Matthew Dowd: “This convention provides an opportunity and a possibility for Romney to grasp this moment. The only way he can do this is improve his personal standing with voters. He needs to get them to see him more positively as a leader and get them to trust that he has the their interests at heart. He needs to connect at a gut level with voters and shift their opinion of him from negative to at least neutral, if not positive. His campaign is making a mistake if they use this convention to primarily attack Obama. They need to make it about Mitt Romney.”
Even though Tampa’s strip clubs have advertised special deals for Republican delegates attending the GOP convention, the Tampa Bay Times says business hasn’t picked up.
“They all braced for a windfall from the Republican National Convention — three times a Super Bowl weekend was the industry number thrown around — but at least early Sunday morning many wondered if conservatives were being, well, conservative.”
Here are the highlights of the Republican convention schedule:
Monday: RNC Chair Reince Priebus gavels in the convention at 2:00 pm ET. No speakers planned.
Tuesday: Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, Former Rep. Artur Davis, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Ann Romney, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with the keynote address.
Wednesday: Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, Condoleeza Rice, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Rep. Paul Ryan.
Thursday: Sen. Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney.
“There is a distinct possibility that the 2012 Republican National Convention will be cancelled,” the Boston Globe reports.
A series of conversations with convention organizers made clear the Romney campaign realizes that Tropical Storm Isaac’s “potentially horrid wrath could eclipse any bunting-draped imagery they generate inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum. That would render the whole convention exercise a net loss for their candidate, rather than a positive force propelling him into the fall campaign.”
New York Times:
“Republicans were wary of the optics of television coverage split
between the revelry and partisanship surrounding Mr. Romney’s nomination
and the threat of the storm making landfall in Louisiana or Mississippi
seven years to the week after Hurricane Katrina left an American city
A new Latino Decisions/impreMedia poll finds that 65% of Latino voters want to re-elect President Obama and 26% while prefer Mitt Romney.
“Some possible reasons for the stagnation of the Republican candidate are also reflected in the survey. One is the fact that Latino voters primarily blame former President George W. Bush for the state of the economy and not necessarily to President Obama. 68% blamed Bush for the economic downturn of recent years and only 14% blamed Obama.”
The female wing of a civil rights group is urging women in Togo to stage a week-long sex strike — withholding sex from their husbands or partners — to demand the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe, the AP reports.
Said one of the women leaders to the BBC: “We have many means to oblige men to understand what women want in Togo. If men refuse to hear our cries we will hold another demonstration that will be more powerful than a sex strike.”
Mitt Romney conceded President Obama has succeeded in making him a less likable person in an interview with Politico but he offered a defiant retort to those hoping he will open up this week: “I am who I am.”
“Romney quoted that Popeye line three times in a 30-minute interview… swatting away advice from Republicans to focus on connecting with voters in a more emotional, human way at this convention.”
“The issue seems close to the surface for Romney. He even used the same line in an interview with Fox News that aired Sunday: “Remember that Popeye line: ‘I am what I am and that’s all what I am.'”
“The Republican Party needs to re-establish its philosophy of the big tent with principles. The philosophy you hear from time to time, which is unfortunate, is one of exclusion rather than inclusion. You have to be expanding the base, expanding the party, because compared to the Democratic Party, the Republican Party is a minority party.”
— Former Vice President Dan Quayle, quoted by the New York Times.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) “wasn’t willing to give up the New Jersey statehouse to be Mitt Romney’s running mate because he doubted they’d win,” the New York Post reports.
“Romney’s top aides had demanded Christie step down as the state’s chief executive because if he didn’t, strict pay-to-play laws would have restricted the nation’s largest banks from donating to the campaign — since those banks do business with New Jersey. But Christie adamantly refused to sacrifice his post, believing that being Romney’s running mate wasn’t worth the gamble.”
“The tough-talking governor believed Romney severely damaged his campaign by releasing only limited tax returns and committing several gaffes during his international tour in July. Certain Romney was doomed, Christie stuck to his guns — even as some of his own aides pushed him to run, another source said.”
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Mitt Romney edging President Obama, 47% to 46%, among registered voters — “barely changed from the deadlocked contest in early July.”
“The findings continue a months-long pattern, with neither the incumbent nor the challenger able to sustain clear momentum, despite airing hundreds of millions of dollars in television ads — most of them negative — and exchanging some of the harshest early rhetoric seen in a modern presidential campaign.”
New York Times: “With the U.S. presidential election just over two months away and the Republican convention opening on Tuesday, it is not lost on either camp that American expatriates might make a difference this year, much like the role they played in Florida in 2000. Overseas voters, especially military voters, cast crucial votes in a close election ultimately decided by the Supreme Court in favor of George W. Bush.”
“The common caricature is that expats tend to be affluent, or
military-linked, and thus conservative; or unpatriotic malcontents, and
thus left-leaning. The actual picture is more complicated.”
“I do think that the president’s campaign of personal vilification and demonization probably draws some people away from me.”
— Mitt Romney, in an interview with USA Today, explaining why he’s running behind President Obama in the polls.
Mike Huckabee rallied hundreds of Southern Baptists on a conference call in support of Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), offering advice about how they can help the embattled Missouri Senate candidate stay in the race, Politico reports.
Said Huckabee: “This could be a Mount Carmel moment. You know, you bring your gods. We’ll bring ours. We’ll see whose God answers the prayers and brings fire from heaven. That’s kind of where I’m praying: that there will be fire from heaven, and we’ll see it clearly, and everyone else will to.”
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) told the New York Times that GOP convention planners had offered him an opportunity to speak before delegates under two conditions: that he deliver remarks vetted by the Romney campaign, and that he give a full-fledged endorsement of Mr. Romney. He declined.
Said Paul: “It wouldn’t be my speech. That would undo everything I’ve done in the last 30 years. I don’t fully endorse him for president.”
Charles Mahtesian: “Paul’s refusal to play ball stands in contrast to his son, Kentucky
Sen. Rand Paul, who at some personal political cost has endorsed Mitt
Romney’s bid — and has a speaking slot.”
“When you have a party that says coded things, that makes totally false
ads up, falsely saying the president is trying to undo welfare reform, I
think you’re going to see a lot of heavily and not-so-subtly coded
messages from the Romney-Ryan campaign.”
New York Times: “Having survived a summer of attacks but still trailing the president narrowly in most national polls, Mr. Romney’s campaign remains focused intently on the economy as the issue that can defeat Mr. Obama. But in a marked change, Mr. Romney has added a harder edge to a message that for most of this year was focused on his business and job-creation credentials, injecting volatile cultural themes into the race.”
“The strategic shift in the campaign message that has been unfolding in recent weeks reflects a conclusion among Mr. Romney’s advisers that disappointment with Mr. Obama’s economic stewardship is not sufficient to propel Mr. Romney to victory on its own.”
A new Columbus Dispatch poll in Ohio finds the presidential race a dead heat with President Obama and Mitt Romney each at 45%.
Caveat: The poll is a mail-in survey.
“The Obama and Romney campaigns spend all day beating the pulp out of each other over policy differences, big and small. But when it comes to the political landscape and the dynamics of who prevails, the two sides agree on an awful lot,” Politico reports.
“Both sides predict the race will remain tied in the national polls — and in the 10 states that matter most — until three weeks before Election Day, if not longer. Both think the race will finish 51-49, or closer. But both believe that if one candidate could win bigger — and reach a tipping point that provides a real cushion — it would be Mitt Romney, pulling away at the very end because he crossed the plausibility threshold after the third and final debate.”