I had planned on blogging last night, but transportation logistics here in Tampa leave something to be desired. Despite being among the first out of the hall at 11 pm and on a bus shortly thereafter, the usual 15 minute ride back to my hotel took 2 hours. By then, my phone battery was down to less than 10% with no way to recharge it, so I couldn’t even use that time to write.
After a morning and afternoon of meetings run by the RATE Coalition on tax reform and later ones with National Journal on what to expect from a Romney Administration, it was off to pre-convention receptions and then the big event itself.
Word had spread earlier in the day that Mitt Romney was coming to town early to support his wife Ann on the big night of her speech. His motorcade zipped past us about 11 am.
VA Gov. Bob McDonnell gave some memorable lines during his speech (“It will be good to have a president who understands what it takes to create jobs…and a vice president who knows what state he’s in.”) He was very well received by the delegates and it was clear why he made the cut for Romney’s VP short list.
Another Virginian brought the house down a short while later. Former US Rep. Artur Davis, who represented an Alabama district as a Democrat, said he was at the wrong convention four years ago (he seconded President Obama’s nomination in Denver and was the first lawmaker from outside Illinois to endorse him.). He spoke on behalf of everyone who “got it wrong” four years ago. By the end of the speech, he had the entire audience on their feet. Forget about him taking Gerry Connolly on in two years (if Connolly even lasts that long), Davis is Senate calibre and should be a top NRSC recruit target to take out Mark Warner in 2014.
SC Gov. Nikki Haley gave a great speech in her own right, relating the story of how her immigrant parents built their own small business. She then pivoted to introducing Ann Romney.
Mrs. Romney began laying out the picture of Mitt Romney that most people don’t know, from the early days of their marriage when they lived in a basement apartment with an ironing board as their dining room table through today and the success he has achieved. She not only capably defended the notion of success, but praised its virtues.
Finally, NJ Gov. Chris Christie gave the keynote address. The theme was it was time someone started treating voters like adults, that it was more important that politicians and America as a whole be respected than to be loved, and finally that elected officials LEAD and change the polls rather than merely be followers of them.
This morning, I’m at the first ever National Center Right Meeting run by Americans for Tax Reform (and officially on the record.) VA AG Ken Cuccinelli is speaking right now and talking about resisting the state expansion of Medicaid and the problems with Obamacare’s state exchanges. (Former VA LG John Hager is here, too.)
Del. David Ramadan from Loudoun County spoke about the constitutional amendments on the ballot this November to protect private property rights.
That’s all for now. Tonight, Jeanine McDonnell will speak at the convention and later, our vice presidential nominee (and my former cubicle mate from the early 90s working for Jack Kemp at Empower America), Paul Ryan!