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Following the Currents that Guide Florida's Future
How are the Republican National Convention in Tampa and the GOP ticket being viewed?
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Rich Bard
Although Tropical Storm Isaac forced a postponement of the Republican National Convention in Tampa until Tuesday, delegates are gathering to nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as their 2012 presidential and vice presidential candidates. Check back regularly for what is being said about the convention, the Republican message and how Gov. Romney reintroduces himself to American voters. Plus, daily insights from Florida delegate Linda Ivell.
Scott Walker
Republican governor of Wisconsin

“The reviews of Rep. Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech for the Republican vice presidential nomination are in, and it’s being cited as a success. Is there any wonder that the Obama campaign staffers and surrogates are in full-blown damage control mode, screaming that Paul was unfair in some of his criticisms of President Barack Obama?” …

"Did the [GM] plant shut down within the year? It did. Is it locked up and empty to this day? As anyone from Janesville [Wisconsin] knows, it certainly is.

"So why is the Obama campaign so upset? ...

“Though Obama got his bailout, the people of Janesville are still waiting for that re-tooling. It’s that failure to accomplish the very goals he set out for himself that is the greatest indictment of Obama’s presidency.

“The president has not brought prosperity back to Janesville.

“‘And that’s how it is in so many towns today,’ Ryan said, ‘where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.’

“That’s a fact that no amount of spin or hysteria can change. And it’s a fact that seems to terrify the Obama campaign to its very core.”

Writing for Politico.com. Click here for more.

David Brooks
New York Times columnist

“[T]here is a flaw in the vision the Republicans offered in Tampa. It is contained in its rampant hyperindividualism. Speaker after speaker celebrated the solitary and heroic individual. There was almost no talk of community and compassionate conservatism. There was certainly no conservatism as Edmund Burke understood it, in which individuals are embedded in webs of customs, traditions, habits and governing institutions. ...

“The wisest speech departed from the prevailing story line. It was delivered by Condoleezza Rice. …

“Rice celebrated material striving but also larger national goals — the long national struggle to extend benefits and mobilize all human potential. She subtly emphasized how our individual destinies are dependent upon the social fabric and upon public institutions like schools, just laws and our mission in the world. She put less emphasis on commerce and more on citizenship.”

Writing in The New York Times. Click here for more.

Michael Steele
Former chairman of the Republican National Committee

“One of the distractions, quite frankly, in this whole narrative week was everyone talking about themselves and not Mitt Romney. … [The speeches were] about the individual who is speaking as opposed to coming on the stage and laying down the lead on this man, and why they are standing there fighting and supporting him.’’

Speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," as quoted by Politico.com. Click here for more.

Chris Cillizza
Political reporter who writes The Fix for The Washington Post

Declaring Marco Rubio a winner at Thursday night's Republican National Convention:

"We knew the Florida senator was talented. But his speech on Thursday night showed that he is a MAJOR political star. Rubio’s speech was, without question, the best of the convention. He seemed entirely at ease in the massive national spotlight — compellingly telling his life story and mixing in jabs at Obama in a more-in-sorrow-than-anger tone that made the hits more powerful."

Declaring Clint Eastwood a loser at Thursday night's Republican National Convention:

"There are no words for what the actor did on the convention stage Thursday night.  The conceit of an empty chair and an invisible Obama was bad enough. But Eastwood rambled off script repeatedly, and he bordered on downright incoherence several times. For a night on which the undercard leading up to the prime-time speakers was the best of the three nights, Eastwood was a totally unnecessary distraction that had to leave the Romney convention planners grimacing."

Writing in The Washington Post. Click here for more.

Fred Barnes
Executive Editor of The Weekly Standard

"[Mitt Romney's] speech turned out to the best written, best delivered, and most appealing that Romney has ever delivered, at least in my presence.

"He passed the convention test impressively. His speech is likely to propel Romney and running mate Paul Ryan out of the convention with momentum and maybe even with a bounce in the polls."

Writing for The Weekly Standard online. Click here for more.

Mitt Romney
The 2012 Republican presidential nominee

When every new wave of immigrants looked up and saw the Statue of Liberty, or knelt down and kissed the shores of freedom just ninety miles from Castro’s tyranny, these new Americans surely had many questions. But none doubted that here in America they could build a better life, that in America their children would be more blessed than they. But today, four years from the excitement of the last election, for the first time, the majority of Americans now doubt that our children will have a better future. It is not what we were promised. …

The centerpiece of the President’s entire re-election campaign is attacking success. Is it any wonder that someone who attacks success has led the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression? In America, we celebrate success, we don’t apologize for it. …

I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division. This isn’t something we have to accept. Now is the moment when we can do something. With your help we will do something. Now is the moment when we can stand up and say, ‘I'm an American. I make my destiny. And we deserve better! My children deserve better! My family deserves better. My country deserves better!' ...

