Republicans Unite Behind Romney as Nomination Process Begins

    Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, second right, listens as Minnesota delegates casts their vote for Romney during Republican Convention, Aug. 28, 2012 Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, second right, listens as Minnesota delegates casts their vote for Romney during Republican Convention, Aug. 28, 2012
    x
    Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, second right, listens as Minnesota delegates casts their vote for Romney during Republican Convention, Aug. 28, 2012
    Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, second right, listens as Minnesota delegates casts their vote for Romney during Republican Convention, Aug. 28, 2012
    Alex Villarreal
    TAMPA, Florida — Conservative members of the U.S. Republican Party set aside misgivings about their presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, as the party's nominating convention got under way Tuesday. Hours before Romney was formally nominated in a roll call of delegates from the 50 states, stalwarts of a conservative movement that fought fiercely for that nomination signaled they are ready to back Romney in November's general election.

    One of the key speakers on Tuesday's convention program is Rick Santorum, a champion of traditional family values who emerged as Romney's toughest challenger in the primary process. Speaking to delegates at a nearby Tampa, Florida, hotel early Tuesday, Santorum said Romney has the right message for America.

    During the primaries, Santorum had argued that Romney is too moderate to be the Republican candidate.  But Tuesday, he said he was won over by Romney's selection as a running mate of Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, who is known for his fiscal conservatism and opposition to abortion.

    “If there's one thing that really jazzed me up over the past couple of weeks, it was the fact that Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan as his running mate.  And I say that because what that said to me as a conservative, what that said to me was that Mitt Romney wants to make this campaign about ideas.  He wants to make this campaign about his vision, our vision.” Santorum said.

    That vision includes calls for lower taxes and smaller government, as well as opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.

    Santorum, who is known for his deep religious convictions, also talked about faith, bringing up an issue that has been little addressed in the campaign so far.

    “Yes, this election's about the economy, it's about job creation, it's about health care.  But it's about even bigger things than that.  It's about an assault on religious liberty,” Santorum said.

    Up to now, Romney has said little about his own religious beliefs as a member of the little-understood Mormon Church.  But Republican Congressman Randy Forbes said Romney's faith is one of his strengths.

    "I'm excited that we've got two candidates.  Governor Romney's committed to his faith; Paul Ryan's committed to his faith.  But most importantly, I think they're going to start saying that it's okay for Americans to believe in their faith whatever it is...and to stand up for that," Forbes said.

    On the convention floor, Republican speakers like Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz attacked President Barack Obama's handling of the nation's economy.  

    "President Obama's solution: more government, more taxes.  This is not the American Dream," Chaffetz said.
     
    The roll call vote, in which the candidate is formally chosen, was re-scheduled from Monday because of fears the convention would be disrupted by Hurricane Isaac.  Those fears eased Tuesday as the storm moved away from Florida, but Isaac continued to cast a different sort of shadow over the convention.

    Forecasters predicted the storm would strike the city of New Orleans with hurricane-force winds sometime Wednesday, threatening to distract attention from Romney's biggest showcase.

    President Obama demonstrated his own concern,  and perhaps stole a little attention from Romney, with a public appearance Tuesday morning to warn citizens in the path of the storm.

    "We're dealing with a big storm, and there could be significant flooding and other damage across a large area.  Now is not the time to tempt fate, now is not the time to dismiss official warnings.  You need to take this seriously,'' Obama said.

    The storm is also being taken seriously in Tampa.  Few at the convention have forgotten the damage done to the popularity of another Republican, former President George W. Bush, by what was seen as an inadequate response when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans seven years ago.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    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 Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    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.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora