Past Convention Darlings: Where Are They Now?

Every political convention comes with its memorable moments from Sarah Palin's shout out to the hockey moms across America to that memorable kiss between Al and Tipper Gore that some wish could be erased from their memories.

But with each political cycle, the players at these conventions come and go – with some coming back for seconds and thirds and others leaving the show all together.

Here's a list of past convention darlings who are making repeat appearances, not coming back, or are set for their GOP convention debut this year in Tampa.

The Next Generation in the Bush Legacy

George P. Bush


Only one George Bush will be at this year's GOP convention, and it's not one of the former presidents.

At the age of 12, a young George P. Bush ambled up to the stage and recited the pledge of allegiance at the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, where his grandfather George H.W. Bush received the GOP nod for the presidency.

Since his adolescent convention debut, George P. Bush, who is the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and nephew of President George W. Bush, has maintained a consistent presence at GOP conventions. Bush spoke at the 1992 convention in Houston, Texas where his grandfather was renominated as well as the 2000 and 2004 GOP gatherings where his uncle received the nod for president.

In 2000, George P. Bush delivered a memorable bilingual speech at the party's convention in Philadelphia on the same night his uncle spoke, calling George W. "a good man, un hombre de grande sentimientos, who loves his family and his country." George P. concluded his speech with "Que viva W! Que viva Bush! Y que vivan Los Estados Unidos! Muchas gracias."

"I am an American, but like many, I come from a diverse background. And I'm really proud of it, and I respect leaders who respect my heritage," George P. Bush, who's mother was born in Mexico, said in 2000.

While Bush 41 and Bush 43 won't attend this year's convention, George P. Bush and his father, Jeb, will represent the family in Tampa this year. George P. Bush's Maverick PAC will sponsor a baseball game with members of Congress as well as host Mav Bash, a party at the Florida Museum of Photographic Art. Bush also will appear on a panel for the economic development series during the convention alongside Florida Gov. Rick Scott and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. While George P. does not have an official speaking role at the convention, his father Jeb Bush will speak on Thursday night, the same evening as the Republian presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

George P. Bush has carved out a niche of his own in Republican politics. He recently became the deputy finance chairman for the Republican Party of Texas and runs Maverick PAC, which focuses on boosting the "next generation of Republican leaders." But does the young Bush plan on furthering the Bush legacy of holding public office?

"Right now I'm reviewing potential opportunities, and we'll - we'll see where it takes me," Bush told ABC News' Jonathan Karl this summer.


Hockey Mom Turned VP Pick

Sarah Palin


Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took the political world by surprise when Sen. John McCain announced her as his running mate, and she bonded with hockey moms throughout the country with one simple line from her speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.

"You know what they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is? Lipstick," Palin said.

Palin's political action committee, Sarah PAC, placed a deposit on an event space in Tampa earlier this year, but the former VP candidate said she will not speak at the convention just four years after she electrified the GOP in Minnesota.

"This year is a good opportunity for other voices to speak at the convention and I'm excited to hear them," Palin said in a statement earlier this month.

But one half of the 2008 ticket will take the GOP stage this week. Sen. John McCain, who campaigned for Romney in Florida during the state's primary in January, is set to speak on Wednesday.


Obama-trashing Country Music Star

Hank Williams Jr.


Hank Williams Jr. got a crowd riled up on the opening night of the 2000 Republican convention in Philadelphia, asking the crowd of delegates, "My fellow rowdy Republicans. Are you ready for the best Republican National Convention ever?"

On ABC News' programming that night, ABC News' Peter Jennings commented that "Hank Williams Jr. is a Republican who seemed at home here as he did on 'Monday Night Football.'"

But the Republican country singer, whose famous song "Are You Ready For Some Football?" greeted football fans on their television each Monday, parted ways with "Monday Night Football" last Fall after some controversial remarks comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler.

Williams long has been an outspoken critic of President Obama and the Democratic Party. In 2008, he campaigned alongside Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin, even penning a song called "McCain-Palin Tradition," a play off his popular country anthem "Family Tradition."

"John and Sarah tell you just what they think. And they're not gonna blink. And they don't have terrorist friends to whom their careers are linked," Williams sang at a 2008 stop in Virginia Beach, Va.

And earlier this month, Williams bashed Obama at the Iowa State Fair, accusing the president of hating America.

"We've got a Muslim president who hates farming, hates the military, hates the U.S. and we hate him!" Williams said.

But will Hank Williams Jr. take his Obama trash talking to this year's confab with his "fellow rowdy Republicans" in Tampa? Last week, his publicist's office said only they "cannot confirm or deny" whether he will attend.


The "Independent Democrat" McCain Backer

Joe Lieberman


In 2007, Sen. Joe Lieberman, who identifies himself as an independent democrat from Connecticut, shocked the Democratic Party faithful by endorsing the presidential bid of its rival – Sen. John McCain. Lieberman, who was on the 2000 Democratic ticket as John Kerry's running mate before becoming an independent in 2006, delivered a rousing keynote speech at the 2008 Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn., expressing support for his long time friend from the Senate.

"I'm here to support John McCain because country matters more than party," Lieberman said. "I am here tonight for a simple reason, because John McCain's whole life testifies to a great truth: being a Democrat or a Republican is important. But it is nowhere near as important as being an American."

McCain reportedly considered asking Lieberman to join the GOP ticket in 2008 before opting to go with a risky choice in Alaka Gov. Sarah Palin.

But after bridging this party divide four years ago, Lieberman, who is retiring from the senate this year, won't attend either upcoming conventions.

"This is one of the benefits of being an Independent — you don't have to go to either convention," Lieberman told The Hill.


Former Obama Backer turned Romney Supporter

Artur Davis


In 2008, Rep. Artur Davis, then a Democrat, delivered one of the seconding speeches to nominate Barack Obama to the Democratic ticket.

"I am honored to second the nomination of the man whose victory tonight takes us closer to becoming what we know America can be, ladies and gentlemen," Davis said at the Democratic Convention in Denver in 2008. "This is the cause for which we stand -- an American president named Barack Obama who will lead and inspire the free world."

Fast forward four years and Davis has said he can no longer support President Obama and has turned to endorsing Mitt Romney.

The Romney campaign likes to highlight Davis's change of heart, utilizing him on the campaign trail as surrogate to stump for the presumptive GOP nominee.

And at the GOP convention in Tampa, Davis' disavowal of Obama will be on full display when he addresses delegates on Tuesday night.


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