TAMPA, Fla. – Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and a full staff from the Democratic National Committee appeared in Tampa today in an attempt to cast a shadow over the first day of the Republican National Convention.
“You’re going to hear tonight, I’m sure, one very small side and sliver of this story,” Gibbs said, referring to the first night of RNC speeches.
A shadow literally was expected to be cast over the convention center today because a DNC-sponsored plane was scheduled to fly over the first GOP meeting this afternoon carrying a banner that read, “Romney, Ryan, Akin Too Extreme for Women” – referring to Romney, his vice presidential nominee and Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who recently made controversial remarks about abortion and rape.
This morning, the DNC passed out gift bags that contained a fake passport with stamps for the countries of Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Switzerland, referring to Mitt Romney’s offshore bank accounts. The bag also contained a “100 Grand” candy bar.
Today’s DNC news conference attempted to paint Romney as a leader whose economic policies would hurt the middle class, specifically through tax cuts for the wealthy, the Ryan budget and Medicare policy.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Somerville, Mass., Mayor Joseph Curtatone pushed Romney’s role as CEO of Bain Capital. Another speaker, Randy Johnson, said he was a victim of a Bain Capital layoff.
The Romney campaign said the DNC bracketing consisted of “false and baseless attacks.”
Asked about Republican enthusiasm for the party’s expected vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Gibbs said Ryan was not only an extension of Romney, but that Romney had “outsourced” his platform to Ryan.
“I think they’re going to have a lot of explaining to do in this convention,” Gibbs said. “I’m not surprised when you see a poll that says more people are wanting to hear from Paul Ryan than Mitt Romney, because Paul Ryan has a lot to explain to the American people, because Mitt Romney basically outsourced his platform and his budget to the vice presidential candidate. … Now it’s up to them to spend the next three days to explain to the American people how to make it palatable.”
Gibbs told ABC News the DNC was glad to have Ryan as Romney’s vice presidential nominee rather than Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., saying he didn’t think a Rubio choice “would have been as clear. It’s the not the Rubio budget, it’s the Ryan budget.”
Though the RNC gave a prime speaking role to Rubio, a popular Hispanic senator within the Tea Party, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaragosa said at the DNC event that putting the Republican Party’s popular Hispanic politicians at the forefront of the RNC would not “do much for them, frankly.”
“You can’t just tout out a brown face or a Spanish surname and expect the people are going to vote for your party or your candidate,” Villaragosa said.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has also been given a prime role at the convention.
Villaragosa said “window dressing” wouldn’t do much for a candidate, adding he believed Democrats will get 70 percent of the Latino vote.
On Wednesday, the DNC suggested it would hold news conference about Paul Ryan ahead of the vice presidential candidate’s debut convention speech.