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Day 2: Republicans to Focus on Economy After Chaotic Convention Start

  • VOA News

Social media posts are on display at the Republican National Convention, July 18, 2016.

Social media posts are on display at the Republican National Convention, July 18, 2016.

The Republican National Convention moves Tuesday to a focus on the economy, a day after Melania Trump told a prime time audience her husband Donald is "an amazing leader" and the only one who can deliver change for the United States.

Tuesday's speakers in Cleveland, Ohio include some of the party's most prominent figures, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and former presidential candidates Chris Christie and Ben Carson.

"If you want someone to fight for you and your country, I can assure you he's the guy," Melania Trump said.

The Slovenian immigrant has been largely unseen during the presidential campaign and used part of the address to tell her personal story.

Watch video report from VOA's Jim Malone:

Similarities to Michelle Obama's 2008 speech

But her speech prompted questions about its origins after journalists noted striking similarities in one passage to an address Michelle Obama gave at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

"From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life. That your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise. That you treat people with respect," Trump said Monday.

Michelle Obama in 2008: "And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: like you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, that you do what you say you're going to do, that you treat people with dignity and respect."

Trump campaign responds to critics

The Trump campaign issued a statement early Tuesday standing by the convention address.

"In writing her beautiful speech, Melania's team of writers took notes on her life's inspirations, and in some instances included fragments of her own thinking. Melania's immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success."

Trump advisor Paul Manafort later told CNN it was crazy to think she was copying Michelle Obama's words.

"What she did was use words that are common words," Manafort said. "To think that she would do something like that knowing how scrutinized her speech was going to be last night is just really absurd."

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks during the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 18, 2016.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks during the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 18, 2016.

Other speakers night 1

Her speech did not have the fiery tones of many of the others who gave addresses Monday on the first day of the convention. Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn followed Trump's speech with sharp criticism of President Barack Obama and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

"There will be no apologies for our American exceptionalism or leadership standing around the world," Flynn said. "Wake up, America. You cannot sit this one out."

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said a vast majority of Americans do not feel safe and warned terrorists, "We're coming to get you!"

Giuliani also mocked Obama's own address at the 2004 Democratic convention during which the then-Senate candidate said there is no liberal, conservative, black, white, Latino or Asian America, but a United States of America.

"It's time to make America one again," Giuliani said Monday. "What happened to there is no black America, there is no white America, there is just America?"

A speaker makes remarks during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 19, 2016.

A speaker makes remarks during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 19, 2016.

Senator Tom Cotton criticized Obama's efforts to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during his term, saying the U.S. wants a leader "who speaks of winning wars and not merely ending wars."

In one of the final addresses, Senator Joni Ernst directed scorn at Clinton, saying the Democrat is "entirely unfit" to be president. Clinton will be nominated at her party's convention next week.

Monday's speeches began with television personalities.

Social media posts are on display at the Republican National Convention, July 18, 2016.

Social media posts are on display at the Republican National Convention, July 18, 2016.

TV personalities take the stage

Scott Baio, who starred on "Happy Days" as a child in the 1970s, and Willie Robertson of the reality TV show "Duck Dynasty," both warned the convention audience that America is headed toward dark times.

Robertson repeatedly said Trump "would have your back," telling them the billionaire presumptive Republican nominee would support the "average American."

Baio urged America not to support Clinton, who he said is "wrecking this country." He said Trump, a former reality TV star, is "doing this from the goodness of his heart and genuinely wants to help."

Delegates react as some call for a roll call vote on the adoption of the rules during first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 18, 2016.

Delegates react as some call for a roll call vote on the adoption of the rules during first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 18, 2016.

Chaos over roll call

The convention erupted in chaos just hours after it began Monday as Trump's opponents loudly protested being denied a floor vote on the convention rules.

"Call the roll, call the roll,'' opponents shouted. Practically drowning them out were chants of "USA, USA'' by Trump supporters and party loyalists.

The convention's presiding officer, Arkansas Congressman Steve Womack, abruptly put the rules to a vote, and then declared that the effort had fallen short.

This discord inside the convention site mimicked the chaos on the streets, where several hundred Trump supporters and opponents held rallies a kilometer apart as the four-day convention opened.

There was a heavy police presence with officers from other states joining their colleagues in Cleveland. The deadly truck attack in France and the ambush killings of five police officers earlier this month in Dallas and three more in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, over the past weekend have heightened fears of violence in Cleveland.

WATCH: Protesters in Cleveland

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