RNC Review Part III: Romney accepts, Marco impresses, Eastwood with the Good, the bad, and the ugly

For a convention that stared down a tropical storm and was cut a day short, Republicans can fly away from Tampa feeling pretty good.

They can feel good knowing that on the final night the RNC, the past, present, and future of the GOP is strong and last night was a strong demonstration of that strength.

You had the Ronald Reagan videos, and retrospective by Newt Gingrich that illustrated past success in American government by exercising conservative values. You had the present with Mitt Romney stepping up and accepting the party’s nomination and reminding the American people that they deserve better, and shouldn’t settle. You also saw the bright future of the party with Florida Senator Marco Rubio shining on the national stage. Let’s break down the final night.

Jeb promotes education, pushes back at Obama:

It was former Florida Governor Jeb Bush at his best. Bush used his time to promote education, an issue that’s always been close to his heart, even years after he’s been out of office. He cited eye-opening education numbers, that not only showed American losing ground on India and China but, there were positive numbers as well that demonstrated improvements in speciific areas of the country. He also issued a stern warning to the President to lay off of his brother. “You were dealt a bad hand” Jeb said and, went on to add that he hopes the President still isn’t dwelling on that hand, after his first full term in office.

Clint Eastwood gives us the Good, The Bad, and The Ugly:

The GOOD: The 82 year old Oscar winner did exactly what he had to. He kept voters from changing the channel to College Football on Thursday night primetime. He hit the right cord with the older audience and there were viewers who found him charming.

The BAD: Bad, bad gimmick. The empty chair conversation hasn’t played well over the last 24 hrs. You can understand he was trying to be clever but the angle missed the mark.

The UGLY: He looked rough. Not spaghetti western rough, but with his hair going in six different directions and looking lost at times, maybe that Reagan hologram wouldn’t have been so bad after all.

Marco Rubio 2016 or 2020?:

Rubio was charged with bringing the energy level back up after Eastwood/Chair thing for Romney. The introduction couldn’t have gone better and now the rest of the country will be asking when will Rubio’s time will come. From his personal family history to testifying at how great a President Romney would be for the country, Rubio did it all. If Ryan should falter at anytime on the campaign trail, the Florida Senator will give some party members buyer’s remorse.

Romney does enough:

Don’t get me wrong. Romney gave a fine speech but, he didn’t blow the roof off the place. He finally presented the human side of the Republican nominee. Up until now, we’ve had bios, articles, features, and even his wife Ann (who spoke beautifully) tell Mitt’s story but it wasn’t until we heard it from Mitt himself that it really provided that personal touch that voters wanted.

He also went after independents and opened the door for Obama defectors. He questioned the enthusiasm of the President’s voter base and rolled out a strong general election message. “We deserve better” went from his lips to the front page of USA Today this morning. He earned some votes with that speech last night and gave the party enough to feel good about it’s chances moving forward.

Convention Awards:

Best Speech: Ann Romney. She filled that cold, emotionless vibe around the campaign by, telling a great story about her family on Tuesday night. She was strong, warm, sincere, and perfectly at home on primetime national television. We’re still talking about her days later.

Runner Up: Condoleezza Rice. Not one negative talking point, or jab at the other side. A dignified message that presented the best of what Republicans had to offer for the future of the country. Is it too late to start printing Rubio/Rice bumper stickers?

Best Speech No one saw: Jeb. You read about it a couple of paragraphs ago. It’s a shame it wasn’t feature nationally but, those familiar with the former Governor knows he probably liked it that way.

Worst Speech: Pam Bondi and Barney Rubble. Even a couple of days later, I still feel terrible for Florida’s AG. It’s a great thing she’s a regular on cable television, it will help put this speech behind us.

Best Joke: Paul Ryan’s Ipod joke about Mitt. Not only did it give us a glance of the kind of dynamic these two have together but, it was funny and now the country knows about Ryan’s love of classic rock. Ryan also gets best dressed honors. I’m totally going to rip off that look he sported during his speech.

