Stage Nearly Set for GOP’s Big Show
The stage is prepared at Tampa Bay Times Forum ahead of the Republican National Convention. Photo by Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images.
In just a few days, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will drop the “presumptive” and get on with the show. Organizers said they’re prepared for any storm that heads their way and have solidified a shift in the convention schedule.
Romney will be formally nominated during a roll call of the delegations on Monday, allowing for any fireworks from Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s supporters to take place away from the spotlight of (most) news networks. Politico notes that any strong winds involving Paul’s revolution may already have blown over, and convention officials dismissed notions that there had been any major change.
The real fear for Republican aides who have prepared for the events for more than a year is Tropical Storm Issac. Ponchos and flashlights were flying off the shelves in Tampa, Fla., our team on the ground reported Thursday.
The New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny wrote that the move would change little for viewers at home — the former Massachusetts governor would still deliver an acceptance speech on Thursday night — but would allow Romney to begin spending general election cash.
Zeleny reported that the idea is to “get the official business of the convention out of the way, aides said, so it does not distract from the broader themes of the convention.”
He quotes Romney strategist Russ Schriefer, who said the roll call vote will be timed for Romney to clinch the nomination when networks begin their broadcasts. “They can immediately go to Mitt Romney who went over the top in the vote,” Mr. Schriefer told Zeleny. “We want to get it out of the way and not deal with it on Tuesday or Wednesday.”
(The NewsHour, of course, will bring you the conventions gavel-to-gavel, along with dynamic coverage online.)
President Obama’s re-election team had a few words to say about Romney’s coronation at a background briefing for reporters in Washington on Thursday. Aides had a few snarky words about the imagery involved at the convention. “Obviously they’ve brought in a triage unit from Hollywood and Madison Avenue to try and take on that task. It’s a doubtful proposition the new dog food will sell any better than the old dog food,” one of the aides said.
(The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker has more details on Romney’s “colorful team of advertising gurus.”)
Christina filed this report from the briefing and noted that Team Obama was noncommittal about whether it would invest in television advertising in Wisconsin, which is appearing more competitive.
Sounding a confident note, the aides said they’re counting on demographic shifts to deliver a second term for the president.
Romney routinely cites his business experience as what makes him the best equipped to lead the country, while Mr. Obama and his allies have attacked the Republican’s record at the private equity firm Bain Capital to make the case he is out-of-touch with average Americans.
Romney has seen his negatives numbers rise as the Obama campaign hammers away at Bain and his tax returns, but it’s clear Romney has not thrown in the towel just yet when it comes to defending his private sector background.
In a Wall Street Journal editorial published Friday titled “What I Learned at Bain Capital,” Romney outlines how his Bain experience has given him perspective on how businesses grow.
The lessons I learned over my 15 years at Bain Capital were valuable in helping me turn around the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. They also helped me as governor of Massachusetts to turn a budget deficit into a surplus and reduce our unemployment rate to 4.7%. The lessons from that time would help me as president to fix our economy, create jobs and get things done in Washington.
A broad message emerges from my Bain Capital days: A good idea is not enough for a business to succeed. It requires a talented team, a good business plan and capital to execute it. That was true of companies we helped start, like Staples and the Bright Horizons child-care provider, and several of the struggling companies we helped turn around, like the Brookstone retailer and the contact-lens maker Wesley Jessen.
The push-back by Romney comes a day after the media website Gawker released more than 900 pages of internal Bain investment documents that shed new light on holdings owned by Romney’s trusts.
The Associated Press reports:
The confidential records made public by Gawker.com provided financial statements and investor information on 18 Bain investment funds and three hedge funds in which Romney, his wife, Ann, and his children have invested. Some of the funds listed underlying assets that included loans to companies ranging from health care firms to the Las Vegas Sands, the casino owned by major GOP donor Sheldon Adelson.
For more on the release, here’s full access to Gawker’s files on Bain Capital via DocumentCloud.
PREPARING IN TAMPA
On Thursday’s NewsHour, Jeffrey Brown talked with Lauren Ashburn and Howard Kurtz of Daily-Download.com about the parties’ big online convention plans and how things have shifted in the last four years.
They noted that in 2008, on Election Day, there were 1.8 million tweets. The daily average in 2012 is 400 million.
Watch the segment here or below:
And don’t forget! The NewsHour will give you an All-Access Pass to the conventions.
The NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff is doing a series of book conversations about broken Washington. She began with E.J. Dionne of Brookings and his new book “Our Divided Political Heart,” and then turned to former Oklahoma GOP Rep. Mickey Edwards and his new book, “The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans.”
On Thursday night, Judy spoke with Jay Cost of the Weekly Standard about his book “Spoiled Rotten: How the Politics of Patronage Corrupted the Once Noble Democratic Party and Now Threatens the American Republic.”
Watch the discussion here or below:
2012 LINE ITEMS
Are you an undecided voter in Virginia? Here’s your chance to weigh in on the convention and help us with our reporting. If you’re willing to talk to the NewsHour after each nomination speech, fill out this form.
What are your questions about the conventions? Tweet them to @NewsHour and use the hashtag #allaccess. Christina will answer them Friday at 1 p.m. ET.
NewsHour correspondent Margaret Warner offered her expertise in a look at Romney’s foreign policy team.
Watch Judy’s segment about the candidates’ competing Medicare plans.
Red Alert Politics offers this guide to the convention for first-time attendees. Best tip: “This isn’t Spring Break.”
Gwen’s Take this week focuses on the five things to watch for in Tampa.
If you missed Gwen’s Washington Week chat, here is the archive.
CBS looks at the Republicans’ push for diversity on the stage next week.
Univision News announced Thursday it would host “Meet the Candidate” events with Mr. Obama and Romney this fall “to directly address topics of importance to the Hispanic community.”
The Democratic convention team announced several more speakers on the agenda: Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, retired Army Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, California Rep. Barbara Lee, CarMax co-founder and former CEO Austin Ligon, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Costco co-founder and former CEO Jim Sinegal and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the chairman of the convention.
Team Romney set parameters with news outlets interviewing the former governor that they couldn’t ask about Missouri Rep. Todd Akin.
- Buzzfeed publishes “Self-Tribute: Between Barack and a Hard Place: My First Hundred Days” by Baroque Yo’ Mama.
I’ve had most of the “Bain files” Gawker published for a while. didn’t publish them because there’s really not much of interest in ‘em
— danprimack (@danprimack) August 23, 2012
One more time, guys: Bain files are about having information on the public record. It’s not necessarily about finding a smoking gun.
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) August 23, 2012
Today marks four years since I chose
@joebiden to be my running mate. Here’s to an outstanding Vice President and a great friend. -bo
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 24, 2012
OUTSIDE THE LINES
The Washington Post’s Jason Horowitz looks at what life is like now for former President George W. Bush.
The New York Times details exactly what would have to happen for Akin to drop out from his Senate race now that the initial deadline has passed.
The Washington Post’s Rosalind Helderman notes that Democrats are hoping Akin’s comments reverberate outside Missouri.
CMAG’s Elizabeth Wilner counts and finds that Akin’s apology ad first aired Wednesday morning and as that of Thursday, it had aired only 101 times at a cost of $61,000. “Compare that with the 1,740 occurrences of the ad Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) aired criticizing — or really, promoting — Akin as ‘too conservative’ to be the GOP nominee,” to the tune of $1 million, the firm notes.
The Boston Globe’s Michael Levenson reports that a leading Massachusetts anti-abortion group plans to endorse the re-election campaign of GOP Sen. Scott Brown, who supports abortion rights, “potentially undercutting the Republican’s effort this week to distance himself from his party’s support for strict antiabortion measures.”
Politico’s Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan keep up the Sea of Galilee reporting and ask who paid the bar tab.
It’s clear Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., knows all the words to “Call Me Maybe.”
- Public Policy Polling finds — surprise — that Mr. Obama is unpopular in Missouri.
Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.
ON THE TRAIL
All events are listed in Eastern Time.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan attend a rally in Commerce, Mich., at 12:05 p.m.
Vice President Biden and Jill Biden attend campaign events in Bridgehampton, N.Y., at 4 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.
- President Obama has no public events and departs for Camp David on Friday evening.
All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:
For more political coverage, visit our politics page.
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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.