CNN's GUT CHECK | for August 28, 2012 | 4 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: SATISFIED WITH MITT… As Mitt Romney prepares to be nominated during tonight’s proceeding at the Republican National Convention, a new CNN/ORC poll finds that roughly seven in ten Republicans are happy with Mitt Romney as their nominee. Historically, that figure is not bad. In mid-August, 2008, more than four in ten Republicans said they would prefer someone other than John McCain as the Republican nominee.
President Barack Obama is on surer footing, however, with 17% of Democrats indicating that they would prefer someone other than the president to win their party’s nomination.
DEVELOPING: READY TO NOMINATE, WITH ONE EYE ON ISAAC... Mitt Romney arrived Tuesday at the condensed Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, as organizers kept a nervous eye on Hurricane Isaac churning toward Louisiana's coast. Among the planned events later Tuesday are the roll calls of the delegates that will show that Romney has locked up the necessary support for the party's nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in November. – Tom Cohen
Sixteen convention keynote speakers – both Democrats and Republicans – have gone on to run for president. Only two have won their party’s nomination. Who was the one Republican?
Hurricane Isaac will be hitting New Orleans tonight as Ann Romney and Chris Christie take the stage here in Tampa, putting Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in a politically precarious position.
How does the campaign maximize two of the candidate’s strongest surrogates without appearing callous as Louisianans feel the wrath of this slow moving massive storm? Romney campaign officials told us that, if there is a need to do so, they are prepared to turn to the large GOP donor base that is here in Tampa to help raise money for relief efforts. And the campaign will also use its web site to help rally support for victims of the storm.
Right now, there are no plans to change the Republican National Convention's programming schedule, but the Romney campaign is watching the weather.
In a matter of hours, Romney will “go over the top” and secure the Republican presidential nomination, which will become official when he formally accepts it on Thursday evening. Accepting the nomination is the steak of the convention – the speeches are the sizzle. Tonight, as we watch these speeches, we will be looking for the “sugar and spice” – another food metaphor used by a Romney adviser a few short hours ago to describe the speeches by Ann Romney and Christie.
The Romney adviser told us, in a genuine tone, that Ann Romney’s speech is “about love,” while another top aide said her speech was “beautiful” and would even make us cry.
It will be “an opportunity for Ann to be introduced to the entire general election electorate” as voters now start to pay attention, the top aide said of the speech. It will focus on “Mitt as a husband, father and grandfather … the words are from the heart.” There is your sugar.
And now for the spice. Christie’s remarks are expected to be “bold and big” said the Romney adviser, who added that in his speech Christie “discusses the improbability of Chris Christie being here … delivering the keynote speech.” He will address his trademark style of being straightforward and blunt – a trait he inherited from his mother. And Christie will discuss “some of the challenges he faced in New Jersey and some of the challenges we face in America.”
We suspect the guidance provided by the Romney adviser probably doesn’t do it complete justice – you have to watch a Christie speech to get the full effect.
We will be watching the convention, United States democracy in action, and the storm as we pray for those in its path.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: John King: Convention goal is changing voters' view of Romney
Romney's convention challenges are many, beginning with what his top advisers unanimously say is their overriding goal: improve his "image" scores - meaning how voters view him on questions of likability, empathy, and understanding the struggles of the middle class. – John King
Leading Drudge: Who Is GOP's Mystery Speaker?
Republican convention planners appear to have a surprise planned for those tuning in Thursday night. Buried deep in the convention schedule released Monday is a vague reference to a mystery speaker scheduled for the event’s final evening. “To Be Announced” has a prime speaking slot late in the Thursday program. – Colleen McCain Nelson
Leading HuffPo: Mitt Romney Marijuana Views Echo Long Progressive History Of U.S. Drug War
Campaigning in New Hampshire during the GOP primary, Mitt Romney was asked on several occasions whether he supported medical marijuana. He became visibly frustrated. "I have the same position this week I had last week when you asked the question," he said, before arguing fairly loosely that medical marijuana should be banned because it might lead to broader marijuana legalization, which might in turn lead pot smokers to try hard drugs. – Ryan Grim
Leading Politico: Who’s on the inside track for a Romney Cabinet
Mitt Romney said his Cabinet and White House staff will be stacked with men and women from the business world, but his top advisers sketched out for POLITICO a team composed of many familiar faces in Washington. Already on the inside track: several veterans of George W. Bush’s administration and a number of women — but not necessarily a single Democrat. – Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei
Leading Time Magazine: The Ascent of Ann Romney
… No matter what political ad makers might want us to believe, no one can be summed up in a single image or cartoon. This slice of New England’s upper crust is two generations removed from the grim life of a Welsh coal miner. Seemingly so Establishment, she in fact has a countercultural streak: in the era of free love and changing mores, she defied her parents by joining the conservative Mormon Church and getting married at 19. – David Von Drehle
The political bites of the day
– Obama on Hurricane Isaac: ‘Now's not the time to tempt fate’ –
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IN A STATEMENT AT THE WHITE HOUSE: “I want to encourage all residents of the Gulf Coast to listen to your local officials and follow their directions including if they tell you to evacuate. We're dealing with a big storm and there could be significant flooding and other damage across a large area. Now's not the time to tempt fate. Now's not the time to dismiss officials warnings. You need to take this seriously.”
– Mitt has opinions on what Ann wears tonight –
ANN ROMNEY AT A PRESS AVAILABILITY IN TAMPA: “Well, frankly, I didn't realize that Stuart (Stevens, Romney senior adviser) had to weigh in on this - or my husband. It was going to be like my wedding night; I wasn't going to let him know what I was going to wear. But now they have opinions.”
– Boehner says both parties have gender issues –
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S DANA BASH: “The Democratic Party has a problem with men. If you look at this, we've had this gender gap, Democrats have had with men, Republicans with women, over the last 20 years. And it’s something I think both parties have to pay attention to, and clearly we do as well.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Manu Raju (@mkraju)
Rand Paul supporters chanting "Seat him now," Romney supporters shouting back, "Romney, Romney."
Jeb Bush (@JebBush)
Normally at the RNC with my dad & brother. Thrilled to be here this year with my sons @JebBushJr and @GeorgePBush.
McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins)
No Faith In Politics On The Greyhound To Tampa http://www.buzzfeed.com/johnstanton/no-faith-in-politics-on-greyhound-to-tampa Great dispatch from @dcbigjohn
Maeve Reston (@MaeveReston)
Romney was spotted laughing about The New Republic cover. Cover Model: Chief Strategist & "Bon Vivant" Stuart Stevens pic.twitter.com/fumbKKFV
Ali Weinberg (@AliNBCNews)
W/ Obama's 3-state college tour, he'll have visited schools in 5 of @NBCFirstRead's 9 tossup states in Aug alone (FL, OH, IA, CO, VA)
Allison Brennan (@Alli_Brennan)
Cardinal Dolan to pray at DNC “coming solely as a pastor, only to pray, not to endorse.” http://t.co/VXUEEQEV Via @EricCNNBelief
Ed Hornick (@edhornick)
Swag being handed out by the Obama campaign here #rncconfidential http://pic.twitter.com/CbRGxEg0
In 1916, U.S. Sen. Warren G. Harding of Ohio was tapped to deliver the keynote at the Republican National Convention because of his popularity within Congress’ upper chamber.
“We must have a citizenship less concerned about what the government can do for it ... and more concerned about what it can do for the nation,” said Harding. (Harding's line foreshadowed the similar one delivered by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.)
Harding - who that night helped nominate Supreme Court Justice Charles Evan Hughes for president - would go on to be the Republican nominee for president himself in 1920 and win the election. This win makes Harding the only Republican keynote convention speaker to win the party’s nomination at a later date.
Don’t tell that to Chris Christie, who will deliver the Republican keynote Tuesday night and has long been considered among the GOP heavyweights for 2016 and beyond.
Interestingly enough, only one Democrat has gone from the keynote address to the party’s presidential nomination. His name: Barack Obama.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congrats to Peter Ubertaccio, the chairman of the Department of Political Science and International Studies at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, who e-mailed in his correct answer to Gut Check’s Trivia Question. Ubertaccio correctly answered that Warren G. Harding was the Republican who gave a keynote address and went on to secure his party’s nomination. Ubertaccio also got bonus points when he wrote that Obama was the Democrat.
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