Ronald Reagan is at the Republican National Convention once again — if merely in spirit.
As the final session began Thursday night, a nostalgic Reagan video backed by music and sentimental imagery summoned the way the conservatives have framed his legacy. "As we continue our journey we think of those who traveled before us," Reagan's voice said over clips of war veterans and families. In a montage of images that ranged from space shuttles to Sandra Day O'Connor, his narrative was repackaged and re-offered to conservatives 23 years after he left office and eight years after he died. "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," Reagan said once again Thursday night.
There's no more potent image for the Republicans to summon, of course. This is a man who is the most towering icon of modern conservatism. When Reagan is brought out, it's always about imagery and implied GOP renewal — about a "springtime of hope" and the notion of America as the shining city on the hill.
Then the music swelled and faded, the video ended and two fresh speakers walked on stage: Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista.
— Ted Anthony — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/anthonyted
"It's not about the past. It's not about what was done wrong. It's not about blaming America. It's quite the opposite. Tonight we embark on a renewal of the American dream." — U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla.
WHAT'S OBAMA DOING?
White House spokesman Jay Carney says Obama is "fully aware" of the happenings at the Republican convention in Tampa this week. But he says he doesn't think the president watched Paul Ryan's speech Wednesday night, nor does he know whether Obama will watch Romney address the GOP convention Thursday.
Carney didn't say whether he thought Ryan's speech was factually accurate. But he criticized Romney's campaign more broadly for distorting Obama's record and policy positions in speeches and advertisements.
"Perhaps when the facts aren't on your side, you ignore the facts," Carney says.
— Julie Pace — Twitter http://twitter.com/JPaceDC
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is all smiles, happy that so far his city has avoided widespread confrontations and arrests that have marred other conventions.
But that doesn't mean he's pleased with everything.
Buckhorn, a Democrat, used his daily press briefing to argue Tampa needs more mass transit options to build from the "worldwide" exposure it got during the convention.
In early 2011, Florida Gov. Rick Scott turned down a federal grant to help build a high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando. The Republican governor argued the state would wind up spending more than anticipated because it would cost more than initially projected.
Buckhorn took a swipe at Scott by noting that Detroit's mayor had thanked him recently because high-speed rail money once destined for Florida was redirected to other states and cities.
Gary Fineout — Twitter http://twitter.com/fineout
As the Republican National Convention wears on, protesters are getting worn out.
The busloads of protesters — who are staying at a makeshift camp dubbed "Romneyville" — have seen their food and water supplies dwindle. Law enforcement has noticed, as well.
So on Thursday morning, police brought boxed lunches of sandwiches, fruits and ice-cold water to Romneyville. Chief Jane Castor said police had extra food, so they decided to donate it rather than throw it out.
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