Mitt Romney formally accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for president last night. A surprise appearance by actor and director Clint Eastwood overshadowed Romney’s speech.
So far, television ratings for this RNC convention have been much lower than in 2008, when Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was a new and exciting face for the party. To generate some buzz about Thursday night’s prime-time lineup, Republican officials were touting an unnamed special guest. That turned out to be Eastwood, who delivered this strange dialogue with an empty chair (representing President Barack Obama).
Mother Jones published the transcript of Eastwood’s speech here.
I bet Romney’s handlers regretted the decision to send Eastwood on stage without an approved script. Last night the Romney campaign released this written statement:
“Judging an American icon like Clint Eastwood through a typical political lens doesn’t work. His ad libbing was a break from all the political speeches, and the crowd enjoyed it. He rightly pointed out that 23 million Americans out of work or underemployed is a national disgrace and it’s time for a change.”
Amazingly, Romney’s people ran their biographical video on the GOP nominee before major network coverage began last night. How could they relegate their best effort to promote Romney to cable networks and let the larger broadcast audience watch Eastwood? Lots of people were scratching their heads.
I only saw parts of Romney’s acceptance speech, but from what I read he said very little about his accomplishments as governor of Massachusetts. Typically, when a governor runs for president, the candidate’s record as leader of a state forms the centerpiece of the campaign.
Any comments about the Republican convention are welcome in this thread.
UPDATE: O.Kay Henderson reported,
Convention delegate Roger Leahy of Fairfield calls the Romney/Ryan ticket the “lesser of two evils” and he may vote for a third party candidate.
“I’m going to still be thinking about it ’til November whatever it is, 6th or 2nd or something,” Leahy said this morning, with a laugh. “I don’t know. I mean, I’ve never actually voted for the lesser of the evils. I’ve always voted for who I thought was the best candidate on the ballot and I’m still looking at that and I think there may be other candidates on the ballot.” […]
Delegate and Ron Paul supporter Jonas Cutler of West Des Moines said today he’ll “work for the Republican Party of Iowa” – plus, his daughter is in a Romney campaign commercial – but Cutler will not say whether he’ll vote for Mitt Romney.
“We are the future of the Republican Party here,” Cutler replied the fifth time he was asked if he’d vote for Romney.[…]
State Senator Brad Zaun of Urbandale – an alternate delegate to the convention who points out his candidate, Michele Bachmann, lost, too – said he’s had “disturbing” conversations with many of the Ron Paul supporters from Iowa.
“I’ve had several of them say, ‘I don’t even know if I’m going to vote,’ and that really upsets me,” Zaun said. “Their candidate lost and they’re supposed to be representatives of the Republican Party and they need to get behind Mitt Romney.”
SECOND UPDATE: Henderson also reported Iowa GOP Chair A.J. Spiker’s commnts regarding new rules adopted by the RNC. According to Spiker, tough penalties for states that try to schedule their primaries or caucuses very early are the “biggest protection Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status has ever had.”
Under the new GOP rules, a state that schedules its presidential primary or caucus before the end of February would only be able to send 12 delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention.
“So (a state) like California that went into February would have 12 delegates instead of over 150, so it’s a big penalty,” Spiker says. “That’s one of the biggest, positive things that come out of the convention that impacts the first-in-the-nation status of the Republican Party of Iowa.”
States that have moved ahead on the presidential election calendar in the past, though, have escaped serious party penalties. By the time a national convention comes around, nervous presidential nominees do not wish to offend voters in states like Florida who are crucial for victory in November. GOP Convention delegates ratified the new get-tough-on-leapfroggers rule on Tuesday. Spiker says a bid to give the party’s next presumed presidential nominee the ability to dictate who could be a delegate at the 2016 convention has been thwarted.
“I believe that speaks volumes of a lot of us put in to make sure that it was the people rather than the politicians picking the delegates,” Spiker says. “It was a tremendous success of a broad coalition: Tea Party people, Evangelicals, moderates, Ron Paul people – it was just a broad coalition to make sure that the grassroots continued to be the leader of that process.”