Big Speeches And Lots Of Tension At Day 1 Of The GOP Convention

Chris Christie

Photo: Getty

Good morning. We’re still keeping our eyes on Isaac, but its path has veered away from any disruption in Tampa, where it’s the first official day of the now-shortened Republican National Convention. Tuesday will be one of three now jam-packed days in Tampa after Isaac forced the cancellation of almost all of Monday’s events. Mitt Romney is travelling to Tampa today, where he is set to be nominated in a roll-call vote. But that won’t come without a fight. 

Some Romney campaign-led proposed rule changes yesterday frustrated supporters of Ron Paul and other so-called “grassroots” conservatives. They even caught the eye of Sarah Palin. The rule changes, in effect, would have limited any and all challenges to Romney’s nomination. This will come primarily from Paul supporters, but both sides agreed on a compromise that one Republican told The New York Times would lead to a “warm and fuzzy convention”:

Some activists announced that they had succeeded in preventing what they called a power grab by the party establishment.

But supporters of Representative Ron Paul of Texas expressed frustration over what they said were efforts by Mr. Romney’s aides and supporters to silence their voices in the convention hall. They were goaded along by Mr. Paul, who has declined a speaking slot, accusing the Romney campaign of trying to control his message.

Meanwhile, some other potential tension was quickly diffused from the convention’s keynote speaker: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

The New York Post reported Monday that Christie was among the leaders to be chosen as Romney’s running mate — which eventually, of course, went to Paul Ryan — but that Christie wouldn’t have accepted the honour because he thinks Romney is going to lose. 

“[Christie] felt, at one point, that [President] Obama could lose this. And, look, there still is that chance. But he knows, right now, you have to say it’s unlikely,” one source told the Post.

Christie spent much of the day debunking that report, calling it “shoddy reporting.” And he’ll probably spend much of today talking about it, too, before he gives his big keynote speech tonight in the 10 p.m. hour. Knowing Christie’s lively and outspoken manner — plus the notion that he might be planting the seeds for a 2016 presidential run if Romney doesn’t win — this is perhaps the must-watch speech of the convention. 

The other big speech tonight is from Ann Romney, the potential future First Lady of the United States.

Eighteen years after she was considered a liability for her husband’s U.S. Senate campaign in Massachusetts, she’s now considered one of his biggest assets as he seeks to close the “likability” gap with President Obama. You’ll hear a lot about how she’s going to try to “humanize” Mitt Romney, even though there’s been way too much talk of “humanising” Mitt Romney since the Republican primaries.

Ann Romney was originally supposed to speak Monday, but Isaac changed that. (organisers were considering moving her speech back anyway, because the major networks were not going to cover Monday night’s proceedings.)


  • Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell
  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a rising conservative star after his Wisconsin recall election victory
  • Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who is trying to help the GOP make inroads with Latino voters
  • Former Congressman Artur Davis, a Democrat-turned-Republican
  • South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who will undoubtedly attempt to appeal to women
  • Texas Congressional candidate Ted Cruz, another rising conservative star


  • The conventions are kind of weird.
  • Obama’s lighting it up in some polls, even the conservative Rasmussen, heading into the GOP convention proceedings. 
  • In a special convention magazine, Bloomberg paints RONALD REAGAN a “socialist!”
  • Rush Limbaugh thinks weather is part of a vast liberal conspiracy.
  • New York Times columnist David Brooks mocks the convention reimagination of Romney.
  • There’s more interest in the party platforms than there is in the candidate’s speeches.

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