As Hurricane Issac made landfall, the speaker line-up for opening day was fired up for Mitt. Each speaker built momentum upon the other with Artur Davis setting up all bases for the home run by Chris Christie.
Last night’s line-up was full of GOP stars an up-and-comers. The most notable speeches came from Utah’s Congressional candidate Mia Love, Sher Valenzuela, Ted Cruz, Artur Davis, Nikki Haley Remarks by Luce' Vela Fortuño, Ann Romney, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and the closing benediction by Sammy Rodriguez.
Mia Love started on her own high note with her incredible ability to connect and blasting video. Sher Valenzuela shared his difficulties and down turn since the stimulus was passed while Ted Cruz and a host of other speakers shared their immigrant roots and how their fathers and grandfathers started with zero and worked their way to success.
Artur Davis kicked the energy into high gear with yet another grand slam speech. Surprisingly, Nikki Haley kept the positive energy going as she shared her parent’s immigration story and working their way into a million dollar business.
Luce' Vela Fortuño of Puerto Rico gave the perfect lead-in to the night’s shining star, Ann Romney.
Ann’s first thoughts were about those who had just been hit by the hurricane and asked all to keep them in our thoughts and prayers.
She then opened up and told the world about the humble early years and living in a crammed basement apartment during their college years with desk made out of two saw horses and an old door while the ironing board served as a dining room table.
A honor to all of the hard working Americans including: working women who put in extra hours just to be on equal footing in the work place; the single dad’s putting in extra hours to support their family; and moms and dads putting off having children because they’re worried about the economy.
Ann continued with a salute to all of the moms and women out there, “You know what it like to work just a little harder just to get the respect,” then demonstrated that she and Mitt understands what most Americans are feeling at the moment with a simple statement, “Everything has become harder. We’re too smart to know that there aren’t easy answers but we’re not dumb enough to accept there aren’t better answers.” Further, she echoed a profound statement shared by most, “I’m running in place and we just can’t get ahead.”
She highlighted Mitt’s achievements as governor and his commitment and service to all people and the Romney family’s philanthropic heart.
She ended with an assurance about her husband, “This man will not fail. This man will not let us down. This man will lift up America. You can trust Mitt.”
The keynote speaker, Chris Christie, got the crowd on their feet asking them to stand with him and stand with Mitt Romney and parting wisdom from his mother, “Respect not love,” is the key. With respect comes love.
Christie continued to fire up the crowed by stating, “We will not be victims of our destiny. We will be the masters of it.”
The closing benediction was given by Sammy Rodriguez who asked all to go to www.redcross.org and make a donation to the hurricane victims.
Notable speakers on deck for Wednesday include the invocation by Ishwar Singh, a video tribute to Ron Paul for his dedication and years of service, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Arizona Sen. John McCain, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño, Former Secretary of State Condelezza Rice, and Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan.
Will they keep the momentum? ill they also show the same understanding that most American’s feel that they are, “running in place and we just can’t get ahead?"
To find out, join me at 7:00 pm eastern when this blog goes live!
The convention has been called to order. Scott Brown's daughter did a great job singing the National Anthem.
Ishwar Singh, the leader of the Sikh community in central Florida gave the invocation and reminder to the crowd and viewers to, "Help us to remember that we all belong to one family."
The Ron Paul tribute seemed a little short yet contained some poinient truths about the Honorable Paul.
Sen. Mitch McConnell : “Ron Paul changed the conversation.”
Sen. Walter Jones: “You want to know honesty and integrity - look at Ron Paul”
Rand Paul: “The lobbyists don’t even come to his office.”
Mitch McConnell took the stage and challenged us to ask ourselves, "What is our definition of America?" Is it lowered expectations and a down turn in innovation? Or is it the self-determined sprit that has driven our nation. Do you wait for someone else to tell you what is possible? Per McConnell, living in "lowered expectations and diminished dreams," is not the American way and not what Mitt Romney has envisioned for America.
Sen. Rand Paul was met with an enthusiastic crowd. “When the SCOTUS held up Obamacare I said, ‘I still think it’s unconstitutional.” The heat from this comment prompted his wife to ask him to count to 10 before he speaks. On the platform, Paul stated, “I’ve counted to 10 and I still think it’s unconstitutional. If James Madison were alive today he would agree with me, the whole damn thing is unconstitutional.”
Paul continued on the “You Built That” theme with real life stories that served as powerful reminders. He highlighted a family he knows who came to this country from Cambodia, the Trangs. The Trang family worked hard and built a small doughnut shop that his family frequents. Sen. Paul asked Mrs. Trang about their hard work and sacrifice to build their shop. Mrs. Trang said that they work through the night to make the doughnuts. Their also children work hard and have earned honor status in school. After Paul recounted the story he demanded, “Mr. President, don’t go telling the Tang family that they didn’t build that.”
Listening to Paul’s relay of the stories of refugees he knows was a great reminder that people continue to come to this great country for freedom. They built companies and careers. That’s what America is about and that’s what we need to get back to.
The Maverick, Sen. John McCain, takes the stage to the theme from Top Gun.
McCain carried the leadership theme by consistently reminding us that ‘we have led.” We have led from the front, never from behind. We’ve led in all areas from research to philanthropic endeavors.
Vietnam Vet McCain then took the stage and reminded us of the sacrifices people make for our freedoms and how we support freedom for those oppressed. He pointed out the Iranian uprisings that were quickly put down and the Syrian bloodbath that is currently taking place and destabilizing the region, yet freedom remains elusive for the citizens of those two countries.
He stated that people around the world have faith in American but wonder if American’s have faith in ourselves.
I believe that American’s do have the confidence and faith, though it’s wanting at the moment.
Sen. John Thune entered the stage and retold his grandfather’s and uncle’s journey to America. From their entry through Ellis Island, the name change to Thune, learning English, and building a small business in South Dakota.
Like any good Norsky from SD, Thune appreciates the sacrifices and hard work of hard working American’s. He knows the honor of serving, not only the service of our armed forces, but also the services of our people through volunteerism.
His father was a WWII fighter pilot stationed off the Pacific who came home and went back to work in his own hardware shop. He gave his children the opportunity that his father passed to him when he crossed the threshold of Ellis Island. He achieved the dream and built it for future generations.
During his speech Thune stated that Romney will lead by listening for the solutions, not lecturing wrong solutions. Thune knows that this is the recipe for success – it’s why he ran uncontested in 2008. Thune listens to his continuants and acts on their behalf.
Hard working farmers are at risk of loosing the farm that has been in the family for generations. Thune knows this – they’re his constituents.
Nationally, food stamp need has increased 44%. South Dakota has not been immune to the challenge. Thune knows this.
Even with lower than the national average unemployment rates, South Dakota’s unemployment rate remains well above normal and many wonder if their job will be eliminated or if a pay cut is in the future. Thune knows this. He listens.
Sen. Rob Portman took the stage to assure conventioneers that the Romney/Ryan Team is a results oriented ticket.
Portman started by reminding convention goers that China holds our debt, has been busy negotiating trade agreements with other nations, and manipulating their currency while America is at a stand-still.
Romney’s day 1 plan includes:
Tax code reform
Portman energized the crowd when he stated, “We cannot afford 4 more years. How bout no more years?” and the crowd chanted “No More Years.”
Portman ended on a humble note when he shared with the crowd a question he asked of his dad if he would build the company in this market. His father’s response, “With the uncertainty, I don’t know if he would take the risk.”
Huckabee took the stage and, in an off-handed manner, congratulated Obama for uniting the two former rivals.
The former presidential candidate reminded all that the press would put a white hot spot light on the imperfections then stated, “We’ve tried the one the press thought was perfect and that has not worked out well for us.”
He then took on the attack on faith by equating Obama to an evangelical for big government. He continued his statement with, “An attack on my Catholic brothers and sisters is an attack on me.”
Huckabee now cares far less about where Romney takes his family to church and far more about where he takes this country.
