GOP convention live updates: Latinos take the stage, which party is “race baiting”?
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval will deliver a prime time convention speech.
TAMPA, Fla. — The Republican National Convention actually gets underway Tuesday after official events Monday were postponed because of Tropical Storm Isaac. Here’s what to look out for today. We’ll be updating as the day goes on.
11:15 p.m. — Ann Romney and Chris Christie speak
NBC News’ Michael O’Brien recaps the two biggest speeches of the night:
TAMPA, Fla. — The two highest-profile speakers Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention sought to paint Mitt Romney as sensitive and relatable, but also resolute and decisive in a way that President Barack Obama is not.
Ann Romney, the wife of the Republican nominee-in-waiting, made an unmasked pitch to women voters, a bloc her husband has struggled with in the polls.
Watch Tuesday night’s speeches here
And Chris Christie, the brash governor of New Jersey, used his keynote event to lionize Romney as a problem solver who would prioritize “respect over love” from voters.
The Atlantic’s Molly Ball deconstructs the purpose of Ann Romney’s address:
Ann Romney had an impossible task: She couldn’t, in a single speech, fix her husband’s personality deficits, much less his glaring deficit with the female vote. But she did, for the moment, brighten an otherwise a dour and out-of-sorts convention. And she may also have accomplished something that nobody anticipated: not just having people take a new look at her husband, but making them take a new look at her.
9:43 p.m. Republicans emphasize diverse faces on convention’s opening night
TAMPA, Fla. — Republicans sought to strike an inclusive image in making their case against President Obama here Tuesday night.
A diverse lineup of Republicans, including three Latino officials spoke during prime time. They spoke about their family’s tough immigrant roots and accused Obama of imposing policies that hurt the economy and drove up debt while running a divisive campaign.
“We can continue down the road of the Obama and Democrats, towards more and more spending, debt and government control of the economy and our lives. Or we can return to the founding principles of our nation-free markets, fiscal responsibility, and individual liberty,” Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz said.
“Unfortunately, President Obama’s campaign is going to try to divide America. They’re going to try to separate us into little groups, and try to scare everybody. They’re going to tell seniors that Medicare will be taken away, tell Hispanics that we’re not welcome here and send the Vice President to preach a message of division,” he added.
The lineup was meant to stress the nation’s economic woes and how they’re hurting communities, like Latinos, who have generally not been receptive to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign.
Mia Love, the daughter of Haitian immigrants who is running for Congress in Utah, also took the stage earlier Tuesday night as did former Rep. Artur Davis, an African-American an ex-Democrat who recently switched parties and endorsed Romney. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, whose parents are Indian immigrants, also spoke. Cruz was accompanied by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Lucé Vela Fortuño, the wife of Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño.
“They tell us not to dream but to settle,” said Sandoval.
Cruz even broke out some Spanish when talking about his father, who immigrated from Cuba to the U.S. in the 1950s.
“My father is here tonight. When he came to America, él no tenía nada, pero tenía corazón,” he said. “He had nothing, but he had heart. A heart for freedom. Thank you, Dad.”
While most officials spoke about their personal experiences growing up in immigrant families, others said that Obama was ruining that experience.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, the son of an Italian immigrant, said that the president and Democrats simply envision immigrants as beneficiaries of entitlement programs, and that they are making it difficult for them to pursue the American dream. He referenced his father’s experience in the 1920s.
“In 1923, there were no government benefits for immigrants except one: freedom,” he said.
And Haley criticized Obama for suing South Carolina for passing an Arizona-style immigration law she called “innovative” and praised her state’s new voter ID law.
- Jordan Fabian
Univision’s Leon Krauze and Mariana Atencio appear on ABC News’ digital broadcast from Republican National Convention
Krauze appears at 8:15 p.m. Eastern, Atencio appears at 9:30 p.m.
6:56 p.m. —Ann Romney: “This man will not fail”
Mitt Romney’s wife Ann’s speech is designed to humanize the Republican candidate, who’s often knocked for being stiff.
Here are excerpts from her speech, which will take place in the 10 p.m. hour.
…Tonight I want to talk to you from my heart about our hearts.
I want to talk not about what divides us, but what holds us together as an American family. I want to talk to you tonight about that one great thing that unites us, that one thing that brings us our greatest joy when times are good, and the deepest solace in our dark hours.
Tonight I want to talk to you about love.
Mitt’s dad never graduated from college. Instead, he became a carpenter.
He worked hard, and he became the head of a car company, and then the governor of Michigan.
