As It Happened: Wednesday At The Republican Convention
Hello from Tampa, where tonight Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin accepted the Republican Party's vice presidential nomination and told the nation that if he joins Mitt Romney in the White House they will work to solve the nation's problems, not blame them on others.
"We will not duck the tough issues, we will lead," he said. "We will not spend four years blaming others, we will take responsibility. We will not try to replace our founding principles, we will reapply our founding principles."
It was a speech full of the kind of jabs that vice presidential nominees take at the other party's standard-bearers and which focused a lot on issues that Ryan has been at the center of in Congress: the federal debt and health care.
We followed the action on the floor of the 2012 Republican National Convention as it happened and updated this post through the evening. Also onstage tonight were 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and several of the politicians who were said to have been on Romney's "short list" of vice presidential possibilities.
Scroll down and "read up" if you want to see how things went. And check the live chat about the proceedings that our colleague Frank James hosted.
As he wraps up to a big finish, Ryan says "the right that makes all the difference now, is the right to choose our own leaders. And you are entitled to the clearest possible choice, because the time for choosing is drawing near. So here is our pledge:
"We will not duck the tough issues, we will lead. We will not spend four years blaming others, we will take responsibility. We will not try to replace our founding principles, we will reapply our founding principles."
With that, he's joined onstage by his wife, their three children and his mother for a minute or so of music and waving.
"College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life!" Ryan says, setting off another ovation.
The delegates love when Ryan talks about how his mother built her own business and he says, "my Mom is my role model." She's in the building.
And they love it when Ryan says American business owners, "after all [their] work, and in a bad economy ... deserve to hear ... the truth: 'Yes, you did build that.' "
Ryan says the president and his fellow Democrats "have no answer to this simple reality: We need to stop spending money we don't have." That's another crowd pleaser.
Continuing to blister "Obamacare," Ryan says, "Ladies and gentlemen, our nation needs this debate. We want this debate. We will win this debate." That gets a loud cheer.
Then he gets the biggest ovation yet after saying this:
"President Obama was asked not long ago to reflect on any mistakes he might have made. He said, well, 'I haven't communicated enough.' He said his job is to 'tell a story to the American people' — as if that's the whole problem here? He needs to talk more, and we need to be better listeners?
"Ladies and gentlemen, these past four years we have suffered no shortage of words in the White House. What's missing is leadership in the White House."
"The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst," Ryan tells delegates. "You, the working men and women of this country, were cut out of the deal. What did the taxpayers get out of the Obama stimulus? More debt. That money wasn't just spent and wasted — it was borrowed, spent, and wasted.
"Maybe the greatest waste of all was time. Here we were, faced with a massive job crisis – so deep that if everyone out of work stood in single file, that unemployment line would stretch the length of the entire American continent. You would think that any president, whatever his party, would make job creation, and nothing else, his first order of economic business.
"But this president didn't do that. Instead, we got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care.
"Obamacare comes to more than two thousand pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees, and fines that have no place in a free country."
At that point to women who appeared to be with the "Code Pink" movement began shouting. They were quickly removed from the hall and a chant of "USA! USA!" drowned them out. The disturbance lasted a brief time.
Coming onstage to a big roar, Ryan says right away that "I am honored by the support of this convention for vice president of the United States."
"Success is not something to be ashamed of, or to demonize," says New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, hitting on a theme that's has come up many times here. "There is one candidate in this election who will protect that dream, one leader who will fight hard to keep the promise of America for the next generation. And that's why we must stand up and make Mitt Romney the next president of the United States."
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez gets the delegates on their feet by saying that as an 18-year-old working for her father's security business "I carried a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum."
Delegates roar for the first time tonight when former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice talks of herself: "a little girl [who] grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham — the most segregated big city in America."
Her parents, Rice says, "can't take her to a movie theater or a restaurant — but they make her believe that even though she can't have a hamburger at the Woolworth's lunch counter — she can be president of the United States and she becomes the secretary of state!"
"We need to give parents greater choice — particularly poor parents whose kids — very often minorities — are trapped in failing neighborhood schools," says former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. " This is the civil rights struggle of our day." That gets a strong cheer from the delegates.
After getting the warmest welcome of any prime-time speaker so far tonight, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice begins her address by talking about national security and right at the start she looks back at the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
"I will never forget the bright September day," she says, "standing at my desk in the White House, when my young assistant said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center — and then a second one." She goes on to talk of the attacks on the Pentagon and the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.
Now, she says, the "question of moment ... [is] 'Where does America stand?' When our friends and our foes, alike, do not know the answer to that question – clearly and unambiguously — the world is a chaotic and dangerous place."
Without using the word "Mormon," former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says, "I care far less as to where Mitt Romney takes his family to church than I do about where he takes this country." It's the first such reference from the podium we've heard this week.
Why do former opponents unite? Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — who ran against Romney in the 2008 GOP primaries — says it's because "we have Barack Obama to thank."
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty gave Romney his strong support. Long gone are the days in the primary campaign when he tied Romney's health care initiative in Massachusetts to President Obama's — famously calling it "Obamneycare."
"Good evening everyone, and welcome to Barack Obama's retirement party!" says former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the second of those said to have been on Romney's vice presidential "short list" to address the convention tonight.
Moments later, he delivers more of the sort of lines that vice presidential nominees are expected to deliver:
"Actually, Barack Obama is the first president to create more excuses than jobs! In his view, it's George's fault. It's the bank's fault. It's Europe's fault. It's the weather's fault. It's Congress' fault. Mr. President, if you want to find fault, I suggest you look in the mirror.
"I've come to realize that Barack Obama is the tattoo president. Like a big tattoo, it seemed cool when you were young.
"But later on, that decision doesn't look so good, and you wonder: what was I thinking? But the worst part is you're still going to have to explain it to your kids. ...
"Barack Obama's failed us. But look, it's understandable. A lot of people fail at their first job."
As we've been watching the proceedings, the Republican ticket has sent an email to supporters asking for donations because "this is the week that with your help we can propel the Romney-Ryan ticket to a sizable lead in the polls over Barack Obama and Joe Biden and their radical leftist, big-government agenda."
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman was said to have been on the "short list" of potential vice presidential nominees. So this might have been his big night, not Rep. Paul Ryan's. Onstage now, Portman is getting a reception similar to McCain's — polite, with some cheers here and there, but not closely followed by many of the delegates.
He gets a fairly good rise out of the delegates, though, by saying "At the other party's convention, you will hear the chant, 'Four more years. Four more years.' " That sets off a chant of "No More Years!"
Update at 8:55 p.m. ET. More On McCain.
We've put up a separate post: Four Years Later McCain's Reception Is Much Different.
No one's going to miss the message the Republicans want to send tonight if Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington has anything to do with it. "Our theme tonight is, 'We can change it.' " The first thing they'll talk about changing is "Obamacare." "Do you want more of this for four more years?" asks Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens after he and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi tick off their objections to the law. "NO!" the delegates say.
After coming on stage to a standing ovation, Arizona Sen. John McCain begins to make the case for why he's supporting Romney — a man who was a bitter opponent in the 2008 Republican primaries.
"Unfortunately, for four years — four years — we've drifted away from our proudest traditions of global leadership," he says, "traditions that are truly bipartisan. We've let the challenges we face, both at home and abroad, become harder to solve.
"We can't afford to stay on that course any longer."
He gets big applause for this line:
"We can't afford to have the security of our nation and those who bravely defend it endangered because their government leaks the secrets of their heroic operations to the media."
Then he runs through a series of foreign policy issues he thinks President Obama has bumbled: Iran, Middle East peace, Syria.
"Sadly, for the lonely voices of dissent in Syria, and Iran, and elsewhere, who feel forgotten in their darkness, and sadly for us, as well, our president is not being true to our values."
The 2008 GOP presidential nominee didn't get the delegates' full attention, though. While there has been some applause, many are talking, reading and moving about.
But of Romney, McCain says several times, "I trust him."
Neither of the former presidents is scheduled to be at the convention. Tonight, before the prime-time TV hours, delegates just saw a video tribute to George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. It's been greeted with applause. Toward the end, this gets a nice round of applause:
"Mitt Romney will be a good president," George W. Bush says.
The senator supported his father's bid for the presidential nomination. After his dad left the race, he endorsed Mitt Romney. Tonight, he says that "to lead us forward, away from the looming debt crisis, it will take someone who believes in America's greatness, who believes in and can articulate the American dream, someone who has created jobs, someone who understands and appreciates what makes America great, someone who will lead our party and our nation forward. I believe that someone is our nominee: Governor Mitt Romney."
The Kentucky senator is putting his historical and economic take on one of the issues Republicans have been using to score points against President Obama. It's a more detailed argument than we've heard from the podium so far this week.
"When I heard the current president say, 'You didn't build that,' I was first insulted, then I was angered, then I was saddened that anyone in our country, much less the president of the United States, believes that roads create business success and not the other way around," Rand Paul says.
"Anyone who so fundamentally misunderstands American greatness is uniquely unqualified to lead this great nation. The great and abiding lesson of American history, particularly the Cold War, is that the engine of capitalism — the individual — is mightier than any collective."
President Obama has "been working to earn a spot on the PGA Tour," Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky tells delegates. On Tuesday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Vice President Biden lies about how good a golfer he is.
The Texas congressman isn't in the hall, as far as we know, but the video that's now being shown about him is getting some big cheers from the crowd — presumably mostly his delegates and supporters, but perhaps many others who agree with some, if not all, of his views. His son will be on stage soon.
We posted this earlier: "GOP Convention Switches On Web Appeal For Isaac Relief."
Now, on the large screen backing the stage, there are messages urging delegates to go to RedCross.org and text "RECROSS" to 90999. Those are ways to donate to help those in the path of Isaac, the hurricane/tropical storm that is pummeling the Gulf Coast from Louisiana through Mississippi.
We'll likely hear about those suffering the effects of Isaac several times this evening.
"Here is our pledge," Ryan will tell delegates, according to excerpts of his address that the Romney/Ryan campaign has sent to reporters. "We will not duck the tough issues — we will lead. We will not spend four years blaming others — we will take responsibility. We will not try to replace our founding principles, we will reapply our founding principles."
Romney, Ryan also plans to say, "is sure ready. His whole life has prepared him for this moment – to meet serious challenges in a serious way, without excuses and idle words."