News / USA

Conventions Present Opportunities for Romney, Obama

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus (L) and convention CEO William Harris unveil the stage and podium for the 2012 Republican National Convention, August 20, 2012, at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus (L) and convention CEO William Harris unveil the stage and podium for the 2012 Republican National Convention, August 20, 2012, at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida.
The next major phase of the U.S. presidential election campaign is about to begin with the Republican and Democratic National conventions. Republicans will meet in Tampa, Florida, beginning Monday to formally nominate Mitt Romney.  Democrats gather in Charlotte, North Carolina the following week to nominate President Barack Obama for a second term. 

Location of RNC and DNC conventionsLocation of RNC and DNC conventions
x
Location of RNC and DNC conventions
Location of RNC and DNC conventions
It has been decades since U.S. political conventions actually chose presidential candidates for the two main political parties. The candidates are now chosen through a process of state-by-state primary and caucus votes and the conventions are used to build party unity and showcase the party nominees for president.

Peter Brown with the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said, “Well they are important because essentially they are a show. They are a way of presenting each party in its best light and it is a way of telling voters, this is who the party is, this is who the candidate is and this is what he stands for.”

This year’s Republican convention in Tampa will be especially important for the party’s nominee in waiting, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Public-opinion polls show a close race at the moment between Romney and Obama.

Romney is less well known than the president, and polls also show Obama is more likeable, so the convention will be a chance for the Republican candidate to highlight his policies and his personality.

Romney argues his previous experience as a businessman would give him an advantage in trying to turn around the U.S. economy.

“As opposed to having a president who thinks that government creates our economy and allows it to grow, I understand that it is free people and freedom that drive our economy,” Romney said.

Romney has excited conservative Republicans with his choice of Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate. Both Ryan and Romney will give speeches at the convention.

Political analyst Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute said the Republican convention offers former governor Romney a chance to enhance his image with voters.

“Romney now has an opportunity to show that he is not the imperious, mean-spirited, out-of-touch rich guy but rather a warm family person who cares about others and also somebody who is competent enough to move forward,” said Ornstein.

Republicans could face some distractions in Tampa. A powerful storm threatens to disrupt the early stages of the convention. In addition, controversial comments about rape and abortion by Missouri Representative Todd Akin could distract Republicans from their planned focus on the economy and Mitt Romney.

The skyline of downtown Charlotte, North Carolina on August 16, 2012. The city will host the Democratic National Convention on September 3, 2012.The skyline of downtown Charlotte, North Carolina on August 16, 2012. The city will host the Democratic National Convention on September 3, 2012.
x
The skyline of downtown Charlotte, North Carolina on August 16, 2012. The city will host the Democratic National Convention on September 3, 2012.
The skyline of downtown Charlotte, North Carolina on August 16, 2012. The city will host the Democratic National Convention on September 3, 2012.
The week following the Republican convention, Democrats will meet in Charlotte, North Carolina to nominate President Obama for a second four-year term.

Obama acknowledges that the economy is not as strong as he would like. But he said Romney and the Republicans would cut taxes for the wealthy and repeal his health-care reform law, which he said helps millions of average Americans.

“Their vision is wrong for moving America forward," the president said. "It is not a vision you have to accept and that is why November is important and that is why I am running for a second term as president!”

Analyst Norman Ornstein said the president will have a different challenge when he speaks at his convention in North Carolina.

“You want to show that you are the commander in chief," said Ornstein. "You want to reinforce the things that you have done, including killing Osama bin Laden, that show you as the tough, resolute decision-maker.”

Once the party conventions are over, the pace of the presidential campaign will intensify as the candidates target key states where the race is close.

The next major campaign test begins October 3 when the candidates take part in a series of nationally-televised debates. Three presidential debates will be held, as well as one vice presidential debate between Republican Paul Ryan and the current Vice President Joe Biden.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs