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Convention Watch: Looking back to Reagan, Bush

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Aug. 30 2012 7:48 p.m. MDT

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012.

David Goldman, Associated Press

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Convention Watch shows you the 2012 political conventions through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

BROTHERLY LOVE

Jeb Bush used his turn on the Republican's national stage to make a spirited, personal defense of his brother, George W. Bush, whose oft-criticized presidency has been barely mentioned at the party's convention.

"My brother, well, I love my brother. He is a man of integrity and courage and honor," Bush said before launching into his formal remarks, which focused on education policy.

Early in his brother's two-term tenure, America was shocked by the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Jeb Bush said: "During incredibly challenging times, he kept us safe."

Delegates responded with a standing ovation.

— Connie Cass —Twitter http://twitter.com/ConnieCass

THE WONDER YEAR?

While speaker after speaker at the Republican National Convention lambasted Barack Obama — and more than one mocked the final night of his 2008 convention in Denver — they appropriated one of the best-known songs of that Democratic night's musical star, Stevie Wonder.

The Obama campaign played the song, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours," frequently at the end of the candidate's rallies that year, and Wonder himself sang it on the final night of Obama's convention at Denver's Invesco Field.

Thursday night, playing Newt and Callista Gingrich offstage, the GOP convention's band swung into the song, the second time it was featured in the hall this week.

— Robert Furlow — Twitter http://twitter.com/furl442

FULL-THROATED DEFENSE

The last Republican president, George W. Bush, has been almost invisible at this convention — until Thursday night. Almost no previous speaker had mentioned the president who immediately preceded Barack Obama. Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan even took an oblique swipe at Bush, noting in his speech Wednesday night that the country's budget and debt problems had been caused not just by Obama, but by administrations before his.

That changed Thursday night, when the former president's brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush made an impromptu — and full throated — defense of his brother at the start of his speech to the delegates. Jeb Bush's speech was on education. But before he leapt in, Jeb Bush got the crowd roaring by telling the crowd of delegates "I love my brother." In a very troubled time for America, Jeb Bush said, "He kept us safe."

George W. Bush was just a few months into his presidency when terrorists flew airplanes into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon, killing thousands of Americans. In the aftermath of those Sept. 11 attacks, then-President Bush ordered American troops first into Afghanistan to attack al-Qaida and then later into Iraq to overthrow dictator Saddam Hussein.

— Sally Buzbee

SUNSHINE AT LAST

"It's finally the Sunshine State." — Florida Gov. Rick Scott, speaking on the floor of the Republican National Convention on Thursday night, referring to the blowing by of Tropical Storm Isaac earlier in the week.

— Carol Druga — Twitter http://twitter.com/Droogs66

QUICKQUOTE: JEB ON GEORGE

"Mr. President, it is time to stop blaming your predecessor for your failed economic policies. You were dealt a tough hand but your policies have not worked." — Former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush, after praising his brother, former President George W. Bush.

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