The Note: Mike Pence’s Moment at the RNC

ByMichael Falcone
July 20, 2016, 9:47 AM


--5 THINGS TO WATCH ON DAY THREE: We’re halfway through the Republican National Convention, and heading into the last two nights with some of the biggest names. Though the convention activity doesn’t actually start until 7:00 p.m. this evening, organizers have packed some big political names into their primetime programming. ABC’s MEGHAN KENEALLY highlights the five storylines to be aware of today:

--ON THE AGENDA: Tonight, we will hear from the man Donald Trump choose to be his running mate: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Tonight’s theme is “Make America First Again” and featured speakers include many former Trump rivals like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.


--MANAFORT CONTINUES TO DEFEND MELANIA TRUMP: Donald Trump’s campaign chairman continued to defend Melania Trump today amid rising criticism over her address at the opening night of the Republican National Convention. In an interview on ABC News’ “Good Morning America,” Paul Manafort downplayed the similarities between Melania Trump’s speech and Michelle Obama’s address to the Democratic National Convention eight years ago, ABC’s MORGAN WINSOR notes. “We’re talking about 50 words out of fourteen hundred,” Manafort said. “They’re part of the speech but the speech itself talks about her immigrant status, her love of country, her love of husband. These are her stories, these are her messages.”

--THE STORY BEHIND THE SPEECH MELANIA DIDN’T DELIVER: Six weeks ago, two of the most respected speechwriters in Republican politics were asked to write a convention address for Melania Trump ahead of her big moment in the spotlight in Cleveland. ABC’s JONATHAN KARL reports that an early version of the speech crafted by GOP speechwriters Matthew Scully and John McConnell was apparently disregarded and shelved by the Trump campaign.

--ERIC TRUMP USING ‘ZERO’ SPEECHWRITERS: Eric Trump’s speech tonight at the Republican National Convention will come from his heart and be in his own words, he promised today, ABC’s KATIE KINDELAN reports. “Zero,” Trump said on "Good Morning America" when asked whether any speechwriters helped compose his address in support of his dad, Donald Trump. “I wrote every single word of my speech myself.”

--ANALYSIS FROM ABC’s RICK KLEIN: The Trump takeover of the Republican Party was formalized on Tuesday, amid some folded arms on the floor of a Republican National Convention that has lacked unity, energy, and emotional heft. It all occurred in the exact same place that Donald J. Trump famously raised his hand in a gesture that hedged on party loyalty, just about a year ago. That moment was electric in a way that nothing that’s happened in Cleveland this week has come close to matching. While Trump earned the Republican nomination, he did not and has not earned a united party. Little that’s happened through a sometimes flat first two days of his convention nudged things in that direction –- to say nothing of the wider nation he hopes to lead.


TRUMP CLINCHES REPUBLICAN NOMINATION DURING RNC ROLL CALL. Donald Trump officially clinched the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday evening after securing enough delegates during the roll call vote on the floor of the convention. A rules change allowed New York to announce its vote out of alphabetical order so that it could be the one to put him over the edge the threshold of 1,237. Trump's son, Donald Jr., who is a Republican delegate, was the one to announce the vote with his sisters Ivanka and Tiffany and brother Eric by his side. "Congratulations Dad, we love you!" Donald Jr. screamed, ABC’s MEGHAN KENEALLY reports.

REPUBLICAN CONVENTION 2016: FACT-CHECKING THE SPEAKERS. ABC News is fact-checking selected speakers at the 2016 Republican National Convention taking place in Cleveland, Ohio. ABC’s CHRIS GOOD, NOAH FITZGEREL and JOHN KRUZEL will be updating new fact checks throughout the week.

REFERENCES TO HILLARY CLINTON DOMINATE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION SPEECHES. As a cavalcade of speakers from a variety of backgrounds made their way to the podium during the first two nights of the Republican National Convention, many found a unifying topic to link their remarks: Hillary Clinton. An ABC News review of transcripts from the evening sessions of the convention show major speakers directly mentioning Clinton an average of just over six times throughout their speeches, ABC’s ADAM KELSEY reports.

NOTED: VIEWS ON EXPERIENCE VS. OUTSIDER STATUS POSE A POTENTIAL CHALLENGE FOR TRUMP. Americans prefer experience to outsider status in the next president and also give it a higher priority in an ABC News/Washington Post poll, a potential challenge for Donald Trump as he builds toward the general election campaign. The public by 55-41 percent prefers a president with “experience in how the political system works” over “someone from outside the existing political establishment.” Most Democrats want experience, while independents are split and most Republicans prefer an outsider. Among those who prefer experience, moreover, 78 percent call it extremely or very important to them. Among those who prefer an outsider, fewer, 54 percent, call it highly important. ABC’s JULIE PHELAN and GREGORY HOLYK have more.

TRUMP, JR. DELIVERS RECYCLED SPEECH LINE AT RNC. One night after Melania Trump delivered speech lines nearly identical to Michelle Obama’s, Donald Trump, Jr. appeared to recycle one penned months earlier by his convention-night speechwriter. “Our schools used to be an elevator to the middle class. Now they are stalled on the ground floor," Trump, Jr. said Tuesday night in Cleveland, delivering one of the keynote speeches of the day at the Republican National Convention. "They are like Soviet Era department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks and not the customers." ABC’s CHRIS GOOD and MERIDITH MCGRAW note that Soviet-department-store comparison closely matched one from George Mason University law professor Frank Buckley. Both Buckley and the Trump campaign told ABC that Buckley worked as a speechwriter on Trump, Jr.’s address.

--WHAT HE SAID: Donald Trump Jr. lit a fire under the crowd at the Republican National Convention Tuesday night -- lacing into Hillary Clinton and praising his father as the "only" choice for president. The speech, which was met with resounding cheers, came hours after the Trump children got to announce, along with the New York delegation that their father was the 2016 nominee for the Republican party. ABC’s MEGHAN KENEALLY reports Trump Jr. went on the attack against his father's Democratic opponent about Benghazi. Trump Jr. said his father was his “mentor,” praising how he ran his companies and how he forced his children to listen to people based on their character rather than their credentials.

CHRISTIE STAGES RAUCOUS MOCK TRIAL OF HILLARY CLINTON AT CONVENTION. Chris Christie put on a rollicking show trial of Hillary Clinton at the Republican Convention Tuesday night -- leading the audience in Cleveland to shout "guilty!" over and over again in response to his allegations about the former secretary of state. New Jersey's governor, a former federal prosecutor, allowed the audience at the Quicken Loans arena to play jury as he presented an "indictment" to them. “We’re going to present the facts to you, as a jury of her peers, both in this hall and in living rooms around our nation,” the former 2016 presidential candidate said in opening his address to the Cleveland convention Tuesday night, ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS reports.

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