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.

And unlike the President, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs. It has 5 steps.

First, by 2020, North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables.

Second, we will give our fellow citizens the skills they need for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow. When it comes to the school your child will attend, every parent should have a choice, and every child should have a chance.

Third, we will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences.

Fourth, to assure every entrepreneur and every job creator that their investments in America will not vanish as have those in Greece, we will cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget.

And fifth, we will champion SMALL businesses, America's engine of job growth. That means reducing taxes on business, not raising them. It means simplifying and modernizing the regulations that hurt small business the most. And it means that we must rein in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare by repealing and replacing Obamacare. ...

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.

Excerpted from Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech delivered Thursday night before the Republican National Convention. To read a transcript of his speech, courtesy of NPR, click here.

Marco Rubio
U.S. Senator, Florida

My mother was one of seven girls whose parents went to bed hungry so their children wouldn't. My father lost his mother when he was nine. He left school and went to work for the next 70 years.
They emigrated to America with little more than the hope of a better life.
My dad was a bartender. My mom was a cashier, a maid and a stock clerk at K-Mart. They never made it big. They were never rich.  And yet they were successful. Because just a few decades removed from hopelessness, they made possible for us all the things that had been impossible for them.
Many nights I heard my father's keys jingling at the door as he came home after another 16-hour day. Many mornings, I woke up just as my mother got home from the overnight shift at K-Mart
When you're young, the meaning of moments like these escapes you. But now, as my own children get older, I understand it better.
My Dad used to tell us: "En este pais, ustedes van a poder lograr todas las cosas que nosotros no pudimos" "In this country, you will be able to accomplish all the things we never could."
A few years ago during a speech, I noticed a bartender behind a portable bar at the back of the ballroom. I remembered my father who had worked for many years as a banquet bartender.
He was grateful for the work he had, but that's not the life he wanted for us.
He stood behind a bar in the back of the room all those years, so one day I could stand behind a podium in the front of a room.
That journey, from behind that bar to behind this podium, goes to the essence of the American miracle -- that we're exceptional not because we have more rich people here.
We're special because dreams that are impossible anywhere else, come true here.

That's not just my story. That's your story. That's our story. ...

America is the story of everyday people who did extraordinary things. A story woven deep into the fabric of our society.

Their stories may never be famous, but in the lives they lived, you find the living essence of America's greatness. To make sure America is still a place where tomorrow is always better than yesterday, that is what our politics should be about.

And that is what we are deciding in this election.
Do we want our children to inherit our hopes and dreams, or do we want them to inherit our problems?
Mitt Romney believes that if we succeed in changing the direction of our country, our children and grandchildren will be the most prosperous generation ever, and their achievements will astonish the world.

Excerpted from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's speech introducing Mitt Romney Thursday night before the Republican National Convention


Linda Ivell
of Lakeland, a Fully Credentialed Delegate to the Republican National Convention and a Realtor

The final day of the Florida Delegation’s breakfasts, organized by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam of Polk County, might be one of the highlights of the convention. Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, told the story of his first meeting with the party’s nominee and his wife and shared how Mitt Romney connected with his kids. Christie is always so entertaining and I wish that he had been able to share his morning talk with everyone. He brought the message home about working for our candidate, and how much he personally liked and trusted him. Christie is so off-the-wall honest you just have to take his opinion seriously. My favorite Christie quote: “Obama is still walking around in a dark room trying to find the light switch of leadership.   If he hasn’t found it in over three years, he’s not going to find it in the next 69 days.”  Classic Christie.

Newt Gingrich was classic Gingrich, too.   And yes, we were taking notes.   He shared the stage with a pollster and a specialist on gas and oil, throwing out numbers and data –and (thank goodness) telling us where we could go online to become more knowledgeable.  The message was clear: We have to learn the facts and present them to people not normally involved in the political process.   

I guess we only pass the final if we take Florida for the Republicans!

Jeb Bush
Former Florida Governor

There is a moral cost to our failing schools.

We say that every child in America has an equal opportunity. Tell that to a kid in whose classroom learning isn't respected.

Tell that to a parent stuck in a school where there is no leadership. Tell that to a young, talented teacher who just got laid off because she didn't have tenure.

The sad truth is that equality of opportunity doesn't exist in many of our schools. We give some kids a chance, but not all.

That failure is the great moral and economic issue of our time. And it's hurting all of America.

I believe we can meet this challenge.

We need to set high standards for students and teachers and provide students and their parents the choices they deserve.

The first step is a simple one.

We must stop pre-judging children based on their race, ethnicity or household income.

We must stop excusing failure in our schools and start rewarding improvement and success.

We must have high academic standards that are benchmarked to the best in the world.

All kids can learn. Governor Romney believes it, and the data proves it. While he was governor, Massachusetts raised standards and today their students lead the nation in academic performance.

Excerpted from his speech Thursday night to the National Republican Convention

Linda Ivell
of Lakeland, a Fully Credentialed Delegate to the Republican National Convention and a Realtor

Wednesday night at the Republican Convention was electric for the party faithful gathered in Tampa.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty stepped outside his comfort zone, calling President Obama “the tattoo president.” Referring to people who had supported Obama, he said like a tattoo it was cool when you did it, but hard to explain to your kids.

Condi Rice, the former secretary of state, was one of the most powerful speakers of the evening, calling the focus on quality education for our children the civil rights issue of our decade. She seemed to connect with the audience as well as I have ever seen her do. And I love the fact that she addressed our stand on improving education.

Delegates were anxious as Rep. Paul Ryan addressed the convention, looking for a strong connection with his larger-than-ever national audience. He did not disappoint. His introduction of his wife, four children and his mother, who lives in Florida, was a special moment. He told about how, when his father died when his mother was 50, his mother had to start anew and go back to school. She was his hero, he said.

Ryan received a standing ovation when he quipped, “Obama is just wasting money on attack ads.   But he seems to be pretty good at that.”

For Republicans it was a good night.

William Kristol
Editor of The Weekly Standard

The supporting cast did its job. Ann Romney and Chris Christie on Tuesday, and Condoleezza Rice, Susana Martinez, and Paul Ryan on Wednesday, all came through with efforts that ranged from good to excellent. They've loaded the bases. Now it's Mitt Romney at the bat. …

Romney should be pleased with how things have gone so far this week. But the key test is of course still to come. If his own speech Thursday night … is as strong as its predecessors, the Romney-Ryan campaign should leave Tampa in good shape.

Writing for The Weekly Standard online. Click here for more.

Peter S. Canellos
Editor of the Boston Globe editorial page

"[Paul] Ryan’s bill of particulars against [President] Obama strained credibility enough to damage his own, not-quite-earned reputation as a straight shooter. He attacked Obama for failing to keep open a General Motors plant in Wisconsin – a cheeky move for a vice-presidential nominee whose standard-bearer once wrote that the government should allow all of GM to go bankrupt.

"He attacked Obama’s stimulus bill, a large percentage of which was comprised of tax cuts and aid to states to cover the salaries of teachers and law-enforcement workers who would otherwise have been laid off, as 'political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst.' The cronyism charge, in particular, hasn’t even been taken seriously by Ryan’s own GOP House colleagues. ...

"And his attack on Obama for having 'funneled' money out of Medicare to pay for new 'entitlements' was disingenuous on many levels, the most obvious of which is the fact that the exact same Medicare cuts were replicated in Ryan’s own budget, which added copious additional reductions of its own."

Paul Ryan
Republican vice-presidenetial nominee and a Wisconsin congressman

Our nominee is sure ready.  His whole life has prepared him for this moment— to meet serious challenges in a serious way, without excuses and idle words. After four years of getting the run-around, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney. ...

[Democrats] have no answer to this simple reality: We need to stop spending money we don’t have.

My dad used to say to me: ‘‘Son. You have a choice: You can be part of the problem, or you can be part of the solution.’’ The present administration has made its choices. And Mitt Romney and I have made ours: Before the math and the momentum overwhelm us all, we are going to solve this nation’s economic problems.

And I’m going to level with you: We don’t have that much time. But if we are serious, and smart, and we lead, we can do this.

After four years of government trying to divide up the wealth, we will get America creating wealth again. With tax fairness and regulatory reform, we’ll put government back on the side of the men and women who create jobs, and the men and women who need jobs.

My mom started a small business, and I’ve seen what it takes. Mom was 50 when my dad died. She got on a bus every weekday for years, and rode 40 miles each morning to Madison. She earned a new degree and learned new skills to start her small business. It wasn’t just a new livelihood. It was a new life. And it transformed my mom from a widow in grief to a small businesswoman whose happiness wasn’t just in the past. Her work gave her hope. It made our family proud. And to this day, my mom is my role model. ...

We have a plan for a stronger middle class, with the goal of generating 12 million new jobs over the next four years.

In a clean break from the Obama years, and frankly from the years before this president, we will keep federal spending at 20 percent of GDP, or less. That is enough. The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth, or hard limits on the size of government, and we choose to limit government. ...

Our different faiths come together in the same moral creed. We believe that in every life there is goodness; for every person, there is hope. Each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of Life.

We have responsibilities, one to another— we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.

Each of these great moral ideas is essential to democratic government— to the rule of law, to life in a humane and decent society. They are the moral creed of our country, as powerful in our time, as on the day of America’s founding. They are self-evident and unchanging, and sometimes, even presidents need reminding, that our rights come from nature and God, not from government.

From Rep. Paul Ryan's speech to the Republican National Convention. Click here for more.

Condoleezza Rice
Former U.S. secretary of state and a professor at Stanford University

“[W]e have seen once again that the desire for freedom is universal – as men and women in the Middle East demand it.  Yet, the promise of the Arab Spring is engulfed in uncertainty; internal strife and hostile neighbors are challenging the fragile democracy in Iraq; dictators in Iran and Syria butcher their own people and threaten the security of the region; China and Russia prevent a response; and all wonder, ‘Where does America stand?’

“Indeed that is the question of the moment- ‘Where does America stand?’  When our friends and our foes, alike, do not know the answer to that question – clearly and unambiguously — the world is a chaotic and dangerous place.  The U.S. has since the end of World War II had an answer – we stand for free peoples and free markets, we are willing to support and defend them – we will sustain a balance of power that favors freedom. …

“My fellow Americans, we do not have a choice.  We cannot be reluctant to lead – and one cannot lead from behind.

“Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan understand this reality — that our leadership abroad and our well being at home are inextricably linked.   They know what needs to be done. …

“The essence of America – that which really unites us — is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion – it is an idea — and what an idea it is:  That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things.  That it doesn’t matter where you came from but where you are going. …

“My mom was a teacher – I have the greatest respect for the profession – we need great teachers – not poor or mediocre ones.  We need to have high standards for our students – self-esteem comes from achievement not from lax standards and false praise.  And we need to give parents greater choice – particularly poor parents whose kids – most often minorities — are trapped in failing neighborhood schools.  This is the civil rights struggle of our day.  …

“And on a personal note– a little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham – the most segregated big city in America - her parents can’t take her to a movie theater or a restaurant – but they make her believe that even though she can’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter – she can be President of the United States and she becomes the Secretary of State.”

From Condoleezza Rice's speech to the Republican National Convention. Click here for more.

Linda Ivell
of Lakeland, a Fully Credentialed Delegate to the Republican National Convention and a Realtor

Gov. John Kasich of Ohio received a great response from the crowd, talking as he has done for years about the need to address spending and make tough decisions.  Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who became the darling of the Republican Party with his stand against spending and unions, was of course a favorite.  Five years ago it would have been hard to imagine cheers and applause from the entire audience for speakers with a strong message of cutting spending.  It was obvious by the mood of the attendees that they are united behind this fiscally conservative message.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie went above all expectations, bringing the crowds to their feet so often that many gave up and just remained standing.   His tough talk and brash manner seemed to especially connect with newcomers to party politics, clearly motivated by economic and big government issues.   If I had to pick one person to be a campaign cheerleader for the Romney-Ryan team, this would be the guy. 

Ann Romney was amazing.   She and her five boys can speak about Mitt Romney in ways that help voters connect with him on a more personal level.  Republicans know she is the secret weapon of the campaign, but were thrilled to share her address of trust and integrity with the entire country on prime-time television Tuesday night.   For those of us who have heard her many times before, we knew she would be great, but she surpassed even that.  She connects especially with the women in the audience, which is a big focus for the campaign. 

In between speakers, videos supporting the “We built it” theme were played, beginning with President Obama’s now infamous quote and followed by farmers and small business people talking about American entrepreneurship.  Clearly, the clips hit home with the crowd.

Chris Cillizza
Political reporter who writes The Fix for The Washington Post

“Unlike almost everyone who spoke on Tuesday night, Ann Romney isn’t — and never has been — a politician. That makes her performance that much more impressive. Was she nervous at times? Yup. ... But, overall Ann Romney did exactly what her husband and his campaign needed her to: She told the story of a Mitt Romney that almost no one in the country knows. She talked about how they met at a high school dance, how he made her laugh, how they ate tuna fish when they were a young married couple.  Her best line? ‘Mitt doesn’t like to talk about how he’s helped others,’ she said. ‘Because he sees it as a privilege not a political talking point.’ Cue huge applause.

From The Washington Post. Click here for more.

