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.

    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora