LIVE Blog: Republican National Convention 2012

Aug 27, 2012 11:22am

This is a good re-cap of Monday, but for the latest from the Republican National Convention, check out our Tuesday Live Blog.

From Monday:

Republicans put off a lot of their first-day convention activities until Tuesday to let Hurricane Isaac blow through a little bit. But with the hurricane veering toward the Gulf Coast and many of the delegates already in town, the delay hasn’t stopped a lot of the activity. Here’s a live and curated look at what’s going on in Tampa.

Make sure to tune in to ABC’s live stream of the convention at 7 p.m. ET every night for coverage of primetime speakers.

Here’s an hour long Monday preview of the week with interviews of Utah Rep. Jason Chaafetz, RNC spokesman Sean Spicer and, most importantly, a weather report:


And here’s our live coverage with Rick Klein and Amy Walter as the convention was brought to order at 2 p.m. ET.


Tropical Storms, Hurricanes and Tornados, Oh My! 7:51 p.m. ET ABC News’ Elizabeth Hartfield reports:

Isaac might have passed westward of Tampa, but Tampa residents, plus the 50,000 or so visitors in town for the RNC aren’t out of the woods yet. A tornado warning has been issued this evening for Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located. The warning is in effect until 8:15 p.m.

Mind the Age Gap - 7:43 p.m. ET ABC News’ Amy Walter is talking about the difference in political leanings across generations on the live stream. Earlier tonight she tweeted, “ABC/WaPo poll. On issue of Medicare, Romney has 4 pt. lead among 65+, but Obama has 23pt lead among 30-39 yo”

Read more from that poll here.

Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas… - 7:37 p.m. ET ABC News’ Elizabeth Hartfield reports:

An Alphabetical Roll Call and an Honor for Missouri- The big winner will be Missouri. The home of controversial senate candidate Todd Akin will likely put Mitt Romney over the top during a roll call Tuesday and technically hand him the GOP presidential nomination. There had been talk of a special rule to give either of Romney’s home states – Michigan or Massachusetts – the honor.

Read on here.

RNC Communications Director hopes for Isaac’s death at sea – 7:32 p.m. ET

Chatting with ABC’s Amy Walter and Yahoo!’s David Chalian on ABC/Yahoo!’s convention live stream, RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer expressed his hope that Isaac will stay at sea. “Our hope is that just as it passed Tampa, Isaac stays out at sea and dies. We didn’t invite him here and I don’t think Mississippi and Alabama want him there” Spicer said. The latest projections show Isaac headed towards the Gulf Coast. There is concern about the optics of the convention celebration if Isaac continues to strengthen. “We’re constantly re-assessing” Spicer said. “It’s the same thing with news programming- you’ve sent crews down here, and now you’re saying, if there’s landfall, do we send a crew somewhere? We’re being as flexible, to some degree, as the news organizations covering us.”

Some GOP Delegates are Living It Up More Than Others – 7:28 p.m. ET ABC News’ Genevieve Shaw Brown reports:

As the who’s who of the GOP arrive at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., they’re going to need a place to sleep. The delegates’ hotels are assigned state-by-state and it seems some states fared better than others for a place to crash.

See where each state is housing its delegates here.

Abramoff: Lobbyist Money ‘Well Spent’ at Conventions – 6:52 p.m. ET ABC’s Investigative Unit offers this report:

Former super lobbyist Jack Abramoff — who served 43 months on fraud, bribery and tax evasion charges — has come to the Republican National Convention in Tampa seeking redemption through honesty. And in the process, he is helping pull back the shroud on what really occurs in the bars and back rooms of the nation’s lavish political conventions.

“Virtually every interaction that a lobbyist has with a Congressman is money well spent, from the lobbyist’s point of view,” Abramoff told ABC News.

Read the whole report here.

Jon Karl Talks to the Losers (Cain, Bachmann, Gingrich) – 6:07 p.m. ET -  On day one of the convention, Jonathan Karl talked to three of the people who challenged Mitt Romney earlier this year about rallying around the Republican Nominee. Watch them all here.

Protest Blocks Street Near Convention - 5:48 p.m. ET – ABC’s Michael Falcone reports protesters are blocking Tampa St in downtown Tampa — essentially shutting down the main entrance to the convention center this afternoon. Hundreds of police — some in riot gear — have mobilized around them.

The protest is causing a delay for those trying to get to and from the RNC security perimeter. A protester associated with  the Occupy movement was arrested. More here.

Potential Crisis Averted? - 5:15 p.m. ET – ABC News’ Amber Porter reports from Tampa that a monsoon-like rainstorm swept in and broke up a bunch of protestors who had gathered. She saw hundreds of police in riot gear and on horseback.

Paul Ryan Chokes Up at High School Send-off – 5:02 p.m. ET – From Shush Walshe with Ryan in Janesville, Wisconsin (Read her full report here):

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Image Credit: Jeffrey Phelps/Getty Images

Paul Ryan had an emotional homecoming to his high school Monday at a rally meant to send him off to the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

He hopped on the stage, after an introduction by his older brother Tobin, saying, “Hello Janesville it’s good to be home!”

He then stood on the stage taking in the about 2000 people at his high school that came to see the hometown boy. “You know I think I recognize just about every face in this room.”

Ryan’s voice cracked with emotion when he talked about the community he grew up in. He thanked his neighbors for their “patience,” and told his family story, one that could very well be on display this week at the Republican National Convention. An immigrant story that he said is not unique,” but “the American story.”

An RNC Rules Revolt? – 4:45 p.m. ET – A new ‘minority report’ rule that gives the nominee more control over the delegates that select him (and could head off any embarrassing disagreement) is causing a stir on the floor of the RNC. From Michael Falcone and Chris Good:

One top Republican told ABC News that the simmering tensions represented a “serious revolt” by some RNC members against the Romney allies who proposed the changes and that any type of floor debate on Tuesday – when Romney and running mate Paul Ryan will officially be nominated as the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the party — would be “highly unusual.”

And opponents showed no signs of backing down.

“I am shocked that this rule passed,” Republican National Committeewoman Kim Lehman of Iowa wrote in an internal e-mail message. “Every delegate that I have shared this with is upset and stunned that something so undemocratic could come from the Republican Party. This new rule needs to be stopped. Not only is this a power grab, this is a change of governance from ‘We the People’ to the Candidate.”

Republicans are also poised to make it harder for candidates like Ron Paul to amass delegates and influence over the convention.

The full story from Good and Falcone is here.

Made in the U.S.A – GOP Swag - 4:15 p.m. ET – ABC News producer David Meyers confirms all the gear sold in the Romney/Ryan store at the GOP Convention is in fact Made in America.

Last summer, ABC News looked into which presidential campaigns were selling campaign swag made in the U.S.A and found that four campaigns – Cain, Gingrich, Paul and Santorum – sold merchandise made overseas. Read that report here.

Boehner Comfortable With Emotion, Romney’s Kidding – 4:02 p.m. ET – ABC’s Diane Sawyer interviewed House Speaker John Boehner this morning and they talked first about the convention and how Republicans are more concerned with the hurricane threatening the Gulf Coast. But Boehner also told Sawyer about his own emotions – he’s been known to cry in public – and whether he’s frustrated that Mitt Romney made a good-natured joke at his expense. From Greg Krieg’s write-up:

In Tampa, though, Republicans are hoping that Isaac’s brooding clouds give way to a sunny new day for the Romney campaign, which has been bogged down in the past week by assorted controversies and intra-party hand-wringing.

Not that there’s anything but “love” between Boehner and Romney, who recently made a joke about the speaker’s tendency to go red in the face and shed tears in tender moments.

“I am emotional,” Romney said. “People don’t think I am, but I am emotional,” but “I’m not as emotional as John Boehner.”

“It’s OK,” Boehner said. “Listen, you only tease the ones you love. I was at Birdie’s for the Brave event this morning, to help raise money for wounded soldiers and their families and, you know, there were some emotional moments.”


Bad Penny – And a note on Boehner from ABC’s John Parkinson – As House Speaker John Boehner and World News anchor Diane Sawyer concluded their interview on the convention floor this morning, the duo briefly posed for photos for the mass of photographers that had swarmed the ABC crew on its exclusive booking.

I was one of five ABCers shooting a camera, placed dead-center as they faced the scrum when the speaker made eye contact with me, recognizing me as ABC’s digital journalist reporting on the House of Representatives.

Boehner then nudged Diane and chuckled as he said, “Look at this one here.”

Diane asked, “Him?” as I responded, “How are you?” and Boehner smiled.

Then he told Diane, “He’s like a bad penny. He’s always showing up.”

I guess I’ll take that as a compliment, Mr. Speaker.

Herman Cain Explains Obama Would Outlaw Pizza? – Arlette Saenz reports that for Herman Cain, who ran Godfather’s Pizza before running for president last fall, electing president Obama to a second term would be worse than a world without pizza, according to an interview he gave to TIME Magazine.

“It’s worse to imagine a world with Obama getting a second term than it is to imagine a world without pizza. Because with Obama in a second term, there will be no pizza. For anyone,” Cain said.

Cain once asked the world to “Imagine There’s No Pizza,” a song he sang to the Tune of John Lennon’s hit “Imagine.” The video went viral during his campaign last October.

Paul Ryan – The Sixth Romney Boy? – 2:34 p.m. ET – The first bit of Diane Sawyer’s interview with the five sons of Mitt Romney:


Paul Ryan isn’t the first person to be confused for a Romney. ABC’s off-air reporter Matt Stuart also had something of a Romney look about him. He cataloged the confusion in this fun piece from January of 2008:



Democrats Pull Out Anti-Romney Ad in Tampa – From ABC’s Devin Dwyer: The Obama Campaign and Democratic National Committee have bought some high-profile ad space in Tampa today to brand Mitt Romney as an “outsourcer.” Here’s OFA’s full-page spread in the Tampa Bay Times.

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Bad Luck for Bobby Jindal: Two Conventions, Two Hurricanes – 2:20 p.m. ET – ABC’s Arlette Saenz reports:

As Tropical Storm Isaac barrels toward the Gulf Coast, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said today that he’ll forgo attending the Republican National Convention in Tampa Fla., in order to focus on monitoring and making preparations for the storm.

“I will not be speaking or attending the Republican convention in Florida,” he told a news conference in Baton Rouge. “There is no time for politics here in Louisiana.”

Jindal had been slated to speak Wednesday night.

This is the second time mother nature has thwarted Jindal’s convention plans. The Louisiana governor was slated to speak at the GOP convention in St. Paul, Minn., in 2008 but cancelled because of Hurricane Gustav.

Read Arlette’s full report here.

#RNC vs. #ISAAC – 2:19 p.m. ET – Chris Wilson over at Yahoo! News’ ‘The Signal’ Blog has been tracking Twitter traffic. What’s getting more attention – the Republican National Convention or Hurricane Isaac? Take a look:

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Image credit: Chris Wilson/Yahoo! News

Anti-Obama Doc in Box Office Top 10 – Jake Tapper Points out a report from Deadline Hollywood that the anti-Obama documentary “Obama’s America 2016″ was among the top ten grossing movies in the U.S. last week.

From Deadline Hollywood:

The shocker among all the films was Rocky Mountain Pictures’ political documentary 2016 Obama’s America which opened July 13th in very limited release and expanded into theaters across America this weekend.

It wound up in 4th place Friday and 8th place for the weekend. That’s stunning because it was playing in 2/3 fewer theaters across North American than the other wider release films. (See below for more details).

Due to its hot pre-sales, the pic proved frontloaded which explains why its ranking started out #1 and then fell steeply by end of Sunday. But the doc’s new cume of $9.0M makes it the #1 all-time biggest-grossing conservative political documentary, besting Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’s $7.7M. And the 6th all-time biggest political documentary behind liberal docs by Michael Moore and Al Gore. (Neither ranking is adjusted for inflation or higher ticket prices.)

Keynoter Advances – Christie Marches Across the RNC Floor in Tampa – 1:08 p.m. ET – Amy Walter points out there is an interestingly timed story which will be sure to stir up some chatter on the eve of Christie’s big convo speech. The New York Post reports that Christie didn’t want to be Mitt Romney’s running mate for a different reason than you’d expect. Here’s what the Post reported:

“Gov. Chris Christie wasn’t willing to give up the New Jersey statehouse to be Mitt Romney’s running mate because he doubted they’d win, The Post has learned.

Romney’s top aides had demanded Christie step down as the state’s chief executive because if he didn’t, strict pay-to-play laws would have restricted the nation’s largest banks from donating to the campaign — since those banks do business with New Jersey.

But Christie adamantly refused to sacrifice his post, believing that being Romney’s running mate wasn’t worth the gamble.”

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie walks through the convention floor at the Tampa Tribune Forum before the start of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Monday, Aug. 27, 2012. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Rove and Hatch – Spotted on the Convention Floor - 12:59 p.m. ET

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@rickklein tweets: That's some Utah GOP royalty. Orrin Hatch catches up w @karlrove #2012gop

Key Interviews Monday – Diane Sawyer sat down today with all five Romney sons and, later, House Speaker John Boehner. Read about those here first.

Brush up on the Romney clan with Shush Walshe’s profile of “What to Know About the Five Romney Boys.”

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Image Credit: Ida Mae Astute/ABC

On the Scene in Tampa, Republican Super Donor Sheldon Adelson – 12:26 p.m. ET – Shush Walshe reports that billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam are two of the go-to GOP super donors for 2012 and they’re arriving in Tampa for the convention Monday afternoon. They gave more than $20 million to the superPAC that supported former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign and now they’re giving millions to Restore Our Future, the superPAC supporting Mitt Romney. SuperPACs, of course, are legally prohibited from coordinating with campaigns but have played an increasingly important role in the TV ad wars.

Read more from ABC’s Investigative Unit about how Hurricane Isaac has affected the convention plans of super donors and fundraising potential at the convention.

As Isaac Passes Tampa, Progressive Group Attacks GOP Over Disaster Funding – 12:22 p.m. ET – ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports that just as Tropical Storm Isaac is on the verge strengthening into a full-fledged hurricane, a liberal advocacy group is attempting to turn the bad weather into an attack on Republicans as they kick off their convention on Monday.

This morning the Progressive Change Campaign Committee unveiled a series of web ads that they intend hundreds of thousands of Floridians to see during the week of the convention. Those who click on the ads will be directed to a site that accuses GOP leaders, including Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, of voting to curtail funding for disaster relief.

“This week, Republicans will ‘ensure the delegations housed in storm-impacted areas have alternative housing if needed,’” according to the PCCC’s site. “Republican politicians give themselves extra safety from the storm, but consistently leave Florida out in the cold. Thanks a lot, Republicans.”

Here is the PCCC’s website.

Newt U? Professor Gingrich and Jon Karl - ABC’s Jonathan Karl talked Sunday to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich about running against Mitt Romney earlier this year and how he’ll play the part of professor at the convention:



California Delegation Won’t Let Isaac Interrupt Beachfront Breakfast – 11:22 a.m. ET – ABC’s Elizabeth Hartfield and Chris Good checked in with various state delegations to see what they’re up to and found the Californians will carry on.

“Business as usual” Mitch Zak, a spokesman for the California delegation told ABC News.

The California delegation hosted a breakfast at their hotel- the Tradewinds Resort in St. Petersburg, Fl.- a beachfront resort located across the bridge from the Tampa Bay Times Forum- a somewhat inconvenient location should flooding occur.


How Many Mariana Islands? – 11:14 a.m. ET -

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ABC's Rick Klein catches this misspelled sign at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

There are actually 15 Northern Mariana Islands, but most of the 53,000 population is on Saipan. Northern Mariana Islands Census info is here. Mitt Romney won their 2012 caucuses, which were held March 10th with 848 people taking part. Mitt Romney won with support of more than 80 percent caucusers. They’ve got 9 delegates at the convention.

Hurricane Delay – 11:05 a.m. ET – The latest on the delays caused to the convention by Hurricane Isaac from Jon Karl’s appearance on GMA:


Setting the Scene - 11 a.m. ET – For starters and to set the scene, here’s a look at where American registered voters view the two candidates heading into the Republican National Convention.

From an ABC News pollster Gary Langer’s write-up of the ABC News / Washington Post poll out today, it’s a dead heat. So nothing has changed recently.

Key Nuggets:

Obama has 46 percent support, Romney has 47 percent.

50 percent disapprove of Obama’s performance. 56 Disapprove of him on the economy. 50 percent trust Romney to handle the economy.

But, as Langer points out, 62 percent of registered voters say Obama favors the middle class. 58 percent say Romney favors the wealthy.

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A general view of the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, on Aug. 27, 2012 ahead of the Republican National Convention. (Stan Honda / AFP / Getty Images)


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