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Five things to watch at the Republican Convention

August 25, 2012 by NCC Staff


Will Hurricane Isaac, Sarah Palin, or Joe Biden be the biggest gate crasher at the GOP convention in Tampa? And who could steal the show as a speaker? Here’s a brief look at what could be a wild week in Tampa.


1. What’s up with potential Hurricane Isaac?


The current Tropical Storm Isaac is heading toward the Gulf of Mexico and possibly tracking toward New Orleans.


On Saturday night, the RNC announced it wouldn’t hold convention events on Monday night, as a precaution against Isaac.


Other cancellations are possible if Isacc hits the Gulf coast with significant force, and convention proceedings seem inappropriate.


2. Who is the biggest gate crasher?


We expected that to  be Vice President Joe Biden, who was scheduled to lead rallies in Tampa on Monday and Tuesday, at least before Isaac came on the scene.


But Biden canceled his appearances in the wake of Isaac.


Sarah Palin wasn’t invited to speak at the Republican National Convention, and she was expected to appear in Arizona, and not Tampa.


Todd Akin,  the controversial Senate candidate from Missouri, was also reportedly in Tampa this week to meet with fundraisers, but he agreed to not attend the convention after last weekend’s media frenzy.


Donald Trump also cancelled his convention appearance after learning his featured role on Monday was cancelled.


3. Will Chris Christie steal the show as the keynote speaker?


The boisterous New Jersey governor says he’s not changing his style for his keynote speech. But there is plenty of other speaker firepower in Tampa.


Ted Cruz, the up-and-coming Senate candidate from Texas, will get a lot of attention. And Marco Rubio, the current U.S. senator from Florida, is another dynamic speaker.


Cruz was scheduled to speak on Tuesday night, while Rubio is speaking on Thursday night just before Mitt Romney. Christie speaks on Tuesday.


But Wednesday night should be the most dynamic night for speakers, with a lineup that includes John McCain, Tim Pawlenty, Condoleezza Rice, and Paul Ryan.


Look for Condoleezza Rice to steal the night with her well-honed speech on returning America to its values and promise.


4. Will the party walk the plank with its platform?


Because of Todd Akin’s miscues about rape in a TV interview, the GOP’s stance on abortion will get a lot of attention as it is codified in the convention’s platform.


The platform is approved at the convention’s start. It is expected to disavow a legal exception for rape or incest victims in abortion situations. That would conflict with Mitt Romney’s view on the issue.


But a report from Fox News on Friday listed some other platform highlights, such as a commission to study the gold standard and some conciliatory language on immigration.


The platform isn’t a binding a document for Romney and Paul Ryan, and there’s a lot of debate if voters really care about it.


One voter who doesn’t is Chris Christie, who told a New York radio station that the platform isn’t a big deal.


“I don’t really care about the platform. And I don’t think most Republicans care about the platform. And I don’t think most Republicans can tell you what the platform said,” Christie said.


5. How much of the convention will be on TV?


In past decades, a lot of the convention was televised live. But in the 24/7 news era, where the convention appears on television is an issue.


You’ll be able to watch most of the convention live on cable news networks and online.


But the major broadcast TV networks plan to show limited coverage on three nights, with ABC, CBS, and NBC showing one hour on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.


The GOP moved Ann Romney’s speech to Tuesday, from its scheduled spot as the final speech on Monday.


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