So if Ann Romney’s speech was a paen to “love,” here comes Chris Christie to bring the hate.
10:35 EDT—CHRIS CHRISTIE SPEECH
* Gets right into it, perhaps making up for scheduling lag.
* Couple more shout-outs to strong women in Christie’s autobiography.
* “Love without respect is fleeting.” So much for the Love Offensive.
* Interesting justification of Party of No: “No is required.”
* Christie seems to be telling self-righteous white folks to Stand Up and Take Their Country Back.
* This speech, which annoys me greatly, is much better crafted than anything we’ve heard tonight.
* Wonder if he’s going to wind up calling Romney the candidate of “tough love.” Seems to be where he’s heading.
* Who’s this “they” he’s mocking? Oh yeah, elites and moochers.
* Guess Christie hasn’t seen all those ads telling Medicare recipients that Obama’s threatening their benefits.
* The educational accountability rap would be more compelling if Romney were not proposing no-strings vouchers.
* Not much applause for attack on “scaring and dividing.”
* Contrast of “doing something” with “being something” a little odd since evening has been devoted to establishing Mitt’s “being.”
* “Hard truths?” Mitt Romney? Methinks he’s overselling his candidate.
* Little too much “I” in this speech.
* Oh c’mon. You’re telling us Mitt Romney doesn’t follow polls? This is a speech about Chris Christie’s self-image, not Mitt Romney.
* First vague reference to foreign policy of the night.
* “Stand up” gimmick a staple of both George Wallace and Hubert Humphrey speeches in 1968.
* Finished on time; a bit rushed.
And now some heavily tattooed dudes for the young folks….
10:10 EDT—ANN ROMNEY SPEECH
* Looks like they are a little behind schedule.
* Sorta doubt there are that many “struggling Americans” actually in the hall, but whatever.
* I’m a bad judge of this kind of speech, but will say her voice much better modulated than the pols who preceeded her. Knows not to shout.
* Spoke too soon: “I LOVE YOU, WOMEN!”
* I know I’m a liberal and all, but have to wonder if women are the “hope of America,” could we maybe let them control their reproductive systems? Yeah, I know, just another burden to bear.
* Seems it’s important to establish Mitt’s sense of humor.
* Didn’t know Ann was originally an Episcopalian—or, as Rick Santorum would say, a “servant of Satan.”
* Best line of speech: “A real marriage.”
* Ann gets edgy w/ success litany and the big crowd-pleaser: “He built it!”
* She makes Bain Capital sound like a mom ‘n’ pop. Dunno how credible that it.
* V-e-r-y subtle indirect defense of failure to disclose taxes as modesty about charity.
* Okay, there’s the big sound-bite: “This-Man-Will-Not-Fail.”
* I think that’s the fourth reference to Mitt’s capacity to tickle ribs. Interesting.
* All in all, she did what she was supposed to do—AND HERE’S THE SHOCKER! MITT COMES OUT AND KISSES HER as “My Girl” plays. There will be inevitable comparisons to Al and Tipper’s “kiss,” but they kept it reasonably natural.
10:05 EDT LUCE VELA’ FORTUNO INTRO OF ANN ROMNEY
* Did you know Puerto Rico has been undergoing a “Republican Revolution?” I sure didn’t.
* Handlers must have decided America needed to hear Ann Romney’s key characteristics twice, since she’s repeated what Haley said.
9:57 EDT—NIKKI HALEY
* Nikki quickly disposes of diversity pitch, and gets to boosterism: “We build things in the Palmetto State!” Without unions!
* Never heard of nasty anti-immigration law being called “innovative.”
* Big, big cheers for Voter ID!
* Crowd clearly knows Boeing story.
*”We’re fighters in South Carolina.” Don’t believe I’d draw attention to that history, Nikki.
* Big cheers for “6,000 non-union employees.”
* Mini-intro of Ann Romney, then back to Mitt-a-ganza.
9:49 EDT—ARTUR DAVIS
* Artur gets to pretend he represents all those “disappointed” by Obama. I’ll say this: (a) isn’t snarling like Zell Miller; (b) doesn’t seem to have taken barbiturates like Santorum and Cruz.
* They seem to have given him a stock Republican speech. A mistake. Republicans want to hear they are not racist. Maybe that’s coming.
* Okay, here comes the “swing voter” appeal: Artur asks permission to speak to them, which is interesting.
* Crowd getting confused by Davis’ questions.
* Davis assets welfare reform “gutting” in same breath as mentioning Bill Clinton.
” Pop culture reference didn’t exactly wow anyone.
* Soaring coda a little overwrought. But probably enough to give him a chance to run for Congress in VirginIa.
9:35 EDT—TED CRUZ
* Cruz seems to be listing Tea Party wins over RINOs. Wonder how “establishment” likes that?
* Cruz mockery of Santa Ana a little jarring until you remember he’s Cuban-American, not Mexican-American.
* “Love Story” theme kinda falling apart by the time Cruz gets to Reagan and Gorbachev.
* Clearly, no concern for Greek-American vote.
* Bit of a contrast between hammer-headed credit-card analogy for national debt and use of the word “surreptitiously.”
* Crowd had to be prompted to boo reference to Obama’s desire for “more and more government.” Very sluggish audience.
* Here comes call-and-response: crowd a little more animated, then really belts it out when asked about repealing ObamaCare and defeating Obama.
Got back from the doctor just in time for Rick Santorum! Get ready for some welfare lies!
9:19 EDT—SANTORUM SPEECH
* Knowing cheer for Santo reference to son being at Citidel. Not only a military academy, but one that resisted co-education for a good while.
* Big cheer for Santo sneer at “special privileges” for immigrants.
* Audience rapt at standard Rick bit about connection between child-bearing w/in marriage and upward mobility.
* Seems to be saying welfare reform caused late 90s boom.
* Just flat out asserts Obama “waived work requirements”—past tense. Doubles down: not just threat to welfare reform, but to rule of law! All that from HHS memo expressing openness to applications for state waivers from case-by-case “work activity” accounting!
* Crowd very flat. Santorum’s voice gravelly, cadence very slow.
* “Hands” litany probably seemed like a good idea to speechwriter. But it leads into Bella’s story, which is always a crowd-pleaser.
* Big cheer for reference to “unborn.” Another big cheer for inference that “unborn” protected by Declaration of Independence.
Gotta say, pretty much a nothing-burger.
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