His concern over the lack of budget came through in an off-handed, “Show me the budget Biden!” sytle that was parlayed it into, a stance of while you’re at it, show me the charitable contributions. Romney gave 16% of his money to charity.
His concern is not Obama’s past. It is about our countries future.
Toward the end, Huckabee talked about his partnership with Bono in fighting AIDs and hunger world wide. During an interview, Bono reminded Huckabee, “America is more than just a country. America is an idea.” Yes it is, and, per Huckabee, “We can do better with Romney/Ryan.”
The gracious Condleezza Rice took stage to a standing ovation that kept on coming. She started with an important question, “Where does America stand?” then furthered her thought with, “No one knows and this makes the world a more dangerous and chaotic place. We stand for free peoples and free markets. We will defend and support them. “
Highlights of her speech:
“We need to be reliable, consistent, and determined. Our foes cannot know hesitance to our resolve because peace comes through strength.”
“We must grow our exports and influence abroad. US ratified 3 trade agreements negotiated during the Bush administration. China has signed 15 and is in the process of signing 18 more.”
“We must allow the chance to let energy independence slip from our grasp. We must develop our resources. We have the ingenuity to develop alternative energy resources, too.”
“The world knows that when a nation loses control of its finances it eventually loses control of its destiny. That is not America.”
“What unites is is the idea of America. You can come from humble circumstances and achieve great things. It does not matter where you came from. It matters where you’re going.”
“We have never been jealous of one another or envious of others successes.”
“There is no country that can do more harm to us than we can do for ourselves if we do not do the hard work here at home. Greatness is built on mobilizing human potential and condition.”
“We are compassionate nation of immigrants.”
“You cannot control your circumstances but you can control your response to your circumstances. I can look at your zip code and tell where you are going. The crisis in K12 is a threat to who we are. We need great teachers. We have to have high standards for our kids. Self-esteem comes from achievement. Not from false praise. “Poor families are trapped in failing neighborhood schools. This is the civil rights issue of our day!
“They (Romney/Ryan) will help us rebuild us at home. They will help answer the question, ‘where does America Stand?’”
Rice grew up in segregation and her parents told her she could be anything, including the president. She could not have a hamburger at the Wolworth’s counter and yet she became Secretary of State. This is the American dream.
Paul Ryan took the stage and the crowd is on their feet. I started by humbling telling the convention goes that, “I accept the call,” to be the Vice Presidential nominee.
Ryan fired up the crowd by highlighting the state of the economy and the attack ads used to distract from the real issues facing Americans today. He got in his jabs then brought it back to the topic at hand, rebuilding America.
He brought America back to 2008 when Obama stood on the floor of a GM plant in his hometown of Janestown, WI promising the workers that, with government aid, the plant would be around for the next 100 years. The plant closed a year later; many of Ryan’s classmates lost their jobs, and have not hope of a plant re-opening.
Ryan drew a clear contrast with a then and now. He stated that Obama, “Started with a financial crisis. Ends with a jobs crisis. Started with housing crises they didn’t cause. It ends with a housing crisis they didn’t correct,” and continued.
He discussed the generation gap between Romney and Ryan. Romney likes elevator music, Ryan’s play list starts with AC/DC and ends with Zeppelin. Yet, they do not have a gap in their desire to lead this country back from behind.
He reminded the crowd that, “Being successful in business is a GOOD thing.”
Ryan assured the crowed that the strong protects the week and defends those who cannot take care of themselves giving assurance to the people on the floor that Romney/Ryan will not abandoned those with the greatest need.
As his speech drew to a close, he showed his pride in living in a nation that gives us, “The right to pick our own leaders,” then stated, “You are entitled to the clearest possible choice.”
There were numerous cheers and ovations thoughout and his closer brought everyone to their feet in a frenzy of support for the Romney/Ryan ticket.
This ends day 2 of the GOP convention. The best speech came from Condie Rice and all speakers spoke from the heart and experience. They provided a clear contrast between the current administration and, for the most part, stayed focused on the issues.