TAMPA – As the Republican presidential ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan jetted away, this bombshell was making the rounds, courtesy of Politico.com:
Billionaire industrialist David Koch, who is helping steer millions of dollars to elect Mitt Romney and congressional Republicans