What to watch for on Tuesday at the Republican National Convention

August 28, 2012

TAMPA -- After a day-long postponement due to Tropical Storm Isaac, the Republican National Convention begins in earnest Tuesday with a jam-packed schedule of events beginning at 2 p.m. and running all the way through 11 p.m. eastern.

While the Fix will be watching -- and tweeting! -- most of the proceedings, you may not be so lucky (or unlucky depending on how you feel about politics). With your limited time in mind, we are dedicating our Morning Fix from today through Thursday to flagging a few must-watch speeches during the day's convention schedule. Think of it as Convention CliffsNotes.

* John Boehner (7 p.m. hour speech): While the addresses by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, which are both scheduled for the 7 p.m. hour, are likely to draw the lion's share of attention, the House Speaker's speech is likely to be more entertaining than either. Boehner is among the most frank politicians operating at a very high national level -- he said Monday that the party platform should fit on a single sheet of paper -- and that bluntness alone makes his speech worth tuning into.

* Kelly Ayotte (8 p.m. hour): For much of the last few months, we had the New Hampshire Senator in the top 10 of our Veepstakes rankings. Though she wasn't ultimately the pick (or close to it), Ayotte is someone with the real capacity to become a national star in the coming years. She's young with a law and order background. (She served as New Hampshire Attorney General before being elected to the Senate in 2010.) She's articulate and pragmatic. And she's conservative but not too conservative. In a night packed with potential national GOP stars -- Govs. Nikki Haley, Scott Walker and Brian Sandoval to name three -- Ayotte is the one we will be watching the closest.

* Ann Romney (10 p.m. hour): There is a case to be made that Ann Romney's speech about her husband is as important as Mitt Romney's speech about himself.  What's clear from the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll is that the economy continues to drag President Obama down and yet Romney isn't able to surge forward because, well, people just don't like him much. The only way for Romney to narrow that likability gap is to show people that he is more than just a rich business guy. And the person best equipped -- and, yes, better equipped than Romney himself -- to tell the story of Mitt the man is his wife.

* Chris Christie (10 p.m. hour): The New Jersey governor's keynote address will be viewed by most savvy political types as a speech as much about what Christie's future than Romney's present.  Christie is clearly reveling in his time as the Republican party's biggest star -- he was mobbed by reporters and cameramen when he toured the convention hall Monday -- and he and his political team understand the importance of giving a well reviewed speech tonight.  Expect the Christie conservatives have fallen in love with -- no nonsense, tough talking -- to be on full display. The question/challenge for Christie is whether he can go big; can he find a moment that shows him as the sort of visionary leader the party could be looking for in 2016 if Romney falls short?

Priorities ad features former Romney supporter: The pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action is going up with a new ad featuring a Massachusetts small business owner and independent former Romney supporter who says she was "duped" by Romney when she voted for him for governor in 2002.

"Gov. Romney promised that he would bring jobs to this state," says the woman, Olive Chase. "By the time Gov. Romney left office, we had fallen to 47th in the nation in terms of job growth. Gov. Romney cares about big business, he cares about tax cuts for wealthy people, and I certainly do not believe that he cares about my hard-working employees."

The woman then says she will vote for Obama.

The ad will run in Florida both on TV and online. It will also run in four swing states: Colorado, Iowa, Ohio and Virginia. It is part of a $30 million ad campaign and represents the super PAC's emerging transition from Romney's business record to his record as governor.

FactCheck.org notes that, while growth under Romney ranked 47th in the country during his entire term, it actually improved from 50th in his first year to 28th in his final year.

"It was 47th for the whole of his four-year tenure, but it was improving, not declining, when he left," FactCheck.org wrote.

Meanwhile, a new web video debuting tomorrow at the Republican National Convention features former Obama supporters talking about why they are disappointed in his presidency. The ad will be played at the convention Tuesday night.

Fixbits:

Romney will arrive in Tampa on Tuesday.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a veteran of presidential debate prep, will play Obama in Romney's debate prep.

Top Romney surrogate John Sununu pushes for comprehensive immigration reform.

Obama's campaign is selling buttons featuring an image of his birth certificate for $5.

Ron Paul delegates say they will vote against newly proposed GOP rules that would have made it harder for Paul to amass delegates in this year's GOP primary.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a Mormon, says Romney doesn't need to talk about his Mormonism.

Elizabeth Warren (D) outraised Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) $3.7 million to $2.3 million in the first half of the third quarter.

Must-reads:

"Rob Portman Sees His Role in the Senate, Not Administration" -- Steven T. Dennis, Roll Call

"Outside funds keeps Mitt in the game" -- Robin Bravender and Dave Levinthal, Politico

"Todd Akin’s rape comments find sympathy among conservative women in his district" -- Stephanie McCrummen, Washington Post

"Romney Seen Pulled 2 Ways Over Economy" -- Binyamin Appelbaum, New York Times

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.
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Sean Sullivan | August 27, 2012