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Republican National Convention 2012 COVERAGE

The signs, speeches  and videos at the Republican presidential convention are laser focused on the economy. But the GOP still must acknowledge a platform that includes some core social issue planks, including a ban on abortion with no exceptions. It also has to make room for the social conservatives represented by speakers like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, who are key to the get-out-the-vote effort come November.

Former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery says she thinks the party can stay focused, despite some differences.

“There are many of us who are Republicans who don’t always agree with the platform. But we agree with the fundamental structure of this party, which is limited government, the ability to win the American Dream, social mobility, the individual responsibility. And that’s the structure we hang all the ornaments on.”

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In a quick press conference after her speech to the Ohio delegation at the Republican National Convention, Condoleezza Rice was blunt about her successor, Hillary Clinton (“great”) and U.S. foreign policy (too timid). She said she’s not interested in “boots on the ground” in Syria, but more needs to be done.

Rice also said she has no reservations about Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s lack of foreign policy experience, but a lot of concern about the national debt.

Where she tread more carefully is when she was asked how the Browns will do this year. She’s a huge Browns fan, and of the University of Alabama, whose alum was drafted by the Browns this year.

“I’m very excited about the prospects. I’m crossing my fingers for Trent Richardson to get out there because you know I’m a big Tide fan, too. So this is the perfect marriage for me, Trent Richardson and the Browns.”

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Two items got special prayers this morning at the Ohio delegation breakfast… that the levees in Louisiana hold, and that the shuttle bus schedule in Tampa gets straightened out.  A major snafu last night left delegates circling the convention center and walking blocks in one direction only to be sent back the other way.

Chairman Bill Bennett says all has been addressed, and his staff spent mostof  the night– and well into the moring — trying to ensure no repeat tonight.

Bennett also asked delegates to be polite about the snafu when Reince Priebus, the chairman of the national GOP, shows up to speak here this morning.

Also on the list of speakers this morning, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

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The U.S. Forest Service announced Monday that it will allow fracking in the Wayne National Forest in southeast Ohio. The announcement hit about the same time that Republicans in Tampa were blasting President Obama for not allow more of the shale drilling on public lands. They also were going over polls and strategies that suggest Mitt Romney could swing Ohio by backing more drilling. Kellyann Conway of Polling Group Inc. said Ohioans are three times more likely to vote for a politician who backs more drilling.

In  its announcement, the Forest Service says the Wayne forest’s management plan could adequately address any damage and risks from the drilling and there is no need for a new environmental study. Environmental groups say the plan never contemplated the fracking, and Athens County, Ohio University and the city of Athens oppose it.

Republicans, including Senate candidate Josh Mandel, have dismissed the critics as extremists.

 

 

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Sen. Rob Portman and the Ohio Republican Party hosted two receptions tonight, to which reporters were invited on one condition… that they not report anything they gathered there.

Portman, by the way, has once again been picked for a key bit of role-playing. He’s expected to be President Obama’s surrogate as Mitt Romney practices for the upcoming debates. He did the same thing in 2004 when he played Al Gore and he also was Obama four years ago for John McCain.

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Sen. Rob Portman recounted the impact of Neil Armstrong, the Ohioan who was the first man to step onto the moon, at this morning’s breakfast, and Armstrong is expected to be featured prominently when the Republican National Convention officially launces tomorrow.

Portman is the first of a lineup of speakers at the Ohio delegation breakfast. After talking of Armstrong as a modest man who inspried America, he praised Mitt Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan as his running mate and moved onto the need to get out the Republican vote in Ohio.

 

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This is supposed to be a slow day, with official convention business delayed for a day. But Hurricane Isaac has been just a glancing blow here, and the politicking hasn’t slowed for the Ohio delegation. Besides the usual breakfasts, the delegation has added a speech by Newt Gingrich at  12:45 today.

There are a few signs of the last GOP president here, as well. George W. Bush’s former press secretary, Ari Fleischer, is speaking this morning and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice is speaking Wednesday.

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Lots of love for the Ohio delegation from Mitt Romney…

The middle of  Mitt Romney’s five sons, Josh, is taking his younger brother’s place at the first of the Ohio delegation breakfasts this morning. He’ll be joined by Ari Fleischer, who was President George W. Bush’s press secretary and accompanied Romney on his trip to Israel last month.

Also speaking in a room set up for more than 300 will be Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who was considered a top candidate to be Romney’s running mate until he went with Paul Ryan.

And the other Republican candidates for president at also meeting with Ohio. Newt Gingrich will be speaking in an unusual afternoon session at 12:45, and Rick Santorum is the breakfast speaker tomorrow morning.

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Ohio continues to draw the name acts to its morning breakfasts during the Republican National Convention. Tomorrow morning’s lineup will include Mitt Romney’s youngest son, Craig; the press secretary to former President George W. Bush, Ari Fleisher; and Sen. Rob Portman — the man who has now twice made the short list of vice presidential candidates.

 

The convention is airing some of these session live. You can go to www.OhioGOP.org/Convention to take a look. the event beins at 9 a.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The latest on Hurricane Isaac, which delayed the Republican National Convention for a day, is that it’s heading west. That’s generally good news for Tampa and the RNC. But the irony is that forecasters now see Isaac heading toward New Orleans, and hitting land Wednesday, the seventh anniversary of Katrina.

Four years ago, Gustav hit Houston. And though the Republican convention was far to the north– St. Paul — the business of the convention was delayed for a day. Jo Ann Davidson, the Ohio Republican who co-chaired the convention then, along with now Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine helped steer the delegates toward collecting money and other help for Texans.

It’s expected that, if Isaac does major damage later this week to the Gulf Coast, Democrats gathering in Charlotte next week may spend some of the early hours of their convention in a relief effort as well.

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In case any of the media missed it, the press packets for those covering Ohio’s delegation to the GOP presidential convention included a Columbus Dispatch article touting the recovery of Ohio’s economy and crediting it to John Kasich. And in case they missed the latest poll by the Dispatch, Senate candidate John Mandel was happy to tell them — and the entire Ohio delegation —  about it.

As wind whipped through, but rain held off, Mandel addressed the opening brunch for the Ohio delegation with an introduction from national conservative standard-bearer Bill Kristol.

Mandel pointed to a poll showing he and incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown are in a dead heat. He also claimed Brown has outspent hims, roughly $15 million to $11 million.

That bottom line does not take into account the super PAC money that has gone into making Ohio’s Senate race one of the most expensive in the history of the United States. There, Mandel supporters have a decided edge — about 5-1.

 

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A barbershop quartet at the Tampa International Airport is greeting some of the 70,000 delegates, political officeholders, reporters, court reporters, lobbyists and others who are coming to Tampa — and hoping that Issac does not. Greeters welcome everyone warmly, but some get special treatment. Newt Gingrich got what might be described as rock start treatment when he came through.

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Seems like the early days of the Republican conventions are snakebite, or maybe it’s just the ones I cover. Four years ago, storms kept some southern gov’s and other headliners from coming, and delayed sessions. This year’s hurricane is having an even more direct impact. The conventions official business won’t start until Tuesday. Still, I’m in a full plane of reporters, consultants, producers and delagates heading out of Atlanta.

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Once again, swing state Ohio’s delegation  is getting VIP treatment at the Republican National Convention. That includes hotels, floor seating and time for Ohio’s top pols — Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Rob Portman — at the podium.

History says Republicans can’t win the White House without Ohio. And polls consistently show the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney is close here. (The latest Quinnipac Poll out today says the president has a 4 point lead among likely voters.)

Democrats have won the White House without Ohio — though infrequently. And President Obama’s frequent trips to the Buckeye state show his campaign, at least, thinks Ohio is  a “must get.”

WKSU is covering both conventions, the Republicans in Tampa and the Democrats in Charlotte. And much of that coverage will come from well away from the convention floor, during the delegate breakfasts and other less-formal get-togethers where the politics of the future are often mapped out.

 

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