Republican Convention Builds Towards Climax

Mitt Romney, vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) and Campaign Manager Matt Rhoades pose for a staff portrait on the steps of the stage at the Republican National Convention, August 30, 2012.Mitt Romney, vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) and Campaign Manager Matt Rhoades pose for a staff portrait on the steps of the stage at the Republican National Convention, August 30, 2012.
x
Mitt Romney, vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) and Campaign Manager Matt Rhoades pose for a staff portrait on the steps of the stage at the Republican National Convention, August 30, 2012.
Mitt Romney, vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) and Campaign Manager Matt Rhoades pose for a staff portrait on the steps of the stage at the Republican National Convention, August 30, 2012.
Alex Villarreal
TAMPA, Fla. — The Republican National Convention is building Thursday toward its climactic final hour when presidential candidate Mitt Romney will accept the party's nomination in the most important speech of his career.  Reactions to Wednesday night's program have focused on a speech by Romney's running mate, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.  But foreign policy also had a prominent role.

On the convention floor, the crowd erupted in cheers as Paul Ryan blasted President Barack Obama's economic record.

“So here we are, $16 trillion in debt and still he does nothing.  In Europe, massive debts have put entire governments at risk of collapse, and still he does nothing.  And all we have heard from this president and his team are attacks on anyone who dares to point out the obvious.  They have no answer to this simple reality: We need to stop spending money we don't have,” Ryan said.

President Obama's campaign accused Ryan of “breathtaking falsehoods.”

Before Ryan took the stage, it was the president's foreign policy approach that faced blistering criticism. Obama's 2008 election rival, Senator John McCain, faulted the president on defense spending and for not doing more to support the revolutions in the Middle East.

“In other times, when other courageous people fought for their freedom against sworn enemies of the United States, American presidents - both Republicans and Democrats - have acted to help them prevail. Sadly, for the lonely voices of dissent in Syria, and Iran, and elsewhere, who feel forgotten in their darkness, and sadly for us, as well, our president is not being true to our values,” McCain said.

Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice echoed McCain's comments, calling uncertainty over where America stands the “question of the hour.”

“If we are not inspired to lead again, one of two things will happen.  Either no one will lead and there will be chaos, or someone will fill the vacuum who does not share our values.  My fellow Americans, we do not have a choice.  We cannot be reluctant to lead, and you cannot lead from behind,” Rice said.

But Heather Hurlburt, executive director of the Democratic-leaning National Security Network, says the vision of the U.S. as an active agent of liberty has already been tested and failed.  She said it was surprising to see Rice front and center at the convention.

“It was quite extraordinary to see the chief foreign policy voice at the convention being taken by the person who as much as anyone is identified with the failed organization, planning and thinking that led up to the Iraq war and also to the early missteps in Afghanistan that really wasted the good things that U.S. troops did at first on the ground in 2002,” Hurlburt said.

Even some within the Republican Party are concerned. Texas delegate Tom Pauken, a former member of the Reagan administration, says he hopes the current approach to dealing with Islamic extremism will not be continued in a Romney administration.

“I would like to see us get away from this policy of excessive military interventionism.  I think we've made the problem of radicalism worse rather than better by the policies that have been pursued by this administration and the previous administration,” Pauken said.

Before Wednesday, foreign policy had largely taken a back seat to the economy at the convention, and it is not likely to be a focus on Thursday.

Romney, a former governor of the state of Massachusetts, will use his speech to reintroduce himself to the nation and build the case for his candidacy.

Hawaii delegate Lauren Berghell is optimistic.

“Governor Romney has so much experience, especially working with deficits and debt and turning it into surplus, and he knows what it's like to work in the private sector. He's a businessman, and I feel like he has the experience and the will to move America forward,” Berghell said.

After the Republicans wrap up their convention Thursday night, all eyes will turn to Charlotte, North Carolina where President Obama will receive the official nomination of his Democratic Party.
Loading...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs