Political Animal


August 28, 2012 9:34 PM Live Blogging the RNC

By Ed Kilgore

So if Ann Romney’s speech was a paen to “love,” here comes Chris Christie to bring the hate.


* 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….


* 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.


* 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.


* 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.


* 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.


* 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!


* 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.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • PEA on August 28, 2012 10:01 PM:

    gagging. one after another. willful liars every one. How can they even stand each other? but interesting they are all about themselves and little about Romney...

    Captcha: assionRa political -- you said it!

  • Kathryn on August 28, 2012 10:05 PM:

    In what world is Rick Santorum a Christian in good standing or a Catholic in a state of grace? Didn't watch, but based on report and past Santorum pronouncements, it would be hard to conjure up a more smug, evil, lying phony. IMO, it's in the world of Beelzebub.

  • me on August 28, 2012 10:08 PM:

    santorum sent his son to college? what a snob.

  • biggerbox on August 28, 2012 10:19 PM:

    Tried to watch a bit of the GOP convention, and came in on Nikki Haley bragging about the South Carolina Boeing plant and how "shameful" it was that the Obama NLRB sued Boeing, and I had to give up. Up here by Puget Sound, we remember that as Boeing trying to punish the machinists for striking in the past, and we know that a whole lot of good, family-supporting union jobs would have vanished forever without that action.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on August 28, 2012 10:35 PM:

    Ewwww..., lots of goosebumps. How can anybody not have goosebumps after that stirring Ann speech.

    Is Dick Gregory on the RNC payroll?

  • that is one plastic RNC on August 28, 2012 10:35 PM:

    Easily manipulated convention go-ers with gleamy(drunk?)Stepford eyes and what a load of bs from each of the speakers, one after the other bragging about themselves when they're not throwing in lies about our President.
    And Ann trying to be so in touch. She acts like she knows of the economic troubles of families and it is such a farce as Mitt has embraced the austere policies of Paul Ryan. And Ryan has scorn for the poor.
    She is demagoging now at 10:25. Yeah, "he built it."
    Rich son of a governor who could afford the best schools--he built it.... she and Mitt struggled....."

    I think I have to turn it off. They all scare me.

    I did hear not long ago that American psychics as a group have said that President Obama will be re-elected.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on August 28, 2012 10:37 PM:

    Damn, I'll say one thing. Chris Christie is fat.

  • SBcardinal on August 28, 2012 10:42 PM:

    Ed, I hope you got good drugs from the doctor. I couldn't bear to watch, and your recap makes me know I made the right choice. Thanks for watching so I didn't have to, and hope your jaw/sinus heals quickly.

  • Just Guessing on August 28, 2012 10:43 PM:

    Drudge has Christie speech on-line. Best lie:

    If you're willing to hear the truth about the hard road ahead, and the rewards for America that truth will bear, I'm here to begin with you this new era of truth-telling.

    Yeah, I'm sure Romney will follow that after tonight's lie fest.

  • that is one well fed RNC on August 28, 2012 10:44 PM:

    Christie's head is enormously massive.

  • Liz on August 28, 2012 10:46 PM:

    I would have thought Ann could find a designer that could fit a dress. Did you see those rucks? Not a becoming dress, at all. Plus her hair was sprayed to a helmet.

    Not feeling the love for Ann; her speech sounded way overrehearsed, and her pause for applause felt smug. I feel sorry for her, because I know how much this speech was supposed to do for her husband--make him human, make him real, make him less of a complete robot--and I'm sure she did her best, but the job was beyond her ability.

    Better fire her. It's really good for her in the end, you know? It will make her better able to compete in today's market.

  • Kathryn on August 28, 2012 10:51 PM:

    First of all, thank you Ed for enduring this and giving us these updates. Ann forgot to add after This Man Will Not Fail....the one percent, the NASCAR owners, the Mormon Church, venture capitalists everywhere, Wall Street, etc.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on August 28, 2012 10:55 PM:

    Christie is going to have a heart attack.

