News / USA

Republicans Descend on Tampa, Florida

Republicans Descend on Tampa, Floridai
|| 0:00:00
X
August 27, 2012 3:05 AM
The thousands of Republican Party members descending on the city of Tampa are joined by an unwanted visitor - a tropical storm that threatens to reach hurricane strength. This week, Republicans will nominate a former state governor, Mitt Romney, as their candidate for U.S. president at the Republican National Convention. The party chose to hold its convention in Florida, a hurricane-prone southeastern state that most analysts say Romney must win if he is to defeat President Barack Obama in November. VOA’s Suzanne Presto has more from Tampa.
Suzanne Presto
The thousands of Republican Party members descending on the city of Tampa are joined by an unwanted visitor - a tropical storm that threatens to reach hurricane strength.

This week, Republicans will nominate a former state governor, Mitt Romney, as their candidate for U.S. president at the Republican National Convention. The party chose to hold its convention in Florida, a hurricane-prone southeastern state that most analysts say Romney must win if he is to defeat President Barack Obama in November.

Barbara Denti Pool is decorating the historic Italian Club of Tampa with red elephants, the color and symbol of the Republican Party.

“We're thrilled, absolutely thrilled, to have everyone here,” she said.

Denti Pool says Republican candidate Mitt Romney is the best choice to help the economy rebound.

“We all want a good, honest life, and we want to prosper like we saw our immigrant parents and grandparents [do]. They built this town,” she said.

“This town” is Tampa, Florida, known for its water views, sultry climate and, for these few weeks, elephants aplenty.

“For somebody who is really into politics, we've got the elephant,” said Jon Brovold, who sells assorted Republican-themed souvenirs near the site of the Republican National Convention.

“We've got Mitt Romney here, the puppet, and this has been very popular,” he said.

But former Massachusetts governor Romney isn't popular with everyone. Rallies against the Republican candidate are planned here.

Florida is known as a “swing state” because neither political party can count on winning over its voters in the American state-by-state winner-take-all system. In 2008, Florida’s electoral bounty went to Democratic President Barack Obama. In 2004, it went to Republican George W. Bush.

It's also impossible to rely on the weather in the so-called Sunshine State. Tropical Storm Isaac approached Florida, forcing airlines to cancel flights and the Republican Party to delay the start of the convention.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Saturday.

"I've made the decision based on the fact that we know we are going to have a very strong tropical storm and possibly a hurricane - I'm going to withdraw from all our RNC [Republican National Committee] activities on Monday,” he said.

In Tampa's Latin Quarter, Ybor City, Cuban heritage is served up with fried plantains and Cuban sandwiches at Gaspar’s Grotto. Nearly a quarter of Florida's residents are of Hispanic origin, and the Republicans need their votes. Romney campaigned in Miami, Florida, earlier this month with his son, Craig.

Long before Romney secured the Republican nomination and chose Paul Ryan to be his vice presidential running mate, the Republican party picked Tampa to be the site of its convention.

“Initially, I thought it was a smart move. It's an obvious swing state. It's a way to appeal to Latino voters," said Professor Jennifer Lawless, who teaches politics at American University in Washington D.C.  "But now I think they also have a lot of making up to do because they need to demonstrate to the Florida voters that a Romney/Ryan administration would not ultimately throw seniors off a cliff.”

Ryan wants to make controversial changes to Medicare, the government healthcare plan for elderly Americans, which is sure to be a big issue in a state whose warm climate makes it a favorite place for retirees.

The convention, held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, runs until August 30.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid