions!

8:14pm: Jeb Bush just used the word "milk" more times in 18 seconds than Louie Pasteur did in his entire life. 

8:13pm: That teacher just gave a much better delivery than Connie Mack.

8:12pm: According to Jeb Bush, Romney is the reason that Massachusetts kids are wicked smaht.

8:07pm: Jeb Bush launching into a defense of George W. "He kept us safe." Also, "Mr. President, it is time to stop blaming your predecessor for your failed economic policies." Snap!

8:05pm: Video of children saying what they want to be when they grow up. One of them said he wants to be a scientist....so Republicans can ignore his findings. 

8:03pm: Craig Romney pretty much speaks perfect Spanish. 

7:59pm: PolicyMic's Nick McNiff on the speech by Newt and Callista Gingrich:

"Newt and his wife are very lukewarm in their speech, and they really sound subdued as they slowly go back-and-forth. A lot of the people around me aren't paying attention."

7:58pm: There's a video playing about the contributions of Latinos to America, but the GOP still has a long way to go before it can win over that demographic. 

7:54pm: Some of the water cooler talk tomorrow will be about Callista's eyes, which have a possessed-deer-in-the-headlights look about them.  

7:54pm: Newt accuses Obama of engaging in class warfare. Yawn. 

7:51pm: Newt is currently comparing Obama to Jimmy Carter in an unusual jab against a former president at a national convention. 

7:50pm: Newt and Callista being played in by the song, "Hold on, I'm Coming." 

7:46pm: Currently playing the Reagan tribute video. Is there a dry eye in the house?

7:45pm: Photo of the start of tonight's convention from PolicyMic's Nick McNiff.

7:43pm: Mack scores the first mention of "American Exceptionalism." For those of you playing the RNC drinking game, that means you take one drink. 

7:42pm: Connie Mack IV is giving a less than rousing speech. He doesn't seem to know when to pause, and the audience doesn't seem to know when to clap.

7:41pm: Another excerpt from Romney's upcoming speech:

"To the majority of Americans who now believe that the future will not be better than the past, I can guarantee you this: if Barack Obama is re-elected, you will be right. I am running for president to help create a better future. A future where everyone who wants a job can find one. Where no senior fears for the security of their retirement. An America where every parent knows that their child will get an education that leads them to a good job and a bright horizon."

7:39pm: Republicans dancing awkwardly to Black Eyed Peas Song.

7:38pm: I swear I just saw Boehner get a little teary eyed. Anyone else?

7:35pm: Ken Hutchins, a Mormon pastor from Massachusetts is giving the invocation. Mentions Jesus, making prayer denominational. 

7:30pm: John Boehner doing the intro. With his tan, he blends in with the reddish background. 

7:26pm: Excerpt from Romney's speech tonight:

"Today the time has come for us to put the disappointments of the last four years behind us," he plans to say tonight. "To put aside the divisiveness and the recriminations. To forget about what might have been and to look ahead to what can be. Now is the time to restore the Promise of America. Many Americans have given up on this president but they haven't ever thought about giving up. Not on themselves. Not on each other. And not on America. What is needed in our country today is not complicated or profound. It doesn't take a special government commission to tell us what America needs. What America needs is jobs. Lots of jobs."

7:23pm: Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch says on C-SPAN that Romney is the epitome of what "a Mormon male should be." One must wonder what he thinks a Mormon female should be.

7:19pm: Giuliani just suggested that Romney will "ad-lib" much of his speech. What?

7:18pm: Rudy Giuliani is on CNN. Remember that time he ran for president on a platform consisting of 9/11?

7:11pm: No lie: C-SPAN is talking this year's RNC balloon drop coordinator. The interviewer asked how it works. One word: gravity. 

7:10pm: Does anyone else think Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan look like father and son?

7:08pm: Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz is on C-SPAN saying that Republicans will be candid with the American people. That would be a first from a major American political party. 

7:03pm: Pledge of Allegiance to be said momentarily. Before Todd Akin had an epic brainfart and started rambling on about "legitimate rape," his best known gaffe came when he botched recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at a Tea Party rally in 2009.

6:59pm: I wonder if any crazy Ron Paul-related hijinks will ensue tonight. 

6:55pm: T-minus 5 minutes to lofty speeches that will be endlessly analyzed in the coming days and forgotten by mostly everyone by election time. 

6:25pm: The Weekly Standard has a copy of Marco Rubio's speech, which focuses in part on "American Exceptionalism," the idea that the United States isn't just better than every other country in the world, but better than every country that has ever existed. No, it's not a very modest doctrine. 

6:20pm: The Onion has a bit of fun at the expense of Jeb Bush, one of tonight's speakers.

6:06pm: Here's a little retro-Romney from a 1994 U.S. Senate debate with Ted Kennedy, to whom he lost. In the 2012 GOP presidential race, Romney was able to overcome knock against him that he "flip-flopped" on abortion, which he opposes now, even though he was pro-choice then. 

5:56pm: More photos from PolicyMic's Nick McNiff on the scene as convention-goers prepare for the big night:

 

 

5:45pm: After Romney finishes speaking, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, will deliver the benediction. Word of Dolan's appearance stirred a debate on the propriety of the leading Catholic in North America making an appearance at a national political convention. It will be interesting to see if Dolan makes any allusions to the "sanctity of life," as the Republican Party and Church leaders are anti-abortion. My guess is that he won't, and will deliver a rather mundane prayer to close out the evening.   

Aug. 30, 4:54pm: PolicyMic's Nick McNiff has sent along photos of the intense security around Tampa Bay Times Forum. State and local authorities, as well as the Secret Service and National Guard, have set up a perimeter around the Forum with several security checkpoints:

Convention-goers are not allowed to carry firearms inside the perimeter. Who knew that the Republican National Convention would be a Second Amendment-free zone? It's as if the GOP big-wigs are saying, "Citizens have the right to bear arms -- just not near any of us!"

 

Republican National Convention 2012

Today it was confirmed that Clint Eastwood will make the GOP's day by addressing the RNC tonight. Eastwood is the former Mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, and word has it that he's even been in a few movies. 

Former House Speaker Gingrich and his wife Callista are scheduled to speak during the 7pm hour. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is scheduled to speak sometime after 8pm, and according to Politicowill defend his brother George W.'s record against the alleged criticisms of him by President Obama. The move is no doubt a gamble, as Bush's disastrous eight-year tenure will no doubt still be fresh in the minds of many viewers. 

Florida freshman Senator Marco Rubio will introduce Romney at some point during the 10pm hour, capping off a showcase of home-grown Floridian political talent in this potentially crucial swing state that went for Obama in 2008 by two and a half percentage points.  

The live blog will start when the convention reconvenes at 7pm tonight. See below for tonight's full schedule. For continual updates, click the refresh button. 

 

Full GOP convention schedule for Thursday, August 30. 

— 7 p.m.

Call to order

Introduction of Colors U.S. Central Command Joint Forces Color Guard Team

Pledge of Allegiance by Dylan Nonaka

National Anthem sung by SEVEN

Invocation by Ken and Priscilla Hutchins

Remarks by Republican Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla.

Reagan Legacy Video

Remarks by former House Speaker and GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and wife Callista Gingrich

Remarks by Craig Romney

— 8 p.m.

Remarks by former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla.

Remarks by Bob White, chairman of Romney for President campaign

Remarks by Grant Bennett

Remarks by Tom Stemberg

— 9 p.m.

Remarks by former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, R-Mass.

Remarks by Jane Edmonds, former Massachusetts secretary of workforce

Remarks by Olympians Michael Eruzione, Derek Parra and Kim Rhode

— 10 p.m.

Remarks by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

Remarks by presidential nominee Mitt Romney

Benediction by Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, declares convention end

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