Linda Ivell
of Lakeland, a Fully Credentialed Delegate to the Republican National Convention and a Realtor

For political insiders and activists, the Report of the Rules Committee received more attention than normal at Tuesday night’s convention session.   Rules changes have decreased the number of delegates Florida and other states receive if they continue to have early primaries – to an even lower number than this year.

Stringent rules were also passed to remove immediately any delegate who votes his or her conscious rather than follow state party rules for delegates.   For instance, according to party rules in Florida, the delegates from Florida are bound to support the winner of the popular vote for the first three rounds of voting at the convention, regardless of personal preference.

Additional last-minute changes to rules created quite a stir among the delegates.   The revised rules were passed on a voice vote. Many in the delegation did not think the voice vote indicated the rules were accepted.

Rudy Giuliani
Former New York City mayor and former presidential candidate

Commenting on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's keynote address:

"His role as the keynote speaker was to set the sort of background for what this campaign is going to be about: a contrast of ideas and ways of looking at government."

As quoted by Politico.com. Click here for more.

Linda Ivell
of Lakeland, a Fully Credentialed Delegate to the Republican National Convention and a Realtor

Tuesday was make-up day for the Republican National Convention in Tampa.   Combining Monday and Tuesday’s speakers into one day of scheduling was difficult enough.   Combine that with the first day of coordinating a massive transportation system for shuttling convention-goers within the secure venue at the Convention Center.   ...  Well, it wasn’t pretty.

First, the RNC forgot to send buses to the Innisbrook Resort to pick up convention attendees there from the states of Florida and South Carolina.  An active Tweet community seems to have encouraged quick remedy to the mishap, and buses were enlisted to take South Carolina and Florida delegations directly to the convention site.  The trip was still over 2 hours, causing two South Carolina delegates to be late for the Rules Committee.

The trip home from the convention was even worse -- 2.5 hours from the Convention Center to the central hub at Raymond James Stadium.  Another 40 minutes to the resort.  Those who stayed for the Trace Adkins Concert didn’t arrive back to the hotel until almost 4 a.m.

Florida Chairman Lenny Curry on Wednesday worked to remedy the situation for the Florida delegation by hiring buses independently. 

Alex Castellanos
Cuban-born Republican strategist

Commenting on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's keynote address:

“I thought it was a tremendous disappointment.

“My point is that it’s a nice [lesson] in the [tenets] of the Republican Party … but it didn’t have any purpose that served his party and his nominee [Mitt Romney].  It’s almost like he wanted to prove that he wasn’t just a guy who could turn tables over and speak truth to power.”

As quoted by Politico.com.  Click here for more.

Mel Martinez
Former U.S. senator from Florida and former chairman of the Republican Party

Commenting on the Republican Party and the immigration issue:

“We went through a tough period of time when the primary did the exact opposite of what we needed to be doing, which polarized the electorate in a terrible way.

“I think the tone has been wrong.  And I think the tone in the primary really did a lot of damage. …

“In my view [Mitt Romney] has decided he is going to deal with this issue as president, and not as a candidate.  And I think that’s probably smart politics. But I still think he needs to reach out to Hispanics. ...

"The immigration issue is too difficult to deal with in a public contest."

-- Speaking on a panel about the Republican Party and Latino voters, as quoted by The New York Times. Click here for more.

Chris Christie
Governor of New Jersey who delivered the keynote address at the Republican National Convention

"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.

"Now, of course, she was talking about women.

"But I have learned over time that it applies just as much to leadership.   In fact, I think that advice applies to America today more than ever.

"I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved.

"Our founding fathers had the wisdom to know that social acceptance and popularity is fleeting and that this country's principles needed to be rooted in strengths greater than the passions and emotions of the times.

"Our leaders today have decided it is more important to be popular, to do what is easy and say 'yes,' rather than to say no when 'no' is what's required.

"In recent years, we as a country have too often chosen the same path.

"It's been easy for our leaders to say not us, and not now, in taking on the tough issues.  And we've stood silently by and let them get away with it.

"But tonight, I say enough."

From Gov. Christie’s keynote address

Ann Romney
Wife of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney

ABOUT LOVE: "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."

ABOUT WOMEN: "It's the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right.

"It's the moms of this nation -- single, married, widowed -- who really hold this country together. We're the mothers, we're the wives, we're the grandmothers, we're the big sisters, we're the little sisters, we're the daughters.

"You know it's true, don't you?

"You're the ones who always have to do a little more. ...

"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.

"We're too smart to know there aren't easy answers. But we're not dumb enough to accept that there aren't better answers."

ABOUT MARRIAGE: “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."

From Ann Romney's prime-time speech

Stuart Stevens
Mitt Romney campaign strategist

“I think the one note that you hear over and over, whether or not you support President Obama or whether or not you support Governor Romney, is disappointment in what’s happened in America.  So the question is: Do we accept that disappointment, or do we think that we can do better? And that’s really what this race is going to be about.”

-- As quoted in The Washington Post. Click here for more.

Linda Ivell
of Lakeland, a Fully Credentialed Delegate to the Republican National Convention and a Realtor

Once delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa were inside Tropicana Field Sunday, thoughts of wet weather and Isaac seemed worlds away. Delegates were greeted with animals from Busch Gardens, including dancing flamingos. This crew was ready for a party. The mood was upbeat and attendees were ready to take on the world to win this election.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam was among many Republican leaders who took a shot at former Gov. Charlie Crist after his Sunday endorsement of President Obama.

“Bless his heart,” Commissioner Putnam said. “Charlie wants so badly to be in a parade he’ll wear any costume to get in there.” 

There was some discussion that Crist was aiming for a vice presidential slot again – this time for the Democrats. Others believe Crist’s endorsement of Obama was made to keep Democrats from challenging him in a primary campaign for governor.

At a Sunday morning meeting of the Republican Party of Florida’s Executive Committee, outgoing National Committeeman Paul Senft of Polk County suggested a new slogan for fellow convention goers  – “Keep Florida Green … Bring Money!”

Ron Paul
Texas congressman who doesn't fully endorse Mitt Romney for president

"They've learned how to bend the rules, break the rules, and now they want to rewrite the rules.”

Referring to Republican rule-making that stopped his name from being placed in nomination at the convention -- in a speech to supporters at the University of South Florida and quoted by the Los Angeles Times. Click here for more.

Jeb Bush
Former Florida Governor

Asked what he'd like to hear from Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan:

"I've heard it, but I'm not sure a majority of Americans has heard how you create a climate of sustained economic growth, how you put your fiscal house in order and how doing those two things you can restore optimism and American greatness. That's what I think his acceptance speech will be about, and that's what I think his campaign will be about. I mean, it's fair game to point out the president's anemic economic results under his watch and how his policies have only made things worse, but I think Americans are looking for an alternative as well, and that sets the stage to actually govern, which is my bigger, broader point. Conservatives need to govern."

-- In an interview with Adam C. Smith, political editor of the Tampa Bay Times. Click here for more.

Linda Ivell
of Lakeland, a Fully Credentialed Delegate to the Republican National Convention and a Realtor

As we Floridians expected, there has been a slight hiccup in our Republican National Convention plans.   Concerns with high winds have resulted in the Secret Service removing the tents around the Convention site for safety reasons, which would mean that delegates and alternates to the convention would be waiting in wind and rain to go through security on Monday, the previously scheduled opening day.   In addition, since thousands of visitors are in the Tampa area and the hotels for them are scattered throughout the area, there was a concern for buses that would be carrying delegates to the convention site.  Chairman Reince Priebus spoke to all delegates to discuss the change.  Party rules require that the convention begin on the date that has been set by the Republican National Committee, and for that reason the Convention will convene Monday morning, but immediately recess until Tuesday. 

As Floridians, we know that we have to be prepared during these storms, and decisions about events in our state under such circumstances have to be made – not too early to create unnecessarily hardship and not to late to keep us safe.

So, to our visitors, get ready for your first Hurricane Party.   Be safe, know that you are in good hands, and be sure to buy a T-shirt from some vendor on the street that says “I survived Hurricane Isaac!” 

I promise you they will be everywhere

Colbert I. King
Washington Post columnist

"Most Americans don’t begrudge Mitt Romney his wealth, estimated in the neighborhood of $250 million. His entrepreneurship is an American success story.

"But voters also want to know why this fantastically rich seeker of the presidency is being so secretive about his tax payments and how he made his money.

"Does he have something to hide?"

Writing in The Washington Post. Click here for more.

Lenny Curry
Republican Party of Florida Chairman

Commenting on the Republican National Committee's decision to reduce the number of Florida's voting delegates but permitting the others on the floor of the convention -- this after RNC rules had been violated by scheduling an earlier primary election:

"I am pleased beyond belief. This is a win for the Florida delegation. ... I understand the RNC and the other states were upset about us moving the primary early, so this isn't gloating or jumping up and down, but this is a win for us and positive for Mitt Romney."

Quoted by the Tampa Bay Times. Click here for more.

Peggy Noonan
Columnist for The Wall Street Journal

"[T]he big broadcast networks plan to give the Republicans (and the Democrats) only one hour a night of TV coverage.

"They used to give all night, long as it took, and treat the proceedings with respect. What they give now, to the people of a great democracy fighting for its economic life in an uncertain world, is . . . an hour a night? For a national political convention?"

"This is a scandal. Mock them for it. This isn't Edward R. Murrow in charge of the news, it's Gordon Gekko in charge of programming." 

Writing in The Wall Street Journal. Click here for more

Rich Bard's picture
Rich Bard
Associate Editor

Here is a selection of views, supportive, critical, and perhaps analytical, of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa and the Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, to be officially nominated this week. We'll update this feature daily.


"I want to tell you a love story. It's the story of all of us, a love story of freedom. ..

"It's the story of my Mom. Irish and Italian, working class, the first in her family to go to college
-- a pioneering mathematician and computer programmer in the 1950s.

"It's the story of my Dad, who was imprisoned and tortured in Cuba, beaten nearly to death. He
fled to Texas in 1957, not speaking English, with $100 sewn into his underwear. He washed
dishes making 50 cents an hour to pay his way through the University of Texas, and to start a
small business in the oil and gas industry.

"My father is here tonight. When he came to America, él no tenía nada, pero tenía corazón. He
had nothing, but he had heart. A heart for freedom. Thank you, Dad.

"It's the story of each and every one of you. We are all sons and daughters of those who risked
everything for freedom, and we have the duty to pass that same opportunity to the generations to

-- Ted Cruz, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Texas, from his speech to the Republican convention on Tuesday.


“It was a day late, but the Republicans’ parade of truth-twisting, distortions and plain falsehoods arrived on the podium of their national convention on Tuesday. Following in the footsteps of Mitt Romney’s campaign, rarely have so many convention speeches been based on such shaky foundations.”

-- Editorial in The New York Times. Click here for more.


“I think it’s important for the spouse of any candidate because nobody knows them better. Nobody knows little things about Mitt Romney.  The purpose of this convention is for the American people to see who Mitt Romney really is and what he’s really done.”

-- Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, speaking of the role of Ann Romney in defining her husband, as quoted in The Miami Herald; Ann Romney addresses the Republican convention Tuesday night. Click here for more.


"The decision by the Republican National Committee to cancel the first day of the party's quadrennial political convention as Tropical Storm Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast will likely force a split-screen viewership that complicates the GOP’s attempts to tell and sell the story of Mitt Romney."

-- Chris Cillizza, Washington Post political reporter, writing on the weblog, The Fix. Click here for more.

"The best Republican electoral years in modern history were 1980, 1994, and 2010. Until last week, 2012 didn’t feel like any of them. Now it does. With the addition of Paul Ryan, we have a bold and forward-looking Republican ticket that seems to match the moment. Perhaps [Mitt] Romney knew all along that 'he is prosperous who adapts his mode of proceeding to the qualities of the times.' ”

-- William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard. Click here for more.

"What is radical in 2012 is not Paul Ryan's vision but the lengths to which his critics will go to avoid dealing with the national debt. By picking Mr. Ryan as his vice president, [Mitt] Romney has given America the debate it deserves, and a team that can succeed."

-- U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and author of "The Debt Bomb," writing in The Wall Street Journal. Click here for more.

"[P]ulling a page out of [Ayn Rand's] Atlas Shrugged, [Rep. Paul] Ryan is a staunch supporter of for-profit institutions. He went along, for example, with House Republicans last year in rejecting the White House's 'gainful employment' regulations that were designed to guarantee that federal money is helping students attend programs that prepare them for well-paying jobs. Evidence shows that most for-profits flunk the gainful employment test."

--Bill Maxwell, writing in the Tampa Bay Times. Click here for more.

"Paul Ryan has a great campaign consciousness, and, when it comes to things like Medicare reform, I agree with him. But when he voted no on the Simpson-Bowles plan he missed the chance to show that he also has a governing consciousness. He missed the chance to do something good for the country, even if it wasn’t the best he or I would wish for."

-- David Brooks, New York Times columnist. Click here for more.  

"The Romneys present a picture of an American family that popular culture has been trying to undo since—well, since An American Family, the 1973 PBS documentary that exposed the typical household as a cauldron of resentment and infidelity. And now, here, 40 years later, it’s as though it all never happened: a happy American family, led by a baby boomer with no sense of irony! Romney is the sophisticate’s nightmare."

-- Andrew Ferguson, senior editor and a reluctant Romneyite, writing in The Weekly Standard, "Learning to Like Mitt." Click here for more.


"If you look at all the constituencies that are either dynamic or emerging, they're all there," said Ralph Reed, the Faith and Freedom Coalition chair who grew up in Miami in the 1970s and whose parents grew up there decades earlier. "Florida looks today, in political, demographic, political and economic terms, like what the rest of the country is likely to look like in 40 to 50 years."

-- Ralph Reed, the Faith and Freedom Coalition chair who grew up in Miami in the 1970s, as quoted in the Tampa Bay Times. Click here for more.


"Florida's delegate status is not going to be reinstated, they're going to lose an incredible amount of guest passes, their hotel is not going to be improved. But we will allow their nonvoting members of their delegation floor access."

-- RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, commenting on the decision to stand by a reduction in voting delegates after the state party violated RNC rules by scheduling an earlier primary, as quoted by the Tampa Bay Times. Click here for more

"I hold no animosity toward the Republican National Committee; they did what they thought was necessary."

-- Clyde Simpson, 70, of Monticello in Jefferson County, attending his first national convention, as quoted by The Tampa Tribune. Click here for more.  


"As a Roman Catholic, there's nobody in this room who believes [more than I] that the definition of marriage is between one man and one woman. But those are my religious beliefs, and this country was founded on the separation of church and state. At 31, I don't see people because of the color of their skin and I don't recognize them by their sexuality. For my generation, a lot of times homosexuality is not the biggest deal in the world. And that's OK."

-- Barbara Ann Fenton, Rhode Island's representative to the Republican platform committee, as quoted by Politico.com. Click here for more.  

"Our party has always been the party of defending traditional marriage. We need to continue being the party that defends traditional marriage."

-- Sharee Langenstein from Illinois, as quoted by Politico.com. Click here for more.  


"Republicans are hellbent on turning back the clock for women in America -- today they'll vote to make government force a woman impregnated during a rape to carry that pregnancy to term. The days of small government are long gone in the GOP."

-- Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY's List, speaking about the GOP platform committee's draft language, as quoted by Politico.com. Click here for more.  

"Faithful to the 'self-evident' truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children."

-- Language approved by the Republican platform committee to be submitted to the convention, as quoted by The New York Times. Click here for more


"I hope that Ron Paul supporters and delegates saw a Republican National Committee that was fair, open and honest.  I think you’re seeing the beginning of a very peaceful conclusion to this, and everyone being on the same page to elect Mitt Romney. ... You saw that I had a chance to rule motions out of order, but I didn’t because I would have rather just had everybody get it all out, state your position, take a vote, and that’s exactly what we did.”

-- Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, speaking about how Ron Paul supporters were being treated, as quoted by Politico.com. Click here for more.

"This wasn’t about rules or procedures — this was all about not having a dissenting delegation on the floor as outspoken as we’ve been. I don’t understand why they [the RNC] would do this because they’re alienating one of the most important parts of the party.”

-- John Logan Jones, a Maine delegate for Ron Paul who will not be seated, as quoted by Politico.com. Click here for more.

“We feel that we’re in a good place. We know that not everybody is going to agree with us at all times. ... [In the film about Ron Paul] several of his colleagues will give testimony to his principles and his dedication to America.”

-- Russ Schriefer, a media strategist for Mitt Romney, discussing the video tribute to Ron Paul scheduled Tuesday night, as quoted by The New York Times. Click here for more.  


“[Florida] Sen. [Marco] Rubio was incredibly gracious to offer his speaking slot to Mrs. Romney, and we thank him for his kind offer. However, he will remain the last speaker in primetime on Thursday night before Gov. Romney accepts the nomination. In many ways, Sen. Rubio represents the future of the Republican Party and we can think of no better person to introduce Gov. Romney on this important night."

-- Mitt Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades, in announcing that Ann Romney will speak Tuesday night to allow coverage by the broadcast networks, as quoted by Politico.com. Click here for more.

“I find it sort of interesting that the principal recipients of all the advertising money that both parties will spend on TV advertising have chosen not to cover the event which is a key part of the campaign. But I guess that speaks to what the networks think they are and what they think they’re not. I guess they are absolutely wed to sitcoms and the triviality that they are going to load onto the TV other than the two conventions.”

-- John Sununu, a former New Hampshire governor and White House chief of staff, speaking of limited coverage of both conventions by the broadcast networks, as quoted by The Washington Post. Click here for more.  


"[T]he theme of the convention's second night will be "We Built It!" – the latest effort to capitalise on [President] Obama's "you didn't build that" line. Unfortunately, it will be held in a convention centre built with 62% government funding. Cue sad tromboning."

-- Oliver Burkeman, writing in the Guardian of London about what could go wrong at the Republican National Convention.  



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by Dr. Radut.