There’s more to a political convention than speeches. While high profile politicians loudly proclaim the party line in support of candidate Mitt Romney, hundreds of others are forming the party’s policies and rules. California Robert O’Brien is one of those rule makers. He talked to Kid Reporter Topanga Sena about his behind-the-scenes work to maintain the party structure.
Dressed in a bright yellow jacket and wearing high heel shoes, Florida delegate Chelsi Henry exudes confidence. She’s the youngest delegate from the state, a law student and community volunteer. She talked to Kid Reporter Topanga Sena about why she decided to apply to be a delegate to the Republican Convention and her anticipation for one of the night's biggest speeches, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
At 17 years old, most teenagers are planning where they are going to college, which car they are going to buy, or if their crush likes them back. Well, not Evan Draimer. He's 17 years old, but he's also a delegate at the 2012 Republican National Convention. The youngest delegate at the convention, actually. Today I had the chance to talk with this young role model and ask him all about politics from a young person’s point of view.
—Kid Reporter Shelby Fallin
One of the most anticipated speeches of the Republican Convention is the keynote address, typically given on Tuesday night. The Republicans chose New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a colorful politician who some party leaders hoped would run for President.
Christie declined the invitation for higher office and decided to back Mitt Romney. He began his speech in support of Romney’s presidency by talking about his own background, a similar theme with every speaker during this first full session of the convention.
“I am the son of an Irish father and a Sicilian mother,” he said. “Mom was tough as nails and didn't suffer fools at all. The truth was she couldn't afford to. She spoke the truth—bluntly, directly, and without much varnish.”
That’s a characteristic Christie is also famous for, which proved true as he took on the Democratic administration’s handling of health care legislation and the national debt. He drove home the evening’s message of “We Built It,” by defining a list of differences between the Republican and Democratic party philosophies.
"We believe in telling seniors the truth about our overburdened entitlements," he said. "We know seniors not only want these programs to survive, but they just as badly want them secured for their grandchildren."
He then drew comparisons between the Democratic and Republican parties.
"We believe in telling seniors the truth about our overburdened entitlements," he said. "They believe seniors will always put themselves ahead of their grandchildren."
Delegates seemed inspired by Christie's speech as they filed out of the convention center after the speech, which ended around 11 p.m.
“When he was talking about some of the problems that we have right now and what we need to do to correct them, I think he was very straightforward with it and that’s a good thing," said California delegate Maurice Lieberman. "We need more of that.”
Victor Marani, also a delegate from California, agreed.
“Governor Christie is the most genuine person you are ever going to see in politics," he told Scholastic News. "He’s straightforward, he tells it to you the way it is, and he speaks right to you, which is very important."
PHOTO: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (CREDIT: Charles Dharapak/AP Images)
The first night of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday was full of excitement and energy as thousands of delegates from all over the U.S. met to nominate their candidate, Mitt Romney. The crowd of aroudn 4,000 delegates on the floor of the convention hall in Tampa, Florida, seemed to radiate anticipation waiting for words from a variety of state governors and everyday small businessmen slated to speak in the nine-hour-long session.
Traditionally political conventions begin on Monday and end on Thursday with the official vote to name the head of the party’s ticket. This, year, as in 2008, Republicans canceled the first night of the convention because of a hurricane. In 2008 it was Gustav. This year Isaac made a pass at Tampa and a beeline for Louisiana.
Delegates arrived hours early on Tuesday to find their designated sets on the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, home of the Tampa Bay Lightening hockey team. No one wanted to miss upcoming speakers Ann Romney, wife of the candidate; Ted Cruz, U.S. Senate candidate from Texas; and Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, to name but a few.
Highlight of the night was Ann Romney's heartfelt speech about her husband as a person rather than a politician. The evening ended with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's keynote address.
PHOTO: Around 5:30 p.m. delegates began finding their seats to prepare for Tuesday night's top speeches during a nine-hour session at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.
After first noting that Hurricane Isaac had hit land, and offering up prayers for all involved, Ann Romney launched into a heartfelt speech about her marriage and relationship to the Republican nominee for President, Mitt Romney.
The crowd of 4,000 delegates quieted down and listened for the first time in an evening of back-to-back speeches as Mrs. Romney began to speak. She talked about her 42-year marriage to the presidential candidate, saying they did not have a storybook relationship.
“We had a real marriage,” she said, noting their lives of raising five sons and her battles against breast cancer and Multiple Sclerosis.
Ann Romney’s job as one of the main speakers of the night was to give a human face to the Republican candidate. According to the response from delegates in the hall, she succeeded.
“I loved Ann Romney’s speech,” said Marcia Silva, a delegate from New Jersey. “It definitely showed a softer side of Mitt Romney that a lot of people didn’t know. I cried at times.”
Mrs. Romney mostly left politics out of her speech.
“Tonight, I want to talk about love,” she said. She talked about how the couple jumped into marriage as college students, living in a basement apartment.
“Our desk was a door propped up on sawhorses; our dining room table was a fold down ironing board in the kitchen,” she said. “Those were very special days.”
She quickly moved on to outlining her husband’s successes as a businessman.
“He is successful at everything he does,” she said, as she wrapped up her speech.
As delegates jumped to their feet applauding, her husband surprised her on stage with a hug and kiss. They then took seats in the audience to listen to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s keynote address, the final speech of the first night of the convention.
PHOTO: Ann Romney takes the stage at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, Tuesday, August 28, 2012. (Dante A. Ciampaglia)
This year at the Republican National Convention (RNC), media
is swarming. Nearly 5,000 journalists and media-types from news networks such
as CNN and CBS and others around the world are taking refuge in miniature
newsrooms all across the Convention Center and the Tampa Bay Times Forum. NBC
is one of these many stations that are here at the RNC making sure that they
get the information their viewers need to know. Luckily, fellow Kid Reporter
Topanga Sena and I got a behind the scenes tour of this major news network’s
NBC runner Daniel Johnson took some of his time to lead us through NBC’s makeshift workspace at the Convention Center and the sets at the Forum where their talent air live reports. The first one we saw was the set for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams at the Forum. It looked over the event floor where the delegates sit and guest speakers address them. It creates a realistic backdrop. Many editors and directors sat behind enormous monitors recording and editing footage from the Forum and interviews with delegates. They were also creating graphics for the live show, like name bars to run at the bottom of the screen. When Topanga and I visited, the anchors were not present in the room so we got to sit in the broadcasting booth!
NBC also has another network called Telemundo for worldwide productions and the Hispanic population. At the Telemundo booth, we got to meet producer Marcos Santana. He told us about Telemundo and how it airs all over the world and is broadcast in Spanish instead of English. Sadly, we were not able to sit on the set this time, but we were able to see where the talent sits to broadcast. Before we left, Mr. Santana told us he would see us in a few years on NBC!
So, in the end, that thought-out and put-together show that NBC airs for the RNC is filmed in various places and times all over the Convention Center and the Forum. Even though it may not seem like much space to film entire segments, NBC has some of the most rooms occupied in the center, according to Mr. Joshnson.
Obviously, NBC and every other news network this year is prepared for the RNC.
Photo: NBC runner Daniel Johnson gives Kid Reporters Shelby Fallin and Topanga Sena a tour of NBC's workspace at the Convention Center. (Dante A. Ciampaglia)
More than 5,000 members of the media are reporting from the Rebublican National Convention here in Tampa, Florida, and I’m one of them! I lucked into this plum assignment as a member of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps. I live Orlanda, which is about one hour away from Tampa\. Along with fellow reporter Shelby Fallin, who lives in Lakeland, Florida, I am here for three days of politics and reporting.
We are staying at a home near the convention center. Our first stop on a busy first day—after parking at a downtown church—was to pick up credentials at a nearby hotel. We then walked to the MSNBC broadcast booth in an offsite shopping plaza to wait to be interviewed. Everything is fairly close, but the weather is hot and muggy, so it can be tiring. We are also pelted with rain in short bursts about once an hour.
Shelby and I were ushered into the MSNBC makeup area, where we we got the royal treatment from facial cleanser to lipstick to eyeshadow and mascara. The makeup person then rubbed a nourishing lotion in our hair to make it shiny for the cameras. It was exciting!
And then, just as we were about to go on live TV, we were bumped. Ann Romney, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s wife, was speaking, which was originally scheduled for the night before. Because of Hurricane Isaac, the convention speaking schedule is continually changing, so you never know what’s going to happen next. Tomorrow, they told us, come back tomorrow.
We finally arrived at the convention center where NBC is letting us set up shop. One of the runners there (a college student from Princeton) gave us a grand tour of the center and the Times Forum building where the convention is actually being held. The convention center and Forum are two different buildings. We ride in small buses between the two venues.
The NBC workspaces are beautiful, but really small. We visited the set for Telemundo, CNBC, and NBC affiliates from all over the world.
We are now back in the NBC media space eating a great dinner of turkey meatloaf, chicken picatta, and cheesy mashed potatoes before going into the hall to hear tonight’s keynote speaker, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Photo: Kid Reporters Topanga Sena (front) and Shelby Fallin in the make-up chairs before heading to the MSNBC set. (Dante A. Ciampaglia)
After a long night of speeches, Tuesday, the first night of the convention, this Scholastic Kid Reporter ran into U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz.
Cruz won a hard fought primary battle against Lt. Governor David Dewhurst for the Republican nomination to fill retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s seat. I asked him about his reaction to the night’s speeches and the role of Texas in election a President.
The next stage of the 2012 presidential campaign begins on Monday. That's when the nation's Republican leaders and thousands of party faithful gather in Tampa, Florida, for the Republican National Convention. The convention lasts until Thursday.
The big events at the convention will be the official selection of Mitt Romney as the Republican presidential nominee and Paul Ryan and the nominee for Vice President. Ryan will be nominated on Wednesday, and Romney will be nominated on Thursday.
But while the convention officially begins on Monday, it is already in the news.
Tropical Storm Isaac is churning in the Atlantic Ocean, and there's a chance it will hit Florida. The storm has already hit parts of the Caribbean, and Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba are in Isaac's path. Meteorologists are predicting Isaac to strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane by the time it reaches Florida — which could be on the first day of the convention.
Read more on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps website and the Election 2012 website!