Republican National Convention

Steve Newborn / WUSF

I was in search of a good protester or two - which, after the first two days of the Republican National Convention, became rather hard to find in downtown Tampa. So I went to Cafe Hey, a coffee shop in the shadow of Interstate 275 that had become a de-facto hangout for the radical set. There, I came across Heather Merlis and Justin West, who was strumming a guitar on the sidewalk outside the cafe.

In Defense Of Tampa

Aug 31, 2012

It's been a rough week for my adopted hometown.

First, it looked like our worst nightmare would come true: a direct hit from Hurricane Isaac with tens of thousands of visitors in town for the Republican National Convention.

We were spared the worst of Isaac — but then came a raft of snarky stories about Tampa.

Among the things the Republican Party's presidential candidate is hearing this morning about the address he gave Thursday night is that "in a speech heavy on anecdotal history but short on policy details, Mitt Romney avoided major falsehoods."

RNC: Protesters Gather For Final Demonstration

Aug 31, 2012

They were dressed in masks. Some wore black bandannas over their faces. They were shirtless, beating drums, and one guy wore a boot on his head.

"Wake up, wake up! We want freedom, freedom!" They shouted.  

More than 100 protesters marched to Gaslight Park joined by Mitt Romney's effigy. Dozens of officers watched from the sidelines-- some on bikes and others on horseback. 

Steve Newborn / WUSF

After the Occupy Wall Street People and the anarchists seemingly fled downtown Tampa after several days of protests, the working class came out Wednesday outside the gates of the Republican National Convention. About 150 people - including postal workers, school employees and public officials - paraded through the downtown streets to petition for worker's rights.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

No arrests were made, although operations at TECO's Big Bend Power Plant in Apollo Beach were interrupted for a few hours Thursday due to a Republican National Convention-related protest. Five protesters chained themselves together in the middle of a road at the plant, while a sixth chained himself to a truck.

Transcript of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's speech as prepared for delivery at the Republican National Convention:

In 1980, I watched my first Republican convention with my grandfather.

Jeb Bush acknowledged that he had something he wanted to get off his chest, and he did.

Appearing Thursday at a Republican convention that has barely mentioned his brother — two-term President George W. Bush — Jeb Bush took a point of personal prerogative (he is, after all, also the son of a former president), to honor his brother and scold the man who followed him into the Oval Office.

Transcript of actor and director Clint Eastwood's remarks Thursday at the Republican National Convention, as delivered:

Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Save a little for Mitt.

It's been the political world's obsession for weeks leading into the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Would nominee Mitt Romney manage what would be miraculous for any candidate, and in a handful of days and one big speech wash away the problems of a modern candidacy?

Turns out Romney's moment Thursday night was a fine one, if not a great one.

His speech continued the campaign's concerted effort to reach out to skeptical female voters, reminding the audience that his strong mother ran for Senate.

Watch: Environmental Protest at Big Bend

Aug 30, 2012
Alex Cook

Protesters in town for the RNC took a bus ride down to Apollo Beach on Thursday to support an environmental protest at TECO Energy's Big Bend power station.  

Environmental activist group Earth First! had chained themselves together in the road leading up to the plant, and police worked to free them from their constraints.  No arrests were made, and the protesters left peacefully.

Earth First! spokesperson Leah Rothschild said they chose the Big Bend station for their action because it's Florida's dirtiest power plant and TECO helped fund the RNC.

Call it a cleansing.

Call it a crackdown - an effort to root out fraud.

Just don't call the removal of suspected ineligible voters from the state's voter rolls a purge. Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry doesn't like that word.

"Noncitizens should not be voting,'' said Curry. "Everyone agrees on that point.''

The problem with the state's effort to remove ineligible voters before the November election is that it is error prone.

Mitt on Medicare

Aug 30, 2012

Some Tampa Bay area voters received a flier in the mail today from Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan titled, "A Plan to Save and Strengthen Medicare and Social Security.''

The delivery coincides with the final session of the Republican National Convention, and the night Romney and his platform take center stage.

Inside the smooth pamphlet are harsh criticisms of President Obama.

"Barack Obama. The only president in history to raid Medicare of $716 billion.''

Largely overlooked amid the convention floor fight over Ron Paul's delegates and the delegate selection process was another rule approved at the same time: It would harshly punish any large state that jumps the line on the primary schedule in 2016.

Looking at you, Florida.

This year, just as they did in 2008, Florida Republicans moved their presidential primary to late January in violation of the party rules. That triggered a calendar shift by the official early states — Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — all of which scrambled to move their own elections earlier.

Mitt Romney accepted the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nomination tonight and told the nation that if he's elected he will end the four years of "disappointment and division" brought upon America by President Obama.

"I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed," Romney said. "But his promises gave way to disappointment and division. This isn't something we have to accept. Now is the moment when we can do something. With your help we will do something."

Mitt Romney will tell Americans tonight that he understands why they voted for "hope and change" four years ago, but that President Obama has not delivered and that "my country deserves better."

"I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed," he will say after accepting the Republican Party's presidential nomination, according to excerpts of his address released by the candidate's campaign.

Google Lounge: A Haven for Journalists

Aug 30, 2012

Just a few steps away from the security perimeter outside the Tampa Convention Center is a reporter's oasis.

It’s the Google Lounge—and it’s swanky.

On the last day of the convention, journalists filled the lounge, taking advantage of all it has to offer. It sounded like a school cafeteria with laughter piercing through the din of journalistic chatter.


Tired of hearing and seeing "We Built It,'' yet?

"If it were a drinking game, we'd all be sloshed by now,'' joked Melinda Henneberger of the Washington Post in a recent interview on the subject with political consultant Frank Luntz.

Luntz, a Republican party strategist, warned that we'll hear more of this slogan tonight during the last session of the Republican National Convention.

RNC Mystery Speaker: Clint Eastwood

Aug 30, 2012

It's official, finally.

Actor and director Clint Eastwood is tonight's mystery speaker during the final session of the Republican National Convention, reports CNN.

A longtime Republican, Eastwood endorsed Gov. Mitt Romney earlier this month at a fundraiser in Idaho, "because I think the country needs a boost somewhere.''

Dalia Colon / WUSF

On Thursday's Florida Matters: The Convention, our phone lines lit up for Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. He chatted with host Carson Cooper about everything from the Republican National Convention's effect on local residents to the possible relocation of the Rays.

Other guests on Thursday's show included: