Tropical Storm Isaac pushed back the start of the Republican National Convention from Monday until Tuesday, resulting in a leaner convention schedule packed with GOP heavyweights. Monday's headline speakers were rescheduled, with the day's events limited to a 10-minute ceremonial opening. In an interview with Politico, Mitt Romney said the convention will try to make a simple case to voters: President Obama is a nice guy, but a failed president. See the revised schedule for the Republican National Convention. Here's a look at 20 people to watch at the Republican National Convention.
Reince Priebus is from Kenosha, Wis. He was elected Chairman of the Republican National Committee on January 14, 2011. He served on his first political campaign when he was 16 years old, and later worked with the Republican Party of Wisconsin as 1st Congressional District chairman, State Party Treasurer, First Vice Chair and State Party Chairman. In 2009 he served as General Counsel to the Republican National Committee.
Priebus' father was an electrician who belonged to the Service Employees International Union and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. His mother was born in Sudan and half of his family lived in Greece. Priebus told The Huffington Post that people love to play on the idea that Republicans only care about the rich, but in reality "what we believe is that everybody should have an opportunity to make good money, and we want people to do well." He said that as the RNC chairman, he has been mission-driven, has raised record amount of money and has watched his mouth and stayed on message.
Current U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner is the second oldest of 12 brothers and sisters and has lived in Ohio for his entire life. He was elected to Congress in 1990. Recently reelected for an 11th term, Boehner took the House gavel from former U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi when Democrats lost their House majority after the 2010 election.
Boehner is on Twitter and frequently tweets about House legislation, saying things like, "Senate Dems are blocking > 30 bipartisan, House-passed bills #4jobs that will help put Americans back to work." Boehner is known for his golf game, and Glenn Thrush of Politico wrote that President Barack Obama was reluctant to play golf with Boehner because he knew Boehner would beat him. Boehner is also known to be emotional — more emotional than Mitt Romney, Romney joked in a recent Parade interview.
Sen. Rand Paul, the son of Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010. He comes from Bowling Green, Ky., where he owned his own ophthalmology practice. Paul endorsed Romney in June after his father acknowledged that he did not have enough delegates to win the Republican nomination for president. The move upset many of his father's supporters.
Rand Paul's speech at the convention, along with a video tribute to his father, will help Ron Paul's presence be felt at the convention, NBC News wrote. As one of the freshmen elected during the tea party wave in 2010, Paul was one of three senators to introduce a budget plan that would balance the national budget in five years and pay down $2 trillion of the national debt in 10 years.
Artur Davis, a former congressman who officially seconded Barack Obama's nomination in 2008 and is a former co-chairman of Obama's presidential campaign, will be a headliner for the Republican National Convention in 2012. Davis left the Democratic Party in May, saying that the party had changed and that the current Democratic Party "is not Bill Clinton's Democratic Party (and he knows that even if he can't say it)." Davis also said that, "the symbolism of Barack Obama winning has not given us the substance of a united country."
One aspect of this year's Republican convention is an emphasis of Obama supporters who no longer support the president, like Davis. A new ad highlighted these voters, and a similar film titled "The Hope and the Change" will debut at the convention as well.
Ann Lois Davies married Mitt Romney on March 21, 1969, and together they raised five songs—Tagg, Matt, Josh, Ben and Craig. In 1998 she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. She rediscovered horseback riding while living in Park City prior to the 2002 Olympics, and that helped her deal with her MS. In 2008 Romney was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, a noninvasive type of breast cancer, and underwent a lumpectomy.
When her husband was considering another run for President of the United States, Romney asked, "Can you fix the economy?" When he said yes, she said, "I'm on your team."
Rick Santorum, a one-time rival in the Republican race for the White House, represented Pennsylvania in the House and the Senate before he entered the 2012 Republican presidential primary. He won 11 states, but his exit from the race in April virtually assured Romney the party's nomination. In May, Santorum endorsed Romney, saying that although the two candidates disagreed over many things, they agreed that President Obama must be defeated. Santorum released the delegates he won during the GOP primary Thursday, freeing them up to support Romney during the convention.
Since leaving the presidential race, Santorum has been acting as a surrogate for the Romney campaign, commenting on current issues including Vice President Joe Biden's recent comments about putting people "back in chains." He told The Daily Beast that Romney will win if the campaign is about issues rather than Romney's tax returns or whether people like Romney more than Obama.
Kelly Ayotte, a U.S. senator from New Hampshire, was rumored to be on Romney's short-list of vice presidential candidates. Kelly was the first woman to serve as attorney general in New Hampshire. She was first named attorney general by a Republican, and then was reappointed twice by Democratic Gov. John Lynch. She is currently the top Republican on the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, and serves on the Armed Services, Budget, Commerce and Small Business Committees in the Senate.
In an editorial in the Union Leader, Ayotte wrote supporting Romney and Ryan, saying they have a plan to deal with the economy while the president has no plan. NPR reports that she told the Susan B. Anthony List's "Campaign for Life" dinner attendees that her 2010 election is proof that anything can happen, saying, "I ran in the Northeast and I won the general election by 23 points. Can you imagine a conservative pro-life woman winning in the Northeast? So, I want you to know that anything is possible."
Susana Martinez, the first Latina governor in United States history, was elected as Governor of New Mexico in 2010 after running on a platform of cutting wasteful spending, lowering taxes, reforming education and fighting corruption in government. Martinez was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley and earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and a law degree from the University of Oklahoma.
Before Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate, Martinez was mentioned as one of his possible choices. At the beginning of August, Martinez told The Associated Press that her convention speech would focus on moving America forward and helping people who are unemployed to become employed.
Chris Christie, the outspoken governor of New Jersey, was raised in Livingston, N.J., and worked as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey from 2002 through 2008. He was elected as governor of the state in 2010 and began taking on pension reform for New Jersey's public service unions. Christie is known for his combative tone as governor, which his staff highlights through YouTube videos.
Prior to Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his runningmate, Christie was considered a frontrunner for the position. Christie said he would listen if Romney asked him to be VP, but that he had every intention of staying as governor of New Jersey. However, his keynote speech at the convention could be a chance to put him further in the public eye. He told USA Today that he plans to make an "emphatic" argument on behalf of Republican approaches and shared sacrifice to face the nation's challenges. "I'll try to tell some very direct and hard truths to people in the country about the trouble that we're in and the fact that fixing those problems is not going to be easy for any of them," he said.
Mia Love, mayor of Saratoga Springs and a current congressional candidate running against Jim Matheson, was asked to address the Republican convention by the Romney campaign. Love will become the first black Republican woman in Congress if she wins in November, and she has been gaining attention outside of Utah. Ann Romney, Paul Ryan, John Boehner and John McCain have endorsed her, and Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be visiting Utah on Sept. 7 to voice her support as well.
"The Democrats, and the left, say I don't exist," Love said during a speech at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference. "I'm not supposed to exist. I'm a strong conservative. I'm female, I'm black—if anybody hasn't noticed. I'm a strong and proud Republican. I am a daughter of immigrant parents. I believe in fiscal discipline because I grew up that way. I believe in limited government because my parents realized, 'Hey, the only thing I need is opportunity. I don't need charity, I just need opportunity.' And last, but not least, I believe in the power of personal responsibility and how that is the pride of Americans."
Although former president George W. Bush won't be appearing at the Republican convention, his brother Jeb Bush will. Bush was the 43rd governor of Florida, serving from 1999 through 2006. In June, Bush came under fire from conservatives after saying that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush would have a "hard time" fitting in during the tea party era. Bush endorsed Romney in March.
Rumors about a possible Jeb Bush run for president have been floating around for years, with a keynote speech at the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner is Sioux City, Iowa, sparking the latest round of speculation at the end of July.
Fresh off not being named as Romney's vice president despite heavy speculation otherwise, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, will attend the Republican convention as a speaker. Portman was born and raised in Cincinnati, where his family built the Portman Equipment Company. Portman became a lawyer and developed his own private practice. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1993. He left Congress in 2005 when he was asked to serve as the United States Trade Representative. He later became the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. He became a senator after the 2010 election.
Called the "anti-Palin" of VP picks, Portman was rumored to be on Romney's short-list due to being a "safe" pick. He has been a surrogate for Romney, saying Obama has not succeeded in reaching across the aisle and dealing with issues like the economy. Portman received a call from Romney informing him that someone else had been chosen for the VP job. Portman said he feels fortunate to be in the Senate and he knows that he can make a difference there.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was elected in 2010, becoming the 116th governor of South Carolina. Haley was born in Bamberg, S.C., and is the daughter of Indian immigrants. Haley is South Carolina's first female governor and the second Indian-American governor in the United States (the first being Bobby Jindal, R-La.). Haley was first elected to represent the 87th District in Lexington County in 2004 and served until she won the governorship. She endorsed Romney in December 2011.
Haley was rumored to be in contention for the vice president job, but said that she was not interested. Haley is one of three female "headliners" at the convention, joining Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah will get a few minutes to speak at the convention, the RNC announced Friday. His Monday slot was reportedly pushed back to Tuesday due to Tropical Storm Isaac. Chaffetz was elected in 2008 and is currently in his second term in Congress. Chaffetz grew up in California, Arizona and Colorado and played football at Brigham Young University.
Being asked to speak at the convention is a "real honor," Chaffetz said. "I've been active as a Romney surrogate for the last year and a half. I've done untold numbers of television, radio and newspaper interviews. To have a minute or two to share that perspective with the full convention, that doesn't come very often. I'm very grateful." Chaffetz told The Deseret News that afterward he'll travel to Charlotte, N.C., the site of the Democratic National Convention, to offer a GOP viewpoint.
Luis Fortuno is the governor of Puerto Rico and was rumored to be a "sleeper pick" for the No. 2 slot on Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential ticket. Fortuno endorsed Romney in Puerto Rico in January, saying Romney "has the record, leadership, experience and pro-growth plan to continue the course of private-sector job creation we've begun in Puerto Rico." Romney won Puerto Rico in March, finishing with more than 50 percent of the vote.
National Review called Fortuno "the Caribbean's Scott Walker," saying he helped Puerto Rico's jobless rate drop from 17 percent down to 14 percent. Fortuno says the improved fiscal climate and his tax cuts have helped to spur economic growth. Romney has described Fortuno as a "solid conservative and a firm leader," and as "one of the great leaders of our party."
Tim Pawlenty, a former Republican presidential candidate, grew up in Minnesota. He practiced law before serving as a city council member and a 10-year member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. He also served a governor of Minnesota, where he balanced the state's budget three times without raising taxes.
Almost a year after leaving the presidential race, endorsing Romney and being named as the national co-chairman of Romney's campaign, Pawlenty's stock was rising as a possible VP pick for Mitt Romney, The Huffington Post reported.
"He's appealing and acceptable to all branches of the conservative base and the Republican Party as a whole, Gary Marx of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said in July.
Pawlenty has been working as a Romney surrogate, and Charlie Weaver, Pawlenty's former chief of staff, told Time that, "if Romney were to win, I'm sure that they would seek out Pawlenty's skills in any number of ways."
Condoleezza Rice was born in Birmingham, Ala., and earned a bachelors of arts in political science from the University of Denver, a master's degree in political science from the University of Notre Dame and a doctorate in political science from the University of Denver. She served as National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush in 2001 and succeeded Colin Powell as Secretary of State in 2005.
Rice will be one of three female "headliners" at the national convention, joining Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico. Rice was floating as a possible VP contender, but said she is fond of policy, not politics.
Sen. Marco Rubio from Florida was elected to the Senate in 2010, is counted as a rising Republican star and was floated as a possible VP pick for Romney. Rubio's parents left Cuba in 1956 and Rubio was born in Miami. His parents, he says, taught him about self-sufficiency and hard work. Rubio has criticized President Obama, saying the president doesn't believe in the American free enterprise system.
Although Rubio was surrounded by VP speculation, he was ultimately passed over for Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Mitt Romney had a hard time getting in touch with Rubio to tell him that, however, with Rubio missing four of his phone calls. Rubio says Romney told him that he wasn't being tapped for the job, but that he'd be happy with the final VP pick. Rubio responded, "Well, that's really good news because I just bought a four-day cruise."
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., recently joined Mitt Romney on the 2012 ticket, claiming the vice presidential slot. Ryan was born and raised in Janesville, Wis., and is currently serving his seventh term as a member of Congress. Ryan is the Chairman of the House Budget Committee and is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Ryan is known as a policy wonk and has put forward a "Path to Prosperity" budget that seeks to spur job creation and address government debt.
On August 11, Mitt Romney announced that he had chosen Ryan as his running mate and that Ryan had accepted. "His leadership begins with character and values," Romney said at the announcement. "He's a person of great steadiness, whose integrity is unquestioned and whose word is good."
The Republican National Convention, Jennifer Rubin wrote at The Washington Post, is Ryan's chance to introduce himself to the country.
Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts, is on the verge of becoming the Republican Party's official 2012 presidential nominee following a long primary battle. Romney was born in 1947 in Detroit, and attended Stanford University, Brigham Young University and Harvard University. He married Ann Davies in 1969 and together they have five sons—Taggart, Matt, Josh, Ben and Craig. Romney is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, served a mission in France and served as a bishop and stake president in the Boston area. He will be the first Mormon presidential nominee of a major political party.
The convention is a critical time for Romney to define himself to the American people, Mark McKinnon wrote at The Daily Beast.
"I haven't closed the door completely on Romney. I suspect I'm like a lot of voters in the middle who are still waiting to see some signs of life, humanity, conviction, personality biography, vision," McKinnon wrote. "No pressure, Mitt."