Republicans Eager to Take on Obama

Delegates on the floor watching speakers at the Republican National Convention, Tampa, Florida, August 28, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
Delegates on the floor watching speakers at the Republican National Convention, Tampa, Florida, August 28, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
TAMPA, Florida — Thousands of U.S. Republicans have gathered in Florida this week for their national nominating convention and many are eager to take on President Barack Obama in the November election.

The delegates seem to be upbeat about the chances of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney defeating President Obama.  And they seem to feed off of each other's enthusiasm on the convention floor as they listen to speeches from Republican officials both well known and obscure.

There is a sense of pride in the delegation from Romney's home state of Massachusetts, says delegate Jeanie Falcone.  "Absolutely! Are you kidding? We are thrilled," she said.

A short distance away is another excited group from Wisconsin.  Wisconsin is the home state of Romney's vice presidential running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, and delegate Kevin Barthel is eager to share the moment.

"Fantastic.  In fact, everybody knows Paul Ryan and that's the kind of guy he is.  He meets with people, he talks to people and he's a regular guy,” Barthel said.

Romney defeated several Republican rivals to clinch his party's nomination, including Texas Congressman Ron Paul.  Paul retains an energetic following of supporters who like his positions on reducing the size of the central government and bringing home U.S. military forces from conflicts and bases around the world.

Some Paul supporters have complained that the Romney campaign and the Republican Party establishment are not treating them with respect.

But Texas delegate Phillip Huffines, who is a Paul supporter, says he feels otherwise.  

"I think in all the conventions there is always something that goes on that people like to get worked up about.  But no, the Republican Party has treated Doctor Paul fairly,” Huffines said.

Some of the delegates seem more motivated by the thought of defeating President Obama than of rallying around Romney. But Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, one of the longest serving Republicans in Congress, says he is confident the party will unify behind Romney.

"We are in a mess, and we are in a mess because we have had too much federal government in our lives, too much taxation, too much spending, too much bureacracy, too much control of people's lives, and frankly Mitt knows how to cut through all that mess," Hatch said.

U.S. political conventions offered much more excitement decades ago, when the identity of the presidential candidates was often in doubt until the final vote.

Former CBS TV anchorman and reporter Dan Rather is attending his 28th political convention.

“There used to be things decided at the conventions.  But conventions no longer decide anything because it's all decided before we get here.  So conventions, whether they be Republican or Democrat, are now more info-mercials, spin, propaganda.  That is not said as a criticism but rather how they are trying to connect and relate to the audience,” Rather said.

Rather has his own exciting convention memories including the time he was manhandled by police while covering the raucous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

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