TAMPA — Party conventions are funny things.
If one question springs to mind for the average nonactivist, it’s probably: Who are these people? Why fly to Tampa to mill about with thousands of like-minded partisans wearing silly outfits and costumes and such?
Getting party members all in one place at least affords the opportunity to ask, which we did Tuesday night. Here are some answers, as we meet a delegate:
MEET: Zina Hackworth - Alternate, Missouri
Occupation: Married mother of 13 home-schooled children
Caucused For: Rick Santorum
Views on Romney: “Well, he’s the nominee,” Hackworth told ABC News, smiling a bit impishly. “We don’t need Obama anymore.”
Enthusiastic Supporter of Todd Akin: Hackworth attended the convention wearing a Todd Akin sticker prominently on her shirt. “I think it’s been blown out of proportion,” Hackworth said of the GOP Senate candidate and U.S. congressman’s recent remark about “legitimate” rape.
“He made a mistake, he apologized, and he has an excellent track record … pretty much anyone can misspeak, and that’s pretty much what it was,” Hackworth said. “If you want to focus on something, focus on Joe Biden saying, ‘They’re gonna put y’all back in chains.’ … He insults a whole race of people, and it’s basically OK.”
Hackworth agrees with Akin that abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape and incest. “We have a personal, family story as far as that goes. We talked to our pastor about it, and we also contacted the Akins, and he and his family stood by us.”
MEET: Ann O’Donnell – Alternate, Ohio
Hails From: Yellow Springs, Ohio (“The most liberal town in all Ohio,” O’Donnell says, pointing out Antioch College is there.)
Occupation: Senior adviser, director of policy and public affairs for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
Voted For in Primary: Rick Santorum. “We have not seen the last of him,” O’Donnell said, predicting that Santorum could have a bright future in the Republican Party.
Views on Super PAC Spending: ”Super PAC ads scare me because they completely changed the rules,” O’Donnell told ABC News. “You’ve got no control over it.”
Views on Obama: “If Obama wins another term, the rules go out the window. His true colors will come out,” O’Donnell said, recommending the Dinesh D’Souza film “2016: Obama’s America,” which has drawn massive attendance for a documentary, attracting conservative audiences. “I think he’s an anti-colonialist. I think he’s anti American in some ways,” O’Donnell said. Asked whether she herself favors colonialism, O’Donnell would not say.
MEET: Randy Duncan – Delegate, Kansas
Hails From: Saline County, Kansas
Occupation: Self-employed in sales and promotional advertising; Saline County commissioner
Caucused For: “I’m not gonna say, but I don’t think it makes any difference right now,” Duncan told ABC News. “We’re all one team now supporting Mitt Romney.”
Views on Mitt Romney: “I like his family values. He has a tremendous family, he supports the platform, he’s conservative,” Duncan said, noting that he was impressed with how Romney handled the Salt Lake City Olympics. ”What he did for the Olympics, if he can do for the country — we need him now.”
Costumed As: The University of Kansas Jayhawk. “We’re here to do serious work for the United States, but it doesn’t mean Kansas delegates can’t have fun,” Duncan said.
What’s Good About the Convention: ”It’s cool. You get the whole country in one place. It’s my fifth convention, my second as a delegate,” Duncan said. “I’m just an old farm boy, and now I’m here.”
A female delegate walked by as ABC News was interviewing Duncan, telling him, “I owe you a dance.” Duncan replied, “You owe me a dance.”
MEET: Jayne Han – Delegate, California
Hails From: The Bay Area (“I’m a Bay Area delegate — a very rare breed,” Han told ABC News.)
Occupation: Real-estate developer/investor, small-business owner
Voted in Primary for: Mitt Romney
Views on Romney’s Drawbacks: While Han supported Romney in the primary, she wasn’t sure at first. When asked by ABC News what she doesn’t like about Romney, Han said, “He is corporate America,” noting that image could be a problem for him. Han said she was looking for the most electable candidate.
“To be frank, some of the social issues are his [drawbacks] — some of those flubs made by the radical right,” Han said, noting that social issues are not high on the list of things that determine her vote. “I do like Romney, but I feel like he had to say what he had to say, you know?” Han said, referring to Romney’s changed stance on abortion. “I don’t feel like he needed to say it, personally.”
Views on Obama: “Where do I start? I think Obama has his own agenda. I think he’s inexperienced, he’s out of his league, and he’s spending money like there’s no tomorrow,” Han said.
As a small businesswoman, Han took offense to Obama’s “you wdidn’t build that” comment, which convention planners used as a theme for Tuesday night’s stage events in Tampa. “Definitely with that clip, it fired me up. I know he didn’t build it, the government didn’t help me,” Han said. “I lost lots of sleep with a lot on the line — it was all me.”