  • emjayay on August 28, 2012 11:00 PM:

    Christie has been successful to a degree in NJ because he is a big fat loudmouth bombastic guy working with Democrats in the legislature. Obama has been trying to compromise with a Congress with a bunch of Republicans whose members declared that their main goal was to make him a one term president, and who said his main big goal of bringing everyone in the country into the health care system (like every other comparable country) would be his Waterloo.

  • Bo on August 28, 2012 11:01 PM:

    Two-word reaction to this evening's toxic brew of hyperbole, lies, damned lies, dog whistles and hypocrisy: "No Sale".

  • that is one boring convention on August 28, 2012 11:03 PM:

    She looked like she botoxed just for the event. I agree about the dress being poofy in places. Someone didn't tell her the truth. (of course--they're republicans)

    Real contrived speech about the plight of the working mom. Like she can relate. I know I saw some inappropriateness of mood earlier in the speech--mood incongruent, as we say in the business.

    I can't get past the stern, grissly, angered look she gave during that interview with Robin --when asked about releasing tax returns she said we've given you people enough.

    Christie really is self-absorbed. I can't get past what a bully he is in the real world.

  • DJ on August 28, 2012 11:04 PM:

    Only the Republicans would have the fall to wheel out a 300-pound man to talk about austerity and belt-tightening.

  • 4jkb4ia on August 28, 2012 11:16 PM:

    Absolutely, teachers unions have nothing to do with anything except that Chris Christie fought the teachers union. And Christie did not balance the budget in any sustainable way. But it was a relief to hear a well-written and well-delivered speech after the succession of robots from 8:30 to 9:00.

  • Bob M on August 28, 2012 11:17 PM:

    "Damn, I'll say one thing. Chris Christie is fat."

    Corpus Christie.

  • 4jkb4ia on August 28, 2012 11:18 PM:

    emjayay is right. Is bipartisan compromise while not betraying our conservative principles the trend in the Republican Party we have all watched for the last two years?

  • Joe Friday on August 28, 2012 11:21 PM:

    First the Republicans pile up massive federal deficits and debt with massive tax cuts for the Rich & Corporate, and now along comes Christie and calls for 'shared sacrifice'.

    Clean-up your own damned mess and keep your hands out of the pockets of the Middle-class and Working Poor.

  • Bo on August 28, 2012 11:25 PM:

    emjayay, Christie has been "successful" in New Jersey primarily because Corzine was a trainwreck. Beyond that, he just talks a good game which clouds the real results of his policies while he distracts everyone with his bombast.
    Here's the real situation in New Jersey:
    – New Jersey ranked 47th in the nation in GDP growth in 2011. [Bureau of Economic Analysis]
    – The Garden state’s unemployment rate of 9.8 percent is fourth highest in the nation, trailing only Nevada, California, and Rhode Island. [Bureau of Labor Statistics]
    – New Jersey lost 12,000 jobs last month, the most in the country. [Bureau of Labor Statistics]
    – The state ranked 44th in personal income growth in 2011. [Bureau of Economic Analysis]
    Tonight, he bragged about the tax cuts he’s passed since coming into office. As the Newark Star-Ledger put it, “Here are the facts: The 16,000 families in New Jersey earning more than $1 millon will get an average tax break of $40,000 apiece under [Christie's] budget. At the same time, a single mom working for minimum wage will pay $300 more in state taxes.”
    And we are supposed to believe this corpulent, loud-mouthed snake-oil salesman who spins such fiction about his own failed performance when he endorses The MittWit and his sidekick, the boy math-whiz? I think not!

  • that is one grammatical error on August 28, 2012 11:29 PM:

    Watching msnbc where they run tweets at the bottom--Jeb Bush had one with a clear grammatical error... like Dubya would do:

    "...education to put student's first."

  • J.T. on August 28, 2012 11:36 PM:

    Gov. Christie thinks that having a government bureaucrat between an American citizen and her doctor is a "debacle." Everyone knows it should be an insurance company bureaucrat between them instead.

