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Conventional Wisdom: Florida GOP Dishes Up Victory Talk

| August 30, 2012

The view from PBS’s Newshour. (NewsHour)

Florida delegates to the Republican National Convention dined on French toast Thursday morning. But it might as well have been big slabs of red meat.

With the convention in its final day and the GOP trying to fire up the faithful for the November elections, delegates heard from a parade of national conservative figures that could make Fox News blush: Congressman Allen West, former United Nations ambassador John Bolton, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

The quartet touched on a variety of hot-button issues — foreign policy, energy and shrinking government, among others — but the speeches largely boiled down to the same idea. Elect Mitt Romney. Defeat President Obama.

Christie, who gave a keynote convention speech Tuesday night, said Republicans need to aggressively make the case for Romney, instead of simply arguing against Obama.

“Our problems are too big to be playing charades,” Christie said. “Our problems are too big to be sending smoke signals. Our problems are too big for the old political games of the past.”

West, whose provocative statements have drawn widespread attention since he got elected in 2010 in South Florida, also tried to drive home what he described as the “criticality” of the state in the presidential race.

“No one can win the presidency without the electoral votes, without this great state,” said West, who is being challenged by Democrat Patrick Murphy this fall in a district that includes parts of Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties.

Republican activists are clearly united in their desire to oust Obama, a point that has been made in gathering after gathering during the convention. But with Romney speaking to the convention Thursday night, perhaps a bigger question is how excited party loyalists are about his candidacy — and whether they will be able to convince crucial swing voters to back the former Massachusetts governor.

Later Thursday, Republican pollster Jim McLaughlin told delegates that his surveys of likely voters show Republicans are solidly behind Romney. But he also cautioned that a significant number of other Florida voters could still be persuaded to support either candidate.

“The map does not add up for us if we don’t win Florida (and) we don’t win Ohio,” McLaughlin said.

The Obama campaign contends that Republicans are using the Tampa convention to distort the president’s positions. It posted a note Thursday on its website from 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, who said this year’s election is different because “the other side doesn’t have to wait for an outside group to come along with false attacks.”

“If you tune into the convention, you’ll see that Mitt Romney and his allies have no qualms about misleading voters if it means defeating President Obama,” Kerry said in the statement, which was part of a fund-raising effort.

During the breakfast gathering, West, Bolton, Christie and Gingrich touched on several issues to try to argue that Romney should replace Obama.

Bolton said the country needs a president who is “proud of the United States of America, and you need a president who believes in American exceptionalism.” He also criticized Obama for his foreign policy dealing with countries such as Iran and Israel.

“You can bet the first thing he would like to do (if re-elected) is lift the embargo against Cuba,” said Bolton, who served as U.N. ambassador under former President George W. Bush.

Gingrich, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination this year, discussed energy issues. He also said Republicans can “win on the facts” of such issues this fall.

“We have a chance in November to win a crushing, decisive election,” Gingrich said.

–Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida

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1 Response for “Conventional Wisdom: Florida GOP Dishes Up Victory Talk”

  1. Dorothea says:

    Paul Ryan’s Lies

    Here is a list of five lies that Ryan told when he gave his speech at the Republican National Convention last night. Every single news outlet should report on these lies.

    1. Lie: President Obama is the “greatest threat” to Medicare.

    Truth: Obama didn’t make any cuts to Medicare benefits; he made cuts to provider reimbursements, to improve cost efficiency and extend the fiscal security of Medicare by eight years. According to the Medicare actuary, “[Obama’s] Affordable Care Act makes important changes to the Medicare program and substantially improves its financial outlook.”

    But Ryan actually does want to cut benefits. He proposed dismantling Medicare and replacing it with a voucher system, leaving millions of seniors to come up with more money to pay for care out of pocket.

    2. Lie: President Obama didn’t save a General Motors plant in Wisconsin.

    Truth: First, Obama wasn’t even in office when the GM plant closed. Second, Obama never made a promise to save it.

    3. Lie: President Obama ignored recommendations of a bipartisan debt commission.

    Truth: Paul Ryan actually sat on that commission. And he led Republicans in voting down the commission’s own recommendation. So the commission never gave a report to Obama, because Ryan himself voted to kill the report before it could.

    4. Lie: President Obama is responsible for the downgrading of the U.S. Credit Rating

    Truth: House Republicans, including Paul Ryan, held the full faith and credit of the United States hostage to try to ransom it for trillions of dollars in cuts to social programs without increasing taxes on the wealthy one dime. Standard & Poors said specifically, “We have changed our assumption on [revenue] because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues.” That’s why our nation’s credit rating was downgraded.

    5. Lie: Ryan wants to protect the “weak.”

    Truth: Ryan’s biggest feat in his political career was proposing a budget with dramatic cuts to programs benefiting the poor. He’d cut Medicaid by one third, take away health care insurance from 30 million Americans, and cut Pell Grants for 1 million students. All so that he could give more tax breaks to the rich.

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