To see Robert Lee's latest live blog, check here.
08/28, 11:28p: The Republicans laid a strong foundation for the remainder of the convention. As I've mentioned, they had two different routes they could have taken. One is to play the blame game, and say this campaign will be defined by not being Barack Obama. It's the route the Democrats took in 2004 with John Kerry, and it failed to be successful. Two is to play to compare and contrast game, and to that end, the Republicans did marvelous.
True, in the effort to compare and contrast you have to paint a somewhat negative picture of your opponent. However, the important part of that is to paint a strong and positive picture of yourself in the process. The GOP's continued commitment to the theme of "We Built It" allowed their speakers to highlight their own accomplishments and support the Romney candidacy.
Just as important, this opportunity allowed many of the up-and-coming Republicans in office - Nikki Haley, Scott Walker, Kelly Ayotte, Ted Cruz, Brian Sandoval, Chris Christie - to present their own part of the Republican brand. Truly, Republicans took advantage of the stage tonight and set the stage for a strong push to convince independents and undecided voters why Mitt Romney and conservatives running for the Senate and House of Representatives.
08/28, 10:56p: "You see, Mr. President - real leaders don't follow polls. Real leaders change polls. That's what we need to do now. Change polls through the power of our principles. Change polls through the strength of our convictions. Tonight, our duty is to tell the American people the truth. Our problems are big and the solutions will not be painless. We all must share in the sacrifice. Any leader that tells us differently is simply not telling the truth."
08/28, 10:51p: ...and the hits keep coming. "They believe in teacher unions. We believe in teachers." Christie is demonstrating why he's proving successful in New Jersey.
08/28, 10:47p: Chris Christie continues: "I know this simple truth and I'm not afraid to say it: our ideas are right for America and their ideas have failed America."
08/28, 10:43p: Republicans had a clear choice in tone - target Obama and blame him for everything or draw a clear distinction with a positive, strong message that compares the philosophy of both sides. Republicans have started their convention off right, and despite a few low moments, the strong finish of Ann Romney and Chris Christie has really given a strong foundation for this party going into the next two evenings and the general election.
08/28, 10:39p: "The greatest lesson Mom ever taught me, though, was this one: she told me there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected. She said to always pick being respected, that love without respect was always fleeting -- but that respect could grow into real, lasting love."
08/28, 10:35p: Let the fireworks begin. Chris Christie is on stage! "Well, this stage and this moment are very improbable for me. A New Jersey Republican delivering the keynote address to the national convention."
08/28, 10:29p: If Ann Romney's speech was to give a strong foundation to Mitt's personality and "humanize" him a bit, I'm wondering if she was successful at doing it more than she presented herself as a strong partner in the White House with him. Either way, it's going to be hard for Democrats to take something away from this like the Republicans were able to with Michelle Obama.
08/28, 10:24p: ...and they keep coming. "Nobody will work hard to move heaven and earth like Mitt Romney to make this country a better place to live."
08/28, 10:22p: There's something about the tone that Ann Romney's using to deliver her speech. It's really hard to put a finger on it, but she's clearly addressing more than Mitt's likeability. She's speaking to women in general, and beginning by building a strong relationship with the common struggles that women may face. She's laying the groundwork for the GOP beyond Mitt Romney to improve that gender gap. "I'm not sure if men really understand this, but I don't think there's a woman in America who expects her life to be easy...it's all the little things that pile up to become big things."
The best line yet: "We're too smart to know there aren't easy answer, but we're not dumb enough to accept there aren't better answers."
08/28, 10:11p: Secret weapon indeed. That reception for Ann Romney is pretty spectacular!
08/28, 10:03p: "Not a single person was hurt by [Boeing's] decision, not one." With 1,000 new jobs in South Carolina and 2,000 in Washington, Haley's right to call out the Obama Administration's dastardly effort to derail the new 787 line. "We deserve a President who won't sacrifice American jobs to pacify the Union bullying bosses."
08/28, 9:58p: There's something to be said for a black Southern Democrat railing against the Obama Administration, especially one that endorsed him four years ago. It's a sign that the GOP is taking seriously the need to build a multicultural party at some level. It may seem that level and understanding of what is needed might not be fully understood, but it's effort - and it's something that will pay off in four years time if this election is ultimately unsuccessful.
08/28, 9:56p: Davis continues: "You know, the Democrats used to have a night when they presented a film of their presidentiallegends: if they do it in Charlotte, the theme song should be this year's hit, 'Somebody That I Used to Know.'" Unfortunately, 75% of the Republicans assembled don't know the person who sings that song whatsoever.
08/28, 9:51p: Former Rep. Artur Davis: "Some of you may know, the last time I spoke at a convention, it turned out I was in the wrongplace. So, Tampa, my fellow Republicans, thank you for welcoming me where I belong." Translation: I screwed up last time guys. My bad.
08/28, 9:46p: "Stand with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and restore the American love story. That is change we can believe in." YES! Ted Cruz was absolutely fantastic! Strong message, moving oratory, and he appeals to the Tea Party base of the Republican Party.
08/28, 9:43p: Ted Cruz is rocking the convention floor with a strong, strong message. He's demonstrating exactly why he shocked the pundits in Texas, and this is exactly what is needed.
"Unfortunately, President Obama's campaign is going to try to divide America. They're goingto try to separate us into little groups, and try to scare everybody. They're going to tell seniorsthat Medicare will be taken away, tell Hispanics that we're not welcome here and send the VicePresident to preach a message of division. It's sad, how far we've come from hope and change. All of this is designed to distract from the real issues that matter. Twenty-three millionAmericans struggling for work. Sixteen trillion dollars in national debt. Government takeovers ofhealthcare, of financial services and many aspects of our economy."
08/28, 9:40p: While Ted Cruz is speaking, I tried to find a very topical song to typify Santorum's speech. I found the perfect one, although it's a little too poppy for his tastes no doubt.
08/28, 9:31p: Santorum does have a penchant for strong oratory: "I held its hand. I shook the hand of the American Dream. And it has a strong grip."
08/28, 9:27p: "President Obama spent four years and borrowed five trillion dollars, trying to convince you that he could make things better for you, to put your trust in him and the government to take care of every problem.The result -- massive debt, anemic growth and millions more unemployed. The President's plan didn't work for America, because that's not how America works." You would have done well to stop there Rick. It's hard to talk about the strength of the family when GOP governors end up destroying theirs because of infidelity.
Stick with the economy, stupid!
08/28, 9:20p: Nothing says job creation like a social conservative. Wonderful way to kill momentum of this evening. Boo to Rick Santorum.
08/28, 9:15p: "We must leave Tampa this week on a mission to remind Americans they deserve more than the status quo. They deserve to dream big. We must remind Americans that the promise of opportunity remains unbroken - that every person in this great nation can succeed through hard work, courage and personal responsibility. For that is the real American story."
Brian Sandoval represents one of the best opportunities the GOP has to reach out to Hispanics and their growing influence in American politics. Yes, the immigration issue is continuing to hamper Republican outreach efforts. However, as the old guard continues to pass on the torch to GOPers like Brian Sandoval, our efforts can improve.
08/28, 9:10p: Speaking about tonight's showcase of Republican governors, Brian Sandoval is another young, eloquent Republican who's now Nevada's chief executive. He's a former Attorney General, gaming regulator, and federal judge before campaigning for Governor.
For more information on all 32 of the Republican Governors, visit the Republican Governors Association.
08/28, 9:02p: Tonight's a good showcase of the bench the Republicans have been fostering. Gov. Walker: "On June 5th, voters in Wisconsin got to determine who was in charge - was it the biggovernment special interests in Washington... or the hard-working tax payers of our state. The good news is that - on June 5th - the hard-working taxpayers won."
08/28, 8:54p: McDonnell now showing everyone the Virginia example. "Talk is cheap, results matter" as he references the strength of Republican Governors. His segment didn't stop him from taking a pot shot at Obama/Biden, though. We need a "President who knows how to create jobs, and a Vice President who knows what State he's in." Served.
As for Kasich, here's some debate on his record as Governor.
08/28, 8:43p: Gov. Fallin of Oklahoma tells Obama his dog won't hunt. Well, which is it - is Obama supposed to be a hunter or a lemonade stand operator? Joking aside, the GOP is really driving home the point of the night - entrepreneurship is not reliant upon government infrastructure, regulators, or government assistance.
08/28, 8:34p: "This is the wrong philosophy. These are the wrong policies, and this is why we need a new leader." Kasich really keeping up the strong start tonight. Sans Jeanine Turner, the speakers tonight have been a good representation of the energy this party needs to win in November. It's very easy to play the blame game, much harder to say I'm better than the other guy.
08/28, 8:28p: Kasich: "I got a feeling, and not just because I like the Black Eyed Peas..." Kasich starting off strong talking about how to solve the problems facing America by talking about Ohio. He provides a good example - eliminated deficits without tax increases, prioritized public spending. "The great moral issue today is job creation."
08/28, 8:20p: Ayotte drops the reference to the lemonade stand, too. That's right, Obama, little girls on street corners have more business savvy than you!
08/28, 8:13p: "Live Free or Die. That's the motto of the Great State of Vermont." Sen. Ayotte continues the tradition of making sure each State is great. I'm here to tell you, there are 50 of them, and they are not all great. Good, maybe, but not great. Kinda like Ayotte's speech right now.
08/28, 8:06p: "[Obama] seems eager to fix society, but [Obama] has no idea on how to fix the economy." Valenzuela methodically, clearly laid out the case for Romney and dropping some facts on how the Obama Administration is attacking small businesses. Quite scary when you think about it - 106 new major regulations, 109 million new hours of regulatory paperwork, and $110 billion of new regulatory compliance costs.
08/28, 8:00p: "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.
08/28, 7:54p: Lane Turner performing, and Republicans are not square dancing? C'mon now, that was your chance! Now back to the good stuff with Sher Valenzuela!
08/28, 7:48p: Sorry, Jeanine. Gotta say I'm not digging the hair. I think you need to go back to your days with Sly in "Cliffhanger."
08/28, 7:44p: I'm just gonna come out and say this - Mia Love is rocking the convention. "Mr. President, I'm here to tell you the American people are awake, and we're not buying what you're selling in 2012." Powerful, driven, pointed. This woman is rocking the convention, and most importantly, talking positively about the Republican principles going forward. Here's her campaign website.
08/28, 7:36p: Convention goers seem juiced after that rendition of "God Bless the USA." Republicans then proceed to show off their mad dancing skills. Let me just say this, I'm glad the election focuses on winning at the ballot box and not stomping the yard. We would lose.
08/28, 7:31p: "This is our generation's rendezvous with destiny." Strong line. Repeat my analysis from below - needed someone a bit stronger than Priebus to say that! Very, very strong start though. Much prefer him to Steele.
08/28, 7:30p: "This president doesn't understand American free enterprise...We're the party that celebrates success." Priebus has the right stuff right now, just wish it was someone a little bit more motivating than Reince Priebus. Then again, Christie's the headliner. Good start to the convention.
08/28, 7:24p: Something that seems to be running through both Boehner's and Priebus's speech is that Romney is a "common man." Priebus just commented on how Romney doesn't do things to help people for accolades, but rather because he's a humble man. There's going to be an underlying theme to this entire convention - Romney's one of us, and you can trust him to care about your job.
08/28, 7:17p: And, we're off. Boehner starts the race to appeal to the working class by saying he's an "Ordinary guy with a big job." He's been a bartender, and now he's alluding to throwing Obama out of the bar.
08/28, 6:57p: Just about 15 minutes until the evening speeches kickoff at the convention. Hopefully, Republicans avoid the path of Democrats in 2004 - blame, blame, blame the other side with little enthusiasm for the product in front of us. Republicans have a real chance starting tonight to earn the support of independents and moderates that haven't made up their minds yet.
08/28, 6:44p: Here's an excerpt from Ann Romney's speech that will come tonight:
"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."
You can see more excerpts here.
08/28, 6:19p: The roll call is one of the best chances for everyone to see how proud delegates are of their respective states. The boasting is almost legendary in some instances. Here's a link to some of the biggest boasts of the night. And, with that, the convention is recessing until 7:15p tonight.
08/28, 6:14p: Mitch McConnel just said in long version that Paul Ryan is being nominated as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate. Formalities...
08/28, 6:04p: "I'm Governor Scott Walker..." Delegates are still continuing to cheer and applaud. Someone think Republicans are happy to have a Governor like him on their side? Immediately after, people start to ask "Where is Wyoming? We still want Scott Walker..."
08/28, 5:56p: What do you think all 155 delegates thought when they saw they showed up to the RNC Convention all dressed in the same outfit. Can you say embarassing?
08/28, 5:40p: 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.
08/28, 5:39p: Nevada just gave Ron Paul some serious love...seriously, some major love.
08/28, 5:32p: A reader and my good friend, former Illinois Congressional candidate Chris Geissler, just commented on "without a hitch." Considering that many of the state conventions were a mess with certain Ron Paul delegates causing a ruckus, I haven't seen the roll call being too unorganized. We haven't seen any fist fights yet, at the least.
08/28, 5:28p: Interesting. No mention of who delegate votes are alotted to except for Romney.
08/28, 5:24p: Sorry for the delay, folks, but it seems as if the roll call is going along without a hitch. Just as a side note, Dan Rutherford of Illinois is representing his state right now. Rutherford is probably one of the nicest, best Republicans in that state. Look for him to possibly be a future Governor in that state, and certainly a man that can bring a party together.
08/28, 3:43p: 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.
08/28, 3:31p: Rep. Scott of South Carolina just said he lived with a mother who "believed in tough love at the end of the switch. My mom loved me a lot." Made me smile. He then ended his speech with Ray Charles. A little personality goes a long way Republicans!
08/28, 3:24p: Congressional candidates are giving their 2 minute speeches. Best chance for those following the convention to grab a nap or catch up on business before tonight's events.
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?
08/28, 2:13p: Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds decides to start the convention off by reading the Call to Convention in hte most uninspiring and choppy way possible. Clearly, this is an effort to start slow and finish strong tonight with Gov. Christie. Vivian Childs of Georgia moves in an obviously more moving fashion to dispense with the reading of the call.
08/28, 2:03p: Best tweet to mark the RNC's kickoff: "@AbbieNehring: Reince Priebus has a comically large gavel. #GOP2012." Indeed. You don't run these things with a puny little gavel.
08/28, 1:38p: Ron Paul just arrived on the convention floor to the cheers of some of the delegates attending the convention. Also, leaders of two organizations who claim millenials as their members - the College Republican National Committee and Young Republican National Federation - have addressed the convention. CRNC Chairman Alex Shriver said, "we need to be out making our mark on the world. Instead, our generation is having a markmade on us," and YRNF Chairman Lisa Stickan said, "There's a war on young people, a war on paychecks and a war on our ability to succeed."
08/28, 1:24p: Here's a little known fact - Ann Romney was a candidate for elected office prior to Mitt Romney. In 1977, at the age of 27, Ann Romney ran for a local position in Belmont, MA and won. Just a tidbit to the wife and mother of five that people will see tonight as she addresses the nation at the RNC Convention.
08/28, 12:25p: Reports are coming in from RedState that the rules fight is far from over. There's discussion that the Romney Team is placating grassroots activists on the issue of delegate selection in a strategic effort to pass two other key rules changes. One would allow for rules to be changed inbetween conventions with a 3/4 majority of the RNC (which would never argue with a President Romney if it came to be on what changes were "needed"), and a second would allow for front loaded winner-take-all primaries intended to shorten the calendar of meaningful nominating contests.
Again, expect a fight on this.
Also, word is spreading that the GA delegation will strip certain delegates of their seats if they don't pledge to vote for Romney. These delegates were specifically bound to vote for Gingrich, who has released his delegates.
08/28, 10:51a: Depending on who you ask, a good compromise has been made on proposed rule changes...