Innovation wasn’t exactly front-and-center last night during Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s nomination acceptance speech — but it was there.
Our colleagues in politics, in collaboration with VoterTide, have put together a new feature called “Say What,” which surgically dissects Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s nomination acceptance speech into its individual parts, allowing you to watch quotes as you like and request fact checks on individual segments of the speech. The tool does the same for vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s speech. We highly encourage you to check it out, having used it to find these two quotes from the newly minted presidential candidate on innovation.
Romney’s first mention of innovation was during one of his criticisims of President Obama:
His trillion-dollar cuts to our military will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also put our security at greater risk; his $716 billion cut to Medicare to finance Obamacare will both hurt today's seniors, and depress innovation – and jobs – in medicine.
In this particular instance, The Washington Post’s FactChecker, Glenn Kessler, has found the claim — one often made by Republicans — to not be factually correct.
“In fact, the Obama health-care law also raised Medicare payroll taxes by $318 billion over the new 10-year time frame, further strengthening the program’s financial condition,” writes Kessler.
Later in the speech, in a comment less subject to factual innaccuracy, Romney refers to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country, saying his presidency will usher in a more united America:
That America, that united America, can unleash an economy that will put Americans back to work, that will once again lead the world with innovation and productivity, and that will restore every father and mother's confidence that their children's future is brighter even than the past.
Convention speeches are not known, generally, as a source of policy details. They are rallying cries and opportunities to assess the candidate’s style — they are not position papers. So, they are a fertile ground for use of buzzwords such as “innovation” (although it’s worth noting Ryan did not use the word in his speech).
An earlier speech, however, captured both Romney’s concept of a more united America and the current challenges facing the nation’s innovation economy without actually using the word. The speaker: former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.
During her speech before the Republican National Convention Wednesday, Rice said:
“More than at any other time in history, the ability to mobilize the creativity and ambition of human beings forms the foundation of greatness. We have always done that better than any country in the world. People have come here from all over because they believed in our creed — of opportunity and limitless horizons. They have come from the world’s most impoverished nations to make five dollars not fifty cents, and they have come from the world’s advanced societies — as engineers and scientists — to help fuel the knowledge-based revolution in the Silicon Valley of California; the research triangle of North Carolina; in Austin, Texas; along Route 128 in Massachusetts — and across our country. “
As has been mentioned here multiple times before, immigration reform and innovation are often seen as going hand-in-hand, particularly as it relates to America’s technology future. As a side note, “immigrants” was used just as often in Romney’s speech as “innovation.”
In the end, innovation wasn’t the word of the week at the RNC, and it most likely will not be at the DNC either, but it was there and, regardless of its buzzword status, in politics and policy it still matters.
Overall, what did you think of the Republican National Convention as it relates to innovation and the policies that stand to either accelerate or hinder it? Did anything stand out to you? Let us know in the comments.
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