I've been covering presidential politics since 1984 and I have to say Ryan's speech is easily the best I've heard from a vice presidential candidate from either party. He set the bar very high for Mitt Romney tomorrow night. A little squishy on some facts, but powerful and focused. The race is on!
by David Morris8/30/2012 3:06:11 AM
Paul Ryan ceded the high road to Mitt Romney tonight. The GOP vice presidential nominee clearly played the roll of attack dog, straddling the line between budget geek and bomb-lobber. Sloppy at times, Ryan took aim at President Obama's economic policy, called him a failure as a leader and suggested a Romney-Ryan ticket could repair the standing of the U.S. abroad.
It was political red meat, and the GOP faithful loved it in the convention hall. Now Romney can play the good cop and keep his remarks positive tomorrow.
In a bit of a twist, the best speech of the night by a prospective candidate in 2016 doesn't go to Rand Paul. Not even close. Condi Rice swept the awards for tone, style, content and best speech by an unexpected contestant. She took on foreign affairs and she took a whack at domestic politics. It was powerful oratory worthy of a stateswoman. Condi's back.
Sen. John McCain earns mention for taking on an issue that has not gone well for Romney: Foreign affairs and national security. McCain called out Obama for failing to act with more resolve during the Arab Spring uprisings, but neglected to mention the late Osama Bin Laden.
by Ken Bazinetvia mobile edited by Amanda Lilly8/30/2012 3:35:11 AM
"Condi Rice swept the awards for tone, style, content and best speech by an unexpected contestant." -Kiplinger's Ken Bazinet
by Amanda Lilly8/30/2012 3:40:16 AM
Like it or not, Romney/Ryan will force the Obama camp to once again try to better explain the landmark health care law this fall. It's hard to explain it in a bumper sticker. And it's hard to explain it in accurate detail without sounding wonky.
Most Americans only know two or three central planks of the legislation, and there's plenty of deliberate misinformation out there voters have to wade through.
by Rich Sammon8/30/2012 1:53:41 PM
The end game for this more than $50 million bash in Tampa is in sight. Obviously all eyes are on the nominee, but the undercard tonight is a who's who of its own: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Floridians Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Connie Mack are among the speakers. There will also be a surprise speaker on the slate (my guess is Nancy Reagan). The good news for Romney is there isn't a speaker among them who will likely overshadow him -- unless somebody pulls a Condi Rice and surprises the crowd with striking oratory (Rice cast a real shadow over Paul Ryan's speech).
There is already a lot of hype about how this is the most important speech of Romney's career. That is not necessarily true. It's one of the most important speeches of his life, but there will be other opportunities to score points at the debates and on the campaign trail. Romney does have a chance here tonight to come across a little more likable, a little less out of step with the majority of Americans and cast himself as a candidate with real solutions.
This is a fragmented party, from tea partiers to Ron Paul libertarians to evangelicals to old school fiscally conservative centrists. They are united by one cause: defeating Obama. Many delegates admit privately that they are waiting for a reason to vote for Romney. He can score big points if undecided viewers and uninspired delegates come away tonight believing Romney has a plan.
Not far from the convention Hall, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Former Mayor of North Adams, Mass, John Barrett, and Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter today are in Tampa highlighting Romney’s tenure as Massachusetts governor. They contend the state ranked 47th out of 50th in job creation and Romney outsourced state jobs overseas and increased taxes and fees by $750 million per year.
by Ken Bazinetvia mobile8/30/2012 3:43:03 PM
Mitt Romney needs to let his hair down a bit tonight. Playing it safe would be a mistake. Delegates--and more importantly voters watching on TV--need a reason to believe. The audience will be huge and he'll have the stage to himself (unlike in the debates) so I think this IS his big moment.
by David Morrisvia mobile8/30/2012 4:35:15 PM
Romney should keep focus on regular voters tuning in tonight, explaining how a Romney presidency would effect them personally for the better.
