Romney ready to claim GOP prize; wife Ann to argue case for Mitt's economic credentials
The high campaign season opens with Romney and Obama about even in the last of the pre-convention polls, with each candidate possessing distinct and important advantages. The Democrat is the more likable or empathetic leader; the Republican is more highly regarded as the candidate who can restore the economy, the top issue for voters.
Ann Romney's convention speech was designed to speak to that divide. It was an important part of the GOP's effort to flesh out her husband and present him to the nation as more than a successful businessman and the former Republican governor of a Democratic state, Massachusetts.
She went about the business of humanizing the Romney family with a taped appearance on "CBS This Morning" in which she talked about the pain of a miscarriage, telling details about the experience that were news even to her husband. The Romneys have five sons.
Isaac, which reached hurricane strength Tuesday, skirted Tampa, a big relief for convention organizers worried about the safety of the host city and GOP delegates. But they remain saddled with the question of how to proceed with a political festival — one devoted both to scoring points against Obama and firing up excitement for Romney — under the shadow of a dangerous storm crawling toward the Gulf Coast.
Tampa awoke to sunny skies Tuesday while convention planners monitored weather reports for the storm's impact on the Gulf Coast some seven years since Hurricane Katrina devastated the region.
In a reminder of both the storm and the presidency, Obama warned residents of the Gulf Coast to heed warnings from local officials.
Republicans plainly had more at stake in their convention week — Democrats meet next week in Charlotte, N.C. — but the Obama campaign also had to recalibrate its tactics as Gulf residents fled their homes or hunkered down. Vice President Joe Biden was called off a Romney-bashing trip to Florida.
That's not to say partisanship has subsided with Isaac's gathering strength. Hardly.
Obama headed to Iowa as the first stop on a campaign trip in which he will make a personal appeal to college voters in three university towns: Ames, Iowa; Fort Collins, Colo.; and Charlottesville, Va.
Awaiting the president in Iowa: An article in the Des Moines Register in which 1996 Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole called Romney and Ryan a "dream ticket."
The two "have a program to turn the economy around that is the most thoughtful and comprehensive I have seen in my lifetime, and I have seen a lot," wrote the 89-year-old Dole.
Los Angeles Major Antonio Villaraigosa, part of the Democratic opposition team in Tampa, said Republican efforts to use Latino speakers at the convention to win over Hispanic voters won't work.
"You can't just trot out a brown face or a Spanish surname and expect people are going to vote for your party or your candidate," he said. " Window dressing doesn't do much for a candidate. It's your policies, your platform."
Polls show Romney trailing badly among Hispanic voters. A Gallup poll taken between July 30 and Aug. 1 found Obama winning 60 percent support among Hispanic voters, and the Republican at 27 percent, little different from 64-29 earlier in the year.
Woodward reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Brian Bakst, Thomas Beaumont, Tamara Lush, Brendan Farrington and Julie Mazziotta in Florida; Steve Peoples in New Hampshire; Philip Elliott in Wisconsin and Steven Ohlemacher, Alicia A. Caldwell and Jennifer Agiesta in Washington contributed to this report.
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