TAMPA, Fla. - The past two nights of the Republican National Convention each had their emotional high points.
On Tuesday, it was Ann Romney's passionate plea that voters "get to know" her husband.
Last night, it was vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's introduction of his young family and his mother who is said, "to this day" is his "role model."
On the convention floor, President Obama has been tweaked by some of the speakers for being a better speech maker than president, but as Mitt Romney prepares to take the stage in Tampa tonight to officially accept the presidential nomination, it will be his own skills as an orator that will be tested.
As one Republican strategist told The Note:
"We've seen the future of our party - Paul Ryan stepped out of the House and into the living rooms of the American people. I worry about Romney's ability to reach the bar set for him at this convention, but he set minds at ease about any questions regarding this pick. As these speakers continue to do great - minus New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -the bar rises for Romney."
We'll see if he's up to the task.
Romney adviser Kevin Madden said that as of yesterday the candidate's speech was "pretty much complete."
"This is a speech where he is going to talk a lot about what's informed his values, what's informed his outlooks," Madden said, "and of course his faith is an important part of that is an important part of who he is as a husband and father I think you can expect some of that."
Tonight - the final night of the RNC - is biography night. This is "our opportunity to tell Governor Romney's story in a very complete way," Romney campaign strategist Russ Schriefer said, emphasizing "all parts of the governor's story" - and that includes Romney's Mormon faith.
The program will feature some of the people that Romney has helped - and influenced - as a member of the Mormon Church.
It's also going to be heavy on Olympic spirit. Expect to see Olympic hockey player Mike Eruzione of "Miracle on Ice" fame; Kimberly Rhode, who won the gold medal in skeet shooting at the 2012 summer games in London; and speed skater Derek Parra who medaled in the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, which Romney ran.
ABC's RICK KLEIN: Paul Ryan leaned into the Medicare argument last night by casting his pitch to voters in generational terms, with AC/DC on his iPod and fading Obama posters adorning the rooms of recent college graduates. But as his music choices may have betrayed, this isn't a straight play for the youth vote - at least not the Obama youth vote. Nor is it an argument fully dependent on Medicare. It's about connecting with white, working-class Americans, many of them Midwesterners like Ryan, who are the "it" demographic because of Obama and Romney's shared inability to reach them. They're not quite young, not quite hip, and maybe not quite decided.
OBAMA CAMPAIGN ON RYAN'S SPEECH: Obama's Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter said, "Paul Ryan offered Americans forty minutes of vitriol and a half dozen previously debunked attacks, but not one tangible idea to move this country forward. This from the man Mitt Romney called the intellectual leader of the Republican Party. He blamed the President for an auto plant that closed under the previous administration, for not advancing a deficit reduction plan that he voted against, and for cutting Medicare even though he used those same savings in his budget to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy."
with ABC's Chris Good ( @c_good)
RYAN THRILLS REPUBLICANS, ACCEPTS 'CALLING OF MY GENERATION.' ABC's Russell Goldman and Shushannah Walshe reports: The 42-year-old Ryan, speaking at the end of a long day of speeches and video presentations by the party's graying old guard, cut a dramatically youthful figure and vowed to heed the "the calling of my generation." "Whatever your political party, let's come together for the sake of our country. Join Mitt Romney and me. Let's give this effort everything we have. Let's see this through all the way. Let's get this done," Ryan declared. … "Right now, 23 million men and women are struggling to find work… Nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty… So here's the question: Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years," he asked. "We have a plan for a stronger middle class, with the goal of generating 12 million new jobs over the next four years," he said. http://abcn.ws/QCv4mD
RYAN DIGS AT ROMNEY'S IPOD. From ABC's convention liveblog: Paul Ryan criticized Mitt Romney's ipod for having too stodgy music - he didn't mention what, exactly. The Platters, maybe? "We're a full generation apart, Governor Romney and I. And, in some ways, we're a little different. There are the songs on his iPod, which I've heard on the campaign bus and on many hotel elevators. He actually urged me to play some of these songs at campaign rallies. I said, I hope it's not a deal-breaker Mitt, but my playlist starts with AC/DC, and ends with Zeppelin." http://abcn.ws/Rnae5E
RYAN BLAMES OBAMA FOR GM PLANT CLOSED UNDER BUSH. ABC's Arlette Saenz reports: "My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory," Ryan said in his convention speech Wednesday night. "A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: 'I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.' That's what he said in 2008." "Well, as it turned out, that plant didn't last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that's how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight," Ryan continued. The plant Ryan referenced, which he also brought up at an event earlier this month, made its last GM automobile in December 2008 while President George W. Bush was still in office. The announcement to close the Janesville plant came in June of 2008, after then-candidate Obama spoke there, and the initial projected date for its closing was 2010, according to an AP article from the time. http://abcn.ws/OKMv1l
ANALYSIS: A NEW PAUL RYAN. ABC's Rick Klein pointed out as Ryan spoke last night, in ABC's convention live blog: If you've seen the Ryan budget presentations you wouldn't recognize this Paul Ryan speaking tonight. This is a much broader speech, and a broad indictment of Obama policies in the areas he knows best. He talked about the "heavy books" and charts on Medicare but quickly turned it to talk about his grandmother. http://abcn.ws/Rnae5E
PAUL RYAN'S CONVENTION POSSE. ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports: Paul Ryan's family will be in the audience and on the stage for the biggest speech of his life Wednesday. So who are the family members who traveled from Janesville, Wis., for the big GOP bash? See a guide to the Ryan clan here: http://abcn.ws/UcvTld
VIDEO: RYAN HIGHLIGHTS. See ABC video of Paul Ryan's speech highlights here: http://abcn.ws/Q3UZlm
VIDEO: RYAN'S FULL SPEECH. Watch Paul Ryan's full speech here: http://abcn.ws/NY5vwk
MORE SPEECHES: GOP WOMEN SET THE TONE. After Ann Romney's direct appeal to female voters on Tuesday night, Republican National Committee planners stacked two prominent Republican women ahead of Paul Ryan's nomination-acceptance speech: former secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. While the convention attendees milled about and talked amongst themselves during most of Wednesday's program, Rice brought the crowd to attention and Martinez held it, commanding the room and building the energy toward Ryan's big moment.
RICE HITS OBAMA ON FOREIGN POLICY. ABC's Gregory J. Krieg reports: Condoleezza Rice never addressed President Obama by name, but the former secretary of state delivered a sharp rejection of his foreign policy tonight, charging that the White House had forsaken past and potential allies, leaving the world to wonder, "Where does America stand?" … Rice picked up on a theme laid out earlier tonight by Sen. John McCain who warned that "if America doesn't lead, our adversaries will, and the world will grow darker, poorer and much more dangerous." Rice criticized the president for taking a backseat to NATO during the battle for Libya and not doing more to stop the bloodshed in Syria. "We cannot be reluctant to lead," Rice told fellow Republicans, who welcomed her to the stage with enthusiastic applause. "And you cannot lead from behind. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan understand this reality, that our leadership abroad and our well-being at home are inextricably linked." http://abcn.ws/RudbFG
RICE FIRES UP THE CROWD, SANS TELEPROMPTER. Former secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the first former Bush administration figure to take the stage for a primetime speech in Tampa, received the biggest applause of any speaker other than Paul Ryan as she delivered her address without a teleprompter. Rice's speech was weighty, touching on foreign policy, education, and inequality of opportunity, drawing emotional applause with a line about how a young girl who couldn't get served at a Woolworth's counter went on to become secretary of State. Analysis from ABC's Amy Walter: What's remarkable about Rice's speech is that it was much broader than simply foreign policy. Rice delivered a message that touched all of the key elements of the GOP plank: self-determination, opportunity, and an appreciation of the ideal of the American dream. WATCH highlights of Rice's speech: http://abcn.ws/PPbmma WATCH Rice's full speech: http://abcn.ws/Rtp7aQ
HUCKABEE BLESSES ROMNEY'S MORMONISM. From ABC's convention liveblog: Mike Huckabee, the evangelical former Arkansas Governor, who wrapped his faith so integrally to his presidential campaign four years ago, had an important if not completely overt message in his speech. "I care far less about where Mitt Romney takes his family to church than about where he takes this country," Huckabee said. It does not appear in polls that there will be a challenge for voters to support Romney because of his religion. But if there were, it would be in the South and among evangelicals. http://abcn.ws/Rnae5E
SECRET SERVICE MEMBER LEAVES GUN UNATTENDED ON ROMNEY'S CHARTER FLIGHT. ABC's Emily Friedman reports from Tampa: A member of Mitt Romney's Secret Service detail was removed today from a campaign trip after she accidentally left her firearm unattended in the candidate's charter plane bathroom. The agent in question left a gun unattended in the bathroom of the plane during a flight between Tampa and Indiana. The gun was found by a reporter on board who immediately informed the agent, who then went back into the bathroom and retrieved the weapon. Ed Donovan, a spokesman for the United States Secret Service, told ABC News that officials are "aware of the incident." "We take the care and custody of our equipment-especially firearms-very seriously," he said. "We will deal with this matter internally and in an appropriate manner." http://abcn.ws/N0AbLU
LOVE AT THE RNC: MAN PROPOSES ONSTAGE. ABC's Jonathan Karl gets the inside story of the couple who got engaged onstage at the Republican National Convention Wednesday before the evening's program began. WATCH Karl interview the newly engaged couple here: http://abcn.ws/PysluA
JOHN MCCAIN: DON'T SCREW IT UP. The former GOP presidential nominee talked speech prep with ABC's Jonathan Karl ahead of Mitt Romney's first speech as the party's 2012 candidate. "His self confidence has gone up rather dramatically," McCain said of Romney. What goes through the mind of a new nominee walking onstage? According to McCain: "Don't screw it up." WATCH Jonathan Karl's interview with McCain here: http://abcn.ws/OsoYSg
ABC INTERVIEW: GINGRICH SAYS GOP'S CHALLENGE IS FIGHTING MEDIA, DISHONEST DEMS. ABC's Amy Walter and Rick Klein interviewed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney's former rival in the GOP primary. Gingrich's message on the campaign: Mitt Romney and Republicans have to keep pushing to return the discussion to substantive policy debate and pounce on any dishonest claims made by Democrats. "We have to learn to tell the truth better than they can tell lies," Gingrich told ABC. WATCH Amy Walter and Rick Klein's interview here: http://abcn.ws/N1iA6F
RAND PAUL TO CAMPAIGN FOR ROMNEY, WHILE RON WON'T ENDORSE. ABC's Jonathan Karl interviewed Sen. Rand Paul on the floor of the Republican National Convention Wednesday, and ABC's Jason Volack and Amy Bingham report: Former GOP presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul has declined to endorse Mitt Romney, but his son Sen. Rand Paul will soon hit the campaign trail to support the newly-minted Republican nominee. "We are hoping to help Gov. Romney get elected," Rand Paul told ABC News' Jon Karl after wrapping up his speech at the GOP convention tonight. The younger Paul said he is working out the logistics of appearing at campaign events for Romney between now and November. "They've asked me to go places and I'm happy to," he said. http://abcn.ws/TwJfq2
ABC VIDEO: RAND PAUL SAYS HIS FATHER'S TROOPS WERE WELL REPRESENTED. Sen. Rand Paul tells ABC's Jonathan Karl that his father's supporters are being integrated into the party. "I feel like we got represented very well," Paul told Karl. http://abcn.ws/Ucj7Dd
MEET A DELEGATE! Party conventions are funny things. If one question springs to mind for the average non-activist, it's probably: Who are these people? Here are four interviews with delegates about their views on Mitt Romney, the GOP primary, and the campaign against President Obama: http://abcn.ws/O59Mtu
ROB PORTMAN JOKES ABOUT VP SHORT LIST. ABC's Michael Falcone reports: If you're an erstwhile vice presidential short-lister, it's got to be at least a little awkward to address the Republican National Convention on the same night that the ultimate pick is delivering the keynote. So, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who many speculated was a shoe-in to be Mitt Romney's running mate, took the self-deprecating approach tonight: "My name is Rob Portman and they say I was on Governor Romney's short list of vice presidential candidates. Apparently, it wasn't short enough." http://abcn.ws/Rnae5E
PAWLENTY COMPARES OBAMA TO A TATTOO. Elizabeth Hartfield reports: Elizabeth Hartfield reports: Tim Pawlenty- whose name is practically synonymous with nice guy- took jab after jab at President Obama in his speech. He calls Obama "the tattoo president"- "like a big tattoo, it seemed cool when you were young. But but later on, that decision doesn't look so good, and you wonder: what was I thinking?" Pawlenty talked about why Romney is a great candidate, but he also talks about why Romney is a great person- striking a personal chord saying "There's one other thing I want to leave you with tonight. It's important for America to know that Mitt Romney is not only a great leader, he's also a remarkable person. He's smart, gracious and wise. And he has this infectious good cheer about him - something I appreciate and something America needs." http://abcn.ws/Rnae5E
TED CRUZ: IMMIGRATION NOT MAJOR FACTOR FOR HISPANIC VOTERS. ABC's Amy Walter and Rick Klein interviewed Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz, who talked about Hispanic voters in 2012. Cruz said: "I think that Democrats very much hope immigration will be a wedge issue, and they're using it to try to scare the Hispanic community. … Most Hispanics are not for open border, most Hispanics are not for amnesty." WATCH the full interview here: http://abcn.ws/UdCSdp
@JohnJHarwood : GOP senator: VP candidate's speech persuaded him Romney was right to pick Ryan as running mate over Senate colleague Portman
@TonyFratto : Weekly jobless claims +374k & last week's # revised up to +372k. Bad levels, worse direction.
@WisVoter : Condi Rice visits Wisconsin delegation, rousing reception
- Mitt Romney is at the Republican National Convention in Tampa to officially deliver his speech accepting the GOP presidential nomination.
- Paul Ryan is in Tampa, Fla.
- President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are in Washington, DC with no public events.
Check out The Note's Futures Calendar : http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV