Live Blogging the Republican Convention

8:15 Sorry for the late start.  Hope you can join in – just hit the comments button to the right.

So, so far the Republican have trotted out one woman after another.  Do you think  they are aware of the gender gap?

Remember, every politician who gets a plum speaking assignment is hoping to reprise Obama’s 2004 performance and catch lightning in a bottle.

Love that New England accent – a “leaduh”!

By the way, we are watching this on C-SPAN.   Not sure when the national networks are going to cover this.

John Kasich has come fully caffeinated.

Btw, the pundits are constantly over analyzing the content of these speeches.  They are not meant to be policy seminars – they are meant to sketch out broad themes to invigorate the base and maybe draw in first-time listeners…

First campaign ad is up – and what do you know?  It’s a business owner mocking Obama’s “You didn’t build that” speech.  I see a theme here.

Wow, still another woman speaker!

Expect to see a lot of homestate references – Gov. Fallin just trotted out the “that dog don’t hunt” saying.  Cue Dan Rather.

(Joe – Have to agree – you never diss someone else’s golf game in public.  Unless it’s Charles Barkley’s.)

Another “you didn’t built that” ad.  I get it.

Republican Governor Bob McDonnell is on.  Another potential VP candidate.  The consolation prize for all of them is apparently a speaking gig at the convention.

Twitter feed people are mocking coverage on major cable stations – too much punditry, not enough speeches.  But it is a reminder that this is not showing on national networks as yet.

The other point to keep in mind is that at least some of these speakers are in line for a post in Romney’s administration.  McDonnel is likely one of them.

McDonnell is introducing another business owner – a woman, to boot.  Do we see a theme here?

On the twitter feed, Obama backers are trying to put the “somebody invested in roads and bridges” where it came in the actual quote.  Not going to make a difference tonight.  Do you think Obama regrets that statement?

Republicans are doing a good job moving this along.  That’s good, because there haven’t been a lot of barnburners speeches so far.

this may change. Scott Walker – the Republican hero who beat back the recall vote in Wisconsin – is up, to big applause.

So far, the Republicans are staying on message.  Nary a mention of a social  issue.

A musical interlude!  A good chance to see what the other stations are running….nothing.

Back to CSPAN – Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval is on.  Another key battleground state.

Rick Santorum is on deck.  Will he pivot to social issues, or stay on the economic message?

One of the things that I think pundits have overplayed is that Romney needs to become more “likable” during this convention.   I don’t think that is going to affect very many votes, one way or the other….

Before Santorum, however, another small business owner – this one from New Mexico.

This time a different Obama speech – the famous “bump in the road” speech.

and here’ s Rick – no sweater vest!

Rick gives a shoutout to his 90+ year old Mom, and then to his son who is a cadet …. let’s see if he stays on message.

So far, so good.  It’s all about the economy, stupid.

But it couldn’t last.  Rick is on to family values, although he’s trying very very hard to link it to the economy.  But he really can’t help himself…In Rick’s defense, he’s trying very hard to link family values, and God, to economic prosperity.

Here’s a nice line – “I shook the hand of the American Dream, and it was strong”…..

And he’s on a lyrical riff here, using the hand metaphor….and here comes the Bella story.

Rick has hit the mark.  Best speech so far….but then he’s had practice.

Meanwhile, the twitter pundits are screeching about Republicans inaccurately claiming that Obama is repealing the welfare work requirement.  He’s not, but that’s not going to stop the Republicans!

In the end, despite the pivot to his social  issues, this was a good speech by Santorum – but I do wonder whether it was more about him than Romney.  I’m guessing the Romney folk are hoping his attacks on Obama resonated.

Next up, another rising star in the Republican field:  U.S Senate candidate Ted Cruz, who – backed by the Tea party – secured the Republican nomination.  He’s speaking without standing behind the podium.  Here’s his chance to shine…. Cruz is laying into Obama, and making an appeal to Hispanic voters.  But he’s largely staying on message…..uh oh, the reference to learning English may prove to be a lightening rod for some….

And now it is Artur!  Olivier Knox claims his speech is scathing.  Remember – four years ago he was nominating Obama!

I’m sitting back to listen.  I’ll be back later….

Artur is on a roll…..

Well, that was the red meat special so far – the right wing twitter feed is lighting up.  They like Artur.  Even more impressive, Obama supporters are taking the time to take his speech down a notch.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is on, while Ann Romney waits in the wings…..

Haley is solid – and here’s Ann, with prime time coverage clicking in.  She’s going to try to “humanize” Mitt, no doubt.

And she’s going to talk about “love”.

(BTW, Matt Drudge has leaked the draft text of the Chris Christie speech – it’s reprinted here:

Meanwhile, Ann begins with an open appeal to women voters.  Remember, Mitt is staring at a huge gender gap….

I don’t find efforts by any Romney to highlight their poor roots very believable.

Ann is doing a much better job when she talks about the reality of marriage.

I have to think this is the best speech of the night….she’s doing a wonderful job…..and here’s the money line… Mitt wasn’t handed success….”he built it”!  cue applause….

And here she’s trying to make Bain a selling point for Mitt – Can she pull that off?

A heckuva speech.  I can see portions of it excerpted for campaign ads.  She is getting a well deserved standing O, and Mitt comes out to join here. Television gold….

Chris Christie coming up….and here’s the preparation with an introductory campaign ad.

Hard to follow that speech, but Christie is probably the guy who can do it. ..

so far, this has been a lot about Christie – not much Mitt so far…..and the tone is an abrupt switch.  We’ve gone from “love” to “what the ‘eff I can get done.”  Think “tough love”….

so far, not much Romney here…..

This is a helluva speech – for Christie.  Is he going to mention Romney’s name?

Ah, he finally does, but Mitt doesn’t look comfortable. I’m afraid that Chris is milking this speech about five minutes too long – he’s pushing Bill Clinton territory.  time to wrap it up Chris…

and he does, but not before imploring the audience to stand up for Mitt (which they do)… to hand it to Chris.  An effective speech – but it probably worked better for him than for Mitt…Note that Chris finished at 10:59 – just in time for the late news!

That’s the wrap for day 1.  I’m switching over to the Red Sox but will try to recap tomorrow……..good night all……

Final thoughts: I think Ann’s speech was the highlight of the night, while Artur was the most effective at riling up the base.  Christie was solid, but there was too much “I” and not enough “Mitt”.

Keep in mind that there a tendency to overreact to any single speech – in the end, all anyone will likely remember is what Mitt says – and maybe not even that.

More in a bit….





  1. well, there goes any chance of dems and republicans playing golf again. First of all, that’s just bad politics. Second of all, and perhaps more importantly, the golf gods will not look down kindly on Gov Kasich for calling out Biden about his golf performance behind his back.

  2. So nobody notices that only two years ago, Artur gave impassioned speech about how GOP doesn’t care about poor people. It’s one thing for moderates to slowly change sides. Seems manic to go 100MPH one direction and then 100MPH the other way.

    You were right about him being a political animal.

  3. Adam – for what it’s worth, Obama supporters have been tweeting this point furiously since Davis took the stage.

  4. Despite my basic beliefs and disagreements with much of the republican platform, my biggest dissappointment came from the image which Ann Romney aimed to present of herself. I have a feeling that she is a much more intelligent, well-rounded, and strong woman than she set herself up to be – in order to reach out to more female voters. Instead I found her somewhat patronizing towards the “average” american woman, and in general committing a great disservice to women and women in power more specifically. I don’t want a dumbed down, girly, giggily, lovebird next to one of my presidential candidates, I want someone who I know will be a strong backbone and challange him where no one else can – to push his beliefs and positions that much further.

    While some of this is overexaggeration on my part, it’s clarified for me the greatest issue of the 2012 elections – the treating of the american electorate as more ignorant and short sighted than they are. While I believe this to be a rather common issue in today’s campaigns ruled by 24 hour news, and short attention spans, the dumbing down of campaigns seems to be an even more widespread and heavily applied tactic than previously. Americans are capable of understanding more than black and white campaigns, positions, and people. I’m sick of each party and each candidate coloring the other as wholly evil and illsuited for presidential power – we are more than capable of understanding that there are shades of grey in every policy held by every administration. Campaigns need to give us more credit and allow us to align ourself more accurately based on all the grey, all the nuance, that come with the positions whichs our candidates hold.

  5. Hannah,

    How much of that giggling and “girly”ness was a function of nerves? After all, she’s not a natural politician, and this was the biggest speech of her life.

    The other point I would make is that the viewership for last night’s festivities is likely to be quite small, particularly since the regular broadcast stations didn’t carry anything until 10 p.m. So much of what people learn from the speeches will be based on news coverage…

  6. Hi Dale,

    I did catch the very end of her speech – the general reaction among the punditocracy, for what it is worth, was quite positive.

  7. Generally, I agree about the golf game comments, but Joe Biden is such a gaffer that his very name is a punch line.

    He has no limits, and thus, no one is limited when talking about him or his alleged golf game.

  8. Also for what it’s worth, the group of women who I work with (all unabashed liberals) loved Ann Romney’s speech. Not sure if that means anything, but by and large I think it was a positive for the Romney campaign.

  9. Prof. Dickinson,

    I am not sure where my comment fits within your blog, but as a former student of yours who recently moved to Washington, D.C., I wonder what you think of senate candidate Ted Cruz’ (R-Texas) comments at Politico’s RNC breakfast briefing from August 30. Among other topics, Cruz made a statement that I believe I have heard you make in the past. He said that the best method of campaign finance reform is removing all contribution limits and demanding immediate disclosure. Until now, I had never heard a politician publicly advocate removing donation limits. I find Cruz’ idea interesting and would appreciate your input.


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