So, that’s it guys. Next week we’ve got the DNC and this blog we’ll be breaking that down as well. So, have a great weekend and…

Well done RNC. Well done Tampa.

Romney and Ryan will watch the DNC next week and then prepare for debates

RNC Review Part II: Ryan, Rice and Martinez energize GOP audience in Tampa.

If you didn’t know who Paul Ryan was before Wednesday night, you were in for an intense introduction.

The Vice-Presidential nominee and Wisconsin Congressman gave a rousing speech in front of an energized crowd last night in Tampa, by unleashing a calculated flurry of attacks at President Obama’s record. From the current economic crisis, to the lack of bi-partisanship, to the overall ability to lead, nothing was off of the table for Ryan.

“Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?” Ryan said and just like he’s done many times before on capitol hill, he moved effortlessly from talking point to talking point. Medicare, Solyndra, the stimulus and as usual his delivery was first class.

He wasn’t on the attack all of the time. He joked about his taste of music compared to Mitt Romney’s (Rock to elevator music) and told the touching story of his single mother creating her business from nothing.

It was a good night for Paul Ryan and he accomplished what he had to do.

But, like Chris Christie, the featured speaker from the night before, he wasn’t the best of the night. That honor went to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who, delivered one of the best speeches of the convention by not going negative once. She spoke about the issues, and flexed her foreign policy smarts, then she switched gears and spoke about her childhood growing up in segregated Alabama, and her journey to Washington, there wasn’t an uninspired soul in the building.

Regardless of what happens in November, you’ll hear from Condoleezza rice again.

There was also the Governor of New Mexico Susana Martinez, who’s been criticized many times on this blog but, did a fine job driving the audience to the Paul Ryan speech on prime time national television. She didn’t change my mind on her Veep Potential but, a great night for her.

This next part hurts.

Who did Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi tick off, to get that weak placement with the Georgia AG. In a cramped speech with a partner that drew comparisons to Barney Rubble on Twitter, Bondi and Rubble trudged through an clumsy attack speech that should have been burned, reformed in a laboratory, and then burned again. My heart goes out to one of the rising political stars of Florida who, I’ve witnessed do better a dozen times. Here’s hoping better opportunities come forward for her.

Tonight, the RNC will close with Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Mitt Romney. It’s going to be the platform the party jumps off, that will try to propel them to victory in November.

Ryan checked all of the boxes last night and still inspired the GOP faithful in Tampa

RNC Review Part 1: The Rise of Ann Romney, Christie Impresses

Aside from addressing those terrible comments about stay at home moms not working from a couple of months, Mitt Romney’s wife Ann, has stayed fairly quiet on the campaign trail.

All of that changed last night.

Ann Romney energized the GOP faithful in Tampa last night, by doing exactly what she had to. Telling the story of her family that the country was waiting to hear. A story of love, overcoming challenges, and the man who wants to be President, her husband Mitt.

Romney spoke about meeting her husband of 43 years at a high school dance, and told the story of how both sides of the family came from modest beginnings. She mentioned the buzz of “story book marriages” and asked the national audience what kind of story book marriages included a basement apartment, and 5 screaming kids, what kind of story book marriages included overcoming MS and surviving cancer.

This was the real story the country was waiting to hear. The human Mitt Romney that didn’t speak of such things on the stump or in front of cameras.

After taking the crowd to a very personal part of her life, it was time build them back up. She started talking up her husband like only a loving wife could, not with numbers, or political bullet points, but with only a personal promise from the person that knows him the most.

“I promise you, no one will work harder”

By the time she ended her speech to a standing ovation, and her husband’s on the spot decision to join her on stage, the night was already a victory.

Your turn Big Guy.

How the heck was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie suppose to top that? Well, he wasn’t suppose to but, he did take the dialog of the evening to another place, and like the Romney before him, he succeeded.

In a speech that was political strategy gold, the straight talking guv, told the audience “how it was”. He illustrated the President’s divide and conquer strategy. Turning the Hispanic community against each other with the immigration debate, elders against each other with “mediscare” tactics, and finally the female vote with the war on women. The keynote speaker not only inspired but educated, exactly what he had to do.

“Real leaders don’t follow polls, real leaders CHANGE polls!”

Expect that line to be repeated over and over.

Overshadowed were great speeches by Texas’s Ted Cruz who demonstrated why he’s the big show in the lone star state, Rick Santorum who finally gave Romney the nod after a long, contentious primary, and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley who, spoke and attacked with precision that I haven’t seen from her before.

Tonight we get Condoleezza Rice, Tim Pawlenty, Pam Bondi, and Veep Nominee Paul Ryan. It’s going to be a tough night to follow, last night was huge for Republicans in Tampa.

Could Ann Romney be the top speech from this convention?

Wednesday Morning Political Headlines: Paul Ryan, Pam Bondi speak tonight at the RNC

Last night set the speech bar pretty high in Tampa.

What started out as a slower night really kicked into high gear when the marquis speakers walked behind the podium. Former candidate and Senator Rick Santorum, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz all crushed their speeches with great personal stories and energizing messages to get the crowd going and excited for the main speakers.

Those headliners, Ann Romney, and Chris Christie are both receiving high marks this morning for their speeches. More on that later today.

Today, the conversation turns a little more academic. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Former candidate and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty take the stage. Then you’ve got Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi taking the stage in what could be a national coming out party for her. All setting up Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Congressman who will be taking his place as the Vice-Presidential candidate in what is promising to be a rocking night in Tampa.

These stories lead your Tuesday morning political headlines.

WESH 2: Double Play!

(Video) Republican National Convention Live

Orange Co. considers measure to block sick pay initiative

Orlando Sentinel: Mitt Romney gains GOP nomination, but his wife steals the night

WOFL FOX 35: Republicans nominate Mitt Romney for president

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: (Video) Republican convention is in full-throated roar

WKMG Local 6: Romney officially clinches GOP nomination

CF News 13: Bondi, Rice and Ryan headliners at RNC today

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi takes the stage tonight in Tampa on the 2nd night of the RNC

Mica, Adams spend last day before primary working together for VA Hospital. Mayor Jacobs endorses

In an ironic twist the day before the end of one of the most brutal primaries in the country. Fellow House Representatives John Mica and Sandy Adams spent part of the last day before their showdown working together.

The occasion was a progress hearing on the badly delayed and poorly managed construction of the Orlando VA hospital. Both lawmakers were on hand to monitor the progress being made. Both lawmakers have been “outfront” in finding the circumstances behind the problems that affect veterans in both of their districts.

Redistricting has merged those districts and caused one of the most bitter intra-party battles in recent months and has been attracting press from all over the country. There has been a strong establishment vs. Tea Party vibe in the race with Adams grabbing endorsements from Sarah Palin,fellow freshman Rep Allen West, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Mica has received the endorsement of former Arkansas Governor, Presidential candidate, and FOX Commentator Mike Huckabee. Today, the Orlando Sentinel announced that he has also received the endorsement of Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs.

The timing of the Jacobs endorsement is curious. If they just received it, there is little time to put it to use and notify voters. And why would Jacobs jump into the fray so late in the game and risk alienating a portion of her base? Still, it’s a possible mind-changer to the few that are still undecided at this point.

The outcome of tomorrow night’s contest isn’t worthy of celebration
for Central Florida Republicans. They will either lose a 20 year incumbent who carries a high Transportation Chairman title and a lot of political currency on capitol hill or a promising Freshman who never missed a vote and was far more accessible to her constituents. Central Florida Veterans will lose a voice in the struggle to mobilize a lazy organization to build a medical facility to provide badly needed care.

That’s how this campaign really began and that’s how it’s going to finish.