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.

    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.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.