Election season in full swing
As the election season draws ever closer to its climax in November, Mitt Romney and his supporters gathered at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida last week to celebrate his official nomination as the Republican candidate for President. The week-long convention was held in the battleground state of Florida, whose electoral votes were awarded to President George W. Bush in a Supreme Court decision in 2000, and went to President Obama in 2008. According to Neilsen, an estimated 30.3 million viewers tuned in to watch Gov. Romney deliver his acceptance speech. Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech drew 21.9 million prime time viewers the previous night, and 22 million tuned in to watch New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s keynote address on Wednesday.
Other speakers included former Speaker of the House and primary season rival Newt Gingrich, and Mr. Romney’s wife Ann, who marshaled all of her warmth and charisma to paint Romney as a family man in hopes of increasing the candidate’s likeability rating.
In an effort to rally more Latino-Americans, prime speaking spots were given to party leaders, like Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Rubio, who many consider a rising star within the Republican party, introduced Gov. Romney by focusing on the Obama administration’s economic policies. “Our problem is not that he’s [Obama] a bad person, our problem is that he’s a bad President,” he said.
In a June 25 Gallup pole, 66 percent of registered Hispanic voters favored President Obama, while only 25 percent favored Gov. Romney.
Republicans took advantage of their large audience last week to try to narrow that gap and showcase diversity within its ranks.
The final night of the convention saw Mitt Romney give arguably the most important address of his political career thus far.
The former Governor of Massachusetts took every opportunity to portray himself as a sympathetic man, describing how he admired his father for laying a rose on the beside table for his mother everyday. Romney supplemented his family-values with poetry, declaring, “All the laws and legislation in the world will never heal this world like the loving hearts and arms of our mothers and fathers.”
Attacks by partisans on both sides, however, played a feature role during the convention. In an unprecedented move, the Obama campaign dispatched Vice President Joe Biden to stump in Florida as Republicans gathered there to challenge Mr. Obama’s bid for re-election in force.
Even as Paul Ryan railed against “hidden taxes” used to pay for what he called a “health care takeover,” Vice President Biden rallied Democratic suppoters by assailing Mr. Ryan’s budget plan; “What’s so bold about gutting Medicare and education?” he asked.
President Obama himself was also on the campaign trail, though he kept out of Florida in favor of battlegrounds Colorado, Iowa, and Texas.
He even gave a 30 minute AMA (ask-me-anything) on Reddit, an online link sharing community with a large user base. In an email to CBS News, Reddit co-founder Alexis O’Hanian said, “Over 200,000 people on the site during the interview is a new high.” Reddit usually has around 100,000 visitors at a time.
Although Gov. Romney’s campaign went out of the way to showcase a more human candidate, a nearly twelve minute routine by Clint Eastwood ridiculed Mr. Obama who was represented on-stage as an empty chair. Social networking sites like Twitter and YouTube were set a blaze with montages of people or pets, gesturing at empty chairs. The overnight meme, was appropriately called, “Eastwooding."
President Obama will have a chance to answer Mr. Eastwood and Mr. Romney this week as Democrats gather in Charlotte for their national convention. Comedian Patton Oswalt tweeted a suggestion for the Democrats, “Obama must have Tommy Chong onstage at the D.N.C., talking to a steak.”