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.
    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