  • AndThenThere'sThat on August 28, 2012 11:40 PM:

    I expected much more from Ann. Mitt's secret weapon was quirky and firing blanks. Nothing stirred in me to like or connect with her. Perhaps she over rehearsed her lines or perhaps it's just because, like her husband, she seems so out of touch. I did laugh when she miss-fired "sex" for "success". Oops. But, seriously, a very under whelming sell for Mitt.

    "We built it" may have been the official theme, but "truth telling" was the subliminal message of the night. Leave it to Republicans to paper over their ridiculous lie fest with lots of shout-outs to "truth".

    I also didn't understand Artur Davis when he told the crowd he was now going to talk to undecided voters and then proceeded to throw red meat at the crowd instead. Is that supposed to sway independent voters watching on tv?

    Anyway, definitely agree with Bo @11:01
    "No Sale"

  • meaningless on August 28, 2012 11:41 PM:

    I know nothing more about Mitt R-money after all this--and I am in search of the lost hours in my life spent watching that Stepford wives convention.
    I can't believe the glossy gleam in the eyes--like a
    Jim Jones Guyana cult tragedy. Thank goodness I am a Democrat.

  • emjayay on August 28, 2012 11:55 PM:

    Thanks Bo. I haven't really paid attention to NJ besides the obvious. But of course the obvious/Christie version is what most people have any idea of. I believe he wanted a much more anti-teacher tenure etc. change, and got a compromised version which isn't that bad, hopefully. That's not what would happen in the take it or leave it national Congress.

    The most bizarre part of Anne's speech was all smiling the pro-woman stuff. Pro right wing women married to multimillionares who buy them anything they want is more like it. The stuff about being students or something living in studio apartments or whatever she claimed, while not mentioning having a bunch of houses and planning on remodeling one of them to include a parking garage with an car elevator nowadays was particularly dishonest. What was the problem back then anyway? Trust fund hadn't kicked in yet or what?

  • Mitt's joke on August 29, 2012 12:07 AM:

    Chris Matthews had a good line tonight--Romney looked not like a part of the convention, but that he was visiting it.
    In more ways than one:

    Regarding Romney's previous birther comment--A woman from Dearborn, Michigan tweeted on MSNBC's Morning Joe Facebook that Romney was specifically attending a big time teabagger hotbed gathering in Oakland County, Michigan-- and that was not a joke (as we know.) It was absolute redmeat thrown out to ravenous teabaggers-- she said she lived just miles away and knew all that. Mitt's response that it was a joke was his aftermath response.

  • And Tell Ann on August 29, 2012 12:32 AM:

    Maybe someone should tell Ann that

    Republicans intend to repeal the Affordable Care Act--a health care law which directly helps women and children, promoting preventative care and without restricting them for their pre-existing conditions...Ann--you had serious medical conditions but certainly enjoyed acccess to the best health care.
    And tell Ann that Republicans are pushing for this vague and scary voucher system for Seniors' Medicare...which will affect women mostly --perhaps directly as a patient on limited income, or indirectly, as a daughter caring for elderly, sick parents....
    and--horribly as fact-- Republicans tried to block equal pay...and--horribly as fact-- Republicans have both ignored and obstructed the president's "Jobs Bill." That debt clock you guys proudly displayed reminds people of the debt accumulated in the Bush years in concurrence with many of the Republican yes-men at your convention. Oh, the irony.

    Ann's speech reminds me of when similarly out-of-touch silver-spooned Social Security-privatizing Republican George W Bush once said to a woman--"Oh you work three jobs, how uniquely American."

  • Kathryn on August 29, 2012 8:25 AM:

    Before Ann Romney revealed her personality many months back, I assumed she would be a plus for her husband just by being more genuine in speech and manner. Man was I wrong. She is not a likable woman, very cold and high handed. She right in the middle of this campaign based on lies shielding Mitt and trying to control the message, scary woman.

  • g on August 29, 2012 10:48 AM:

    Okay, there’s the big sound-bite: “This-Man-Will-Not-Fail.”

    Well, Ann's right about that. With all his cash, Mitt Romney will always come out OK. The rest of you suckers? Not so much.