When Mitt and I met and fell in love, we were determined not to let anything stand in the way of our life together.
I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a “storybook marriage.” Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called MS or Breast Cancer.
A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage.
At every turn in his life, this man I met at a high school dance, has helped lift up others. He did it with the Olympics, when many wanted to give up.
This is the man America needs.
This is the man who will wake up every day with the determination to solve the problems that others say can’t be solved, to fix what others say is beyond repair. This is the man who will work harder than anyone so that we can work a little less hard.
I can’t tell you what will happen over the next four years. But I can only stand here tonight, as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an American, and make you this solemn commitment:
This man will not fail.
This man will not let us down.
This man will lift up America!
5:40 p.m. Republicans officially nominate Romney for president.
New Jersey’s 50 delegates put him over the top:
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Republicans nominate Mitt Romney for president. // For history: 21:40:29 #2012— Phil Elliott (@Philip_Elliott) August 28, 2012
Here’s what the floor looked like when Mitt finally won it:
Romney won 2,061 delegates. Ron Paul won 190.
Romney will formally accept the nomination on Thursday, when he will be able to spend millions of fundraising dollars reserved for the general election. Romney’s campaign said it will spend a good chunk of that money on television advertisements aimed at Latino voters.
- Jordan Fabian
5:30 p.m. Republicans approve party platform
Republicans (finally) released their official platform Tuesday night. Draft copies have been floating around for weeks, but here is the final version.
Read the much-talked about immigration language here. Key points:
- Opposition to “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants.
- Mandates that employers use E-Verify to check immigration status of employees.
- Calls for a national-guest worker program.
- Endorses Arizona style-immigration laws and criticizes Obama administration for suing states that adopt them. “State efforts to reduce illegal immigration must be encouraged, not attacked.”
- Calls for the completion of a double-layered fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.
- Deny federal funds to “sanctuary cities” that shelter undocumented immigrants from enforcement authorities and universities that provide in-state tuition to the undocumented.
- Help undocumented military veterans achieve citizenship (“How” is unspecified).
- English as the U.S.’s official language.
- Jordan Fabian
5:02 p.m. Roll call of the states to officially nominate Romney
The roll call of states has begun on the convention floor. A delegate from each U.S. state and territory will give a short speech to nominate Mitt Romney for president. Once Romney accumulates a majority of the delegates, he will officially be the Republican’s presidential nominee.
Some of the GOP speakers were well-known immigration hard-liners: Arizona’s Jan Brewer and California’s Pete Wilson:
- Jordan Fabian
Jeb Bush: The key to Republican success with Latinos is to “stop acting stupid”
TAMPA, Fla. (3:06 PM) — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush got candid Tuesday when talking about the Republican Party’s struggles appealing to Latinos.
“That is doable,” Bush said at a luncheon sponsored by the conservative Hispanic Leadership Network. “If we just stop acting stupid and focus on our shared vision for this country …”
At this point, Bush is well-known for his not-so-subtle criticism of his party’s Hispanic outreach efforts. But his bluntness was well-received by Latino Republicans gathered here, who gave the ex-governor a standing ovation after his remark.
Republicans are scrambling to re-boot their efforts to appeal to Latinos, the fastest-growing voting demographic, ahead of the November election. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who will accept his party’s nomination Thursday, trails President Obama by around 40 percentage points, a result that could severely limit his path to victory.
Bush is revered in Latino Republican circles and he remains popular among Latino voters of all stripes in the Sunshine State. He’s a fluent Spanish speaker and is married to a Mexican-born woman he met as an exchange student. He joked Tuesday that, “If Bill Clinton is the first black president, then I’m the first Cuban — or Latino governor of the state of Florida.” (The first Latino governor of Florida was actually Bob Martinez).
“He’s willing to invest political capital in getting some in our ranks upset in getting us in the right direction. It takes a lot of courage,” American Conservative Union President Al Cardenas said of Bush’s speech. “It’s not easy to swim agains the tide, but I believe he is doing the right thing.”
The former governor has repeatedly urged Republicans to adopt a more welcoming tone when speaking to Latino voters, especially on the issue of immigration. But other high-profile Latino officials speaking at the event said that outreach goes beyond just the right rhetoric.
“The problem is that Republicans, we have to make sure we visit Hispanics during election time and make them part of the process. And we have to make sure they’re wanted,” said New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. “It’s important that we go to every corner of your state … A lot of times, Republicans consider part of their state and say, ‘oh I’ll never win that so I won’t go there.”
Bush added after his remark, “this will sound more mainstream in a while, I promise you. Right now it may seem a little odd, but i promise you that this where the conservative cause is going, and thank God it is.”
Concern is growing among Republicans about their poor standing among Latinos in large part because their proportion of U.S. voters is rapidly growing while the share of the electorate that is non-Latino white is shrinking.
“Can you imagine Texas being a blue state in a decade? What does that do for our electoral map?,” Bush’s son, Jeb, Jr. said.
Stay tuned for an exclusive interview with Jorge Ramos and Jeb Bush later on…
- Jordan Fabian
2:00 p.m. Live Stream of Republican Convention starts
1:50pm Seating chart
This just in: Seating chart of the delegates for the RNC, with locations for each delegation. (Click on image to see it bigger)
1:40pm Approximate schedule for Tuesday
Check out GOP Convention 2012 YouTube page for live streams through the day
2pm - Session begins
2:45pm - Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn remarks
5:05pm - Nominating speech by Governor Sununu at approx. 5:05pm
5:15pm - Roll call of states starts
6:30pm - 30-minute recess scheduled
9:10pm - Rick Santorum speech
9:45pm - Governor Nikki Haley speech
10pm - Ann Romney speech is expected
10:30pm - Chris Christie speech is expected
The two most highly-anticipated speeches tonight will come from Ann Romney and the keynote speaker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Both will address delegates and a national TV audience during the 10 pm hour. But we will have our eyes on the three Latino officials expected to address the convention tonight. Texas Senate nominee Ted Cruz and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval will speak during the 9 pm. hour and Lucé Vela Fortuño, the wife of Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño, will speak in the 10 pm hour. These three speeches will likely provide the first glimpse into Mitt Romney’s retooled pitch to Latino voters. It’s also one of the biggest political moments in the careers of Cruz and Sandoval, who are relatively new to national politics.
But will Latino Republicans be able to break through to voters in battleground states? That’s a key story line to watch between now and Election Day.
The party will also conduct its official roll call of delegates to formally nominate Mitt Romney for president.
Here’s what else power-brokers are talking about in Tampa today:
Villaraigosa says Romney “trotting out people with Spanish surnames”
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the chairman of the Democratic National Convention, is in Tampa and suggested Tuesday that the Romney campaign strategy of using Latino surrogates to woo voters won’t work. BuzzFeed reports:
“They can trot out people with a Spanish surname, but people are going to vote…about what they say, what they’ve done, and what they’re gonna do,” Villaraigosa told reporters just blocks from the Republican National Convention. I don’t think it’s going to do much for him.”
“What country in the world has ever deported 11 million people,” Villaraigosa asked, attacking the plausibility of Romney’s immigration plan. “Those 11 million people have 5 million citizen children, they also have 1.5 million or so dreamers…They are losing the demographic, not because of anything except for their policies.”
“I think we’re going to get close to 70 percent of the Latino vote,” he predicted — beating Obama’s 67-percent share of the vote in 2008.
Brewer accuses Obama of “race baiting on immigration”
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed her state’s controversial SB 1070 immigration law, says it’s President Obama and Democrats who are using the immigration issue to pander to Latinos. Politico reports:
“It’s all the time, that we’re race-baiting; it’s all the time, you know, that we’re bigots,” Brewer said on POLITICO LIVE on Monday.
Asked directly if she thought the president was race-baiting, Brewer said: “Absolutely, I do. There’s no doubt in my mind.”
Brewer and the president have a testy relationship. The Justice Department sued Arizona over implementation of the state’s strict anti-immigration law, parts of which were eventually ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. In January, they had a testy exchange on the tarmac in Arizona.
”He panders to them,” Brewer said, referring to Hispanic voters. “Look what he’s done: He hasn’t secured my borders.”
Watch her interview here.
Gary Johnson: GOP immigration platform “borders on racist”
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has taken aim at both Republicans and Democrats on immigration. At the RNC, he’s focusing his ire on the immigration language in the GOP’s party platform. He talked to Salon.com:
So, speaking of demographics, I’m not actually sure what the exact language on immigration is in the platform, but –
It’s anti-immigration. It borders on racist.
Which is especially insane to me because the GOP spent years trying genuinely hard to reach out to Hispanics. And then they just sort of let the Nativists take over.
I mean, this is something that I witnessed out on the campaign trail for three years, which is that there is a total disconnect between the rhetoric regarding immigration and the reality. And I’m speaking as a border state.
The elites have to recognize that there’s a problem there, but do you think they’re…
Pandering. They’re pandering to a very small group that is just flaming unfounded fears.