That can be tough to do sometimes, but it's better than Romney reciting his business credentials and being governor in a Democratic state and saving the Winter Olympics 10 years ago and how he loves his family. People have heard that plenty already.
by Rich Sammon8/30/2012 5:18:44 PM
Clint Eastwood? Really? If he is tonight's surprise speaker, I don't see how it helps Romney where he needs help the most -- converting undecided independents. Sure, it fires up the conservative base of the Republican Party, but if he doesn't have those folks in his corner by now, he's in BIG trouble.
by David Morrisvia mobile8/30/2012 7:48:18 PM
The prez debates in October will be too late for Romney to raise his approval polling with women and close the overall likeability gap he has with Obama. He needs to start doing that tonight in Tampa...and keep it up.
Simply packing the Tampa speaker roster this past week with lots of impressive female speakers and presenters isn't enough.
by Rich Sammon8/30/2012 9:24:30 PM
Message to both parties: You KNOW soaring Medicare costs must be reined in one way or another. So tell it straight, stop blaming each other.
The roll out of potential GOP candidates for 2016 and beyond resumes tonight when former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush takes to the podium. One of the real surprises in the 2012 cycle came when Jeb made the decision to skip this election.
Speculation as to why he took a pass ranged from it was too soon for another Bush to run for high office to President Obama is too popular in all the right states to unseat. It has, nonetheless, not kept Jeb Bush from playing the role of the conscience of the GOP. From immigration reform to the need for a bipartisan solution to the debt debacle and the nation's economic woes, Jeb has been out front in urging his party to do the right thing.
Now Mitt Romney will need Bush and a few other powerful Florida Republicans to help him secure victory in the Sunshine State. As we on the political team at Kiplinger have maintained for months now, if Romney doesn't win Florida, he doesn't win the White House.
by Ken Bazinet8/30/2012 9:54:35 PM
How the mighty have fallen. First, Marco Rubio was everybody's choice to be Romney's running mate -- except Romney's, of course. Then he was selected to introduce Romney. Now he's going to introduce Clint Eastwood who will introduce Romney. Oh well.
by David Morrisvia mobile8/30/2012 11:18:01 PM
Newt Gingrich, in what is supposed to be part of a tribute to Ronald Reagan, takes multiple opportunities to link President Obama to Jimmy Carter, the last Democratic incumbent to lose.
by David Morris8/30/2012 11:58:37 PM
Romney and Ryan kick off the post-convention phase of the campaign Friday in one of the three states they need to win in November to oust the incumbent--Virginia. The others: Florida and Ohio.
by David Morris8/31/2012 12:30:41 AM
OK, Marco Rubio fans. Maybe it's not so bad. The convention schedule now has Clint Eastwood speaking BEFORE Rubio and Romney.
by David Morris8/31/2012 12:46:30 AM
Clint Eastwood will thrill the audience and especially the big fundraisers tonight. One of Eastwood's greatest westerns was "Fistful of Dollars." Another was "A Few Dollars More."
by Rich Sammon8/31/2012 1:38:28 AM
A question Romney most certainly will use in debates this fall to Obama is, "Have you ever had to meet a private sector payroll?" Obama may be put on the spot.
by Rich Sammon8/31/2012 2:03:35 AM
Eastwood is 82. Maybe give him a break. Wasn't at his best. The set-up with empty chair seemed odd.
by Rich Sammon8/31/2012 2:19:00 AM
I don't blame Clint Eastwood, but why did the GOP invite him for such a prime roll when he clearly didn't bring his A game? A strange choice for a campaign that's arguing about the future.
by David Morris8/31/2012 2:22:03 AM
A well-thought-out subliminal optic: Mitt Romney enters the hall with a long walk down the aisle, shaking every hand along the way, just as a president does when he arrives in the House of Representatives for a state of the union speech.
by David Morris8/31/2012 2:38:07 AM
Romney notes Obama's lack of business experience. "Jobs to him are about government."
by David Morris8/31/2012 2:56:46 AM
The speech may pivot, and it should, but it still seems like a recitation of growing up, business credentials, not reaching out to national audience.. Romney may run fall campaign as near full anti-Obama campaign. It's a gamble. May work. May not.
by Rich Sammon8/31/2012 2:56:48 AM
Romney's focus on the sluggish economy is smart politics. He needs to keep that focus as the campaign moves forward if he is to overcome the powers of incumbency and a big gender gap.
by David Morris8/31/2012 3:11:14 AM
A solid, substantial speech but will it resonate with independents? That's what matters at this point. Be interesting to see the next couple of sets of polls.
by David Morris8/31/2012 3:29:42 AM
Fairly good acceptance speech. Just fairly good. First half very good. He went on warfooting against Iran at the end. Not sure that works with voters Romney needs.
by Rich Sammon8/31/2012 3:30:45 AM
Mitt Romney took it up a notch tonight, but he had to. He may have short-changed voters on details, but he at least gave his supporters an argument against claims he has no plan.
by Ken Bazinet8/31/2012 3:34:31 AM
Momentum from a convention is essential. It gives the campaign the needed post-Labor Day boost it needs to keep moving forward. Mitt Romney accomplished that goal tonight. Expect a lot more biographical information and illustrations of who he is from Team Mitt in coming days and weeks.
Romney hit a lot of strong points, he took some good shots and he motivated a convention that at times appeared to accept Romney as nominee by default. He moved past that tonight.
It should be a good weekend for Mitt. He'll be pumped and should be. Unfortunately for him, the rest is out of his control. Team Obama gets to put on it's show next week, and they not only get to respond to Mitt's free shot, they get to move it forward.
Wait a couple of weeks for the dust to settle. We at Kiplinger are waiting until about the third week of Septmeber to see whether the polls show if the needle has moved.
by Ken Bazinet8/31/2012 3:36:56 AM
The Romney speech bounce will be similar to an old tennis ball your parents played with in the 1950s on honeymoon at tennis court at country club resort in Niagra Falls. Great then. Some bounce is still left. Question is from GOP convention is can this tennis ball compete in the 2012 U.S. Open? Obama team already working lines for Charlotte convention.
by Rich Sammon8/31/2012 3:54:02 AM
Mitt Romney will leave Tampa with the inherent momentum that comes from a convention, but the Democrats get their shot next. #kipcvn
Expect to hear and see a lot more biographical information from the Romney campaign in the next few days. The consensus is the "getting-to-know-Mitt" content at the convention in Tampa was strong and came off very well. They'll build off that on the stump and in radio, tv and Internet ads. Paul Ryan will play a lead role in talking up Romney's past, but don't be surprised if you see some surrogates touting the candidate, especially in ads.
A lot of political observers have been shaking their heads, asking the question "what took you so long?" The line that Romney doesn't like to talk about himself is perhaps misplaced humility -- at least in this political arena, where blood sport dominates the dialogue and sets the tempo. Team Obama had a free shot at Romney for much of the late spring, detailing a darker and secretive side of the GOP nominee. Romney will try to use a huge cash advantage and a controlled autobiographical narrative in ads to climb out of the hole that Team Obama dug.
But, it certainly won't be all touchy-feely biographical ads and speeches out on the campaign trail.Team Mitt is getting some traction with it's small business ads that attack President Obama's you "didn't build that" comment. There will be much more of that.The theme Obama didn't keep his promises that emerged in Tampa will find it's way on the airwaves soon, too. Medicare ads that claim Obama is gutting the system are also in the works.
Both candidates are going to lob nasty shots at each other until the polls close on election day. Conventions are upbeat gatherings, but this election is going to mostly be traveled on the low road.
by Ken Bazinet8/31/2012 2:23:01 PM
President Obama's team is busy rewriting speeches and recasting tone for Democratic Convention following Republican. The Kiplinger team will be in Charlotte as well. Please join us for non-partisan judgment and analysis of what's happening and where we see it going in the fall.
by Rich Sammon edited by Amanda Lilly8/31/2012 3:29:57 PM
Blowing out of dodge... Tampa was a really great convention town. t.co