Republican National Convention


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:

There's still one full day of events left in the Republican National Convention, but it's not too early to begin assessing how the region fared. And, Tampa was not as welcoming as it could have been in the eyes of a fourth-generation resident.

“It has been a whirlwind. Fences went up very quickly, barriers went up very quickly” Tampa City Councilwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin said. “Within I would say 24 to 48 hours, this city completely changed in my eyes.”

What Do Protesters Do After Dark?

Aug 30, 2012
Eric Mennel / WUSF News

After a long day of marching and chanting, most protesters in the tent camp known as Romneyville are trying to get some sleep.

"We have the constant helicopter overhead to give us the soothing white noise to sleep to," said one activist who asked not to be named.

He had just climbed down from the billboard behind the camp, where he hung a banner to overlook the nearby interstate entrance. The banner is a white bed sheet with water bottles tied to the bottom to weigh it down.

It read "GOP 1% GO HOME."

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

The color at Tampa's Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park Wednesday was less Republican red and more Planned Parenthood pink. A crowd of about 250, made up of  both women and a surprising number of men, donned pink t-shirts and carried signs blasting Republican nominee Mitt Romney and the GOP's desire to cut federal funding for the provider of women's health care services.

If you missed some of Wednesday's action at the Republican National Convention, when Rep. Paul Ryan accepted his party's vice presidential nomination, we were live blogging here and you can always read through it to see how the day and evening went.

But if you'd like to save some time, here are five things that struck us:

With a jutting chin and growing fearlessness, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan delivered a GOP convention takedown of President Obama Wednesday night, catapulting an already ugly campaign to a whole new level.

At times pugnacious, at times seemingly emotional (he wiped away tears when talking about his mother), Ryan, 42, a Wisconsin congressman, used his well-crafted speech to characterize the nation's president and his bright promise as old, played out.

In Tampa, "Republican Party" can take on a whole new meaning as it gets later in the convention day. That's when delegates, lobbyists, business executives and others begin to mingle, filling up the city's nightspots.

NPR producer Brakkton Booker and I began Tuesday night with a trip to 7th Street in Ybor City, the Tampa neighborhood made famous for its cigar factories of the past. Now it's a mix of restaurants, bars and trendy shops similar to New Orleans' Bourbon Street.

Watch: Labor Protesters Hold "Welcome to Romney's America" at GOP Convention

Aug 29, 2012
Steve Newborn / WUSF

The West Central Florida Federation of Labor AFL-CIO Central Labor Council held their "Welcome to Romney's America," a rally of what life under a Romney/Ryan administration would look like.  The event featured street theater, performed along the official RNC parade route.  About 150 people - including postal workers, school employees and public officials - paraded through the downtown streets to petition for worker's rights.

Most Floridians are used to the heat and humidity. But this week, about 50,000 extra people are in Tampa, and some of them aren't used to the climate.

Blogger Brian Crowley overheard a comment in the downtown Tampa Hyatt, where the Wisconsin delegation is staying.

"Now I believe there is a Republican war on women. Look what this place does to my hair."

He continues to write that 'Tampa has turned into an armed camp' quoting from a tweet:

Joe Raedle / Getty Images News

Florida’s economy presents a challenge to the two presidential candidates.

The state’s unemployment rate has fallen over the past year. And home prices in Tampa and Miami markets are starting to rebound.

President Obama is trying to argue that’s a good reason for his reelection.

Republican nominee Mitt Romney wants voters to think things would have been better if not for Obama.

When we arrived in Tampa for the Republican convention, much of the buzz centered on vice presidential pick, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

It's become a perennial problem for Republicans, but not one that the party yet knows how to solve.

Thanks to's Guy Benson, one of the hotter stories of the morning here in Tampa seems to be that actor/director/American icon Clint Eastwood is reportedly coming to the Republican National Convention and may be the "to be announced" speaker on Thursday night's schedule.

There's a lot of glory in switching parties, but often not much future.

Both major parties are giving prominent speaking roles to political apostates at their conventions. On Tuesday, Artur Davis — a former Democrat and a former congressman from Alabama — condemned President Obama during a speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

Dalia Colon / WUSF

On Wednesday's show, calls and Facebook comments poured in for our guests:


It was an ugly incident, dealt with promptly and appropriately, Republican National Convention organizers say.

According to CNN, two convention-goers were tossed from the event Tuesday afternoon after they threw peanuts at a black camera operator from CNN, telling her, "This is how we feed animals.''

John O'Connor / WUSF

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is the highest-profile Florida speaker at tonight's Republican National Convention session.

She told the Miami Herald that speech will be a back-and-forth with Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens sometime between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.

"We're hoping to be very entertaining," Bondi said. From the story:

It's What's For Dinner - or Lunch

Aug 29, 2012

Wet and rainy one day. Sunny and balmy  the next. Usually hot and always humid.

Welcome to Florida, RNC visitors!

Now that the threat of Tropical Storm Isaac is over for us and the Republican National Convention is underway, we can get back to helping you discover more about the Tampa Bay area other than its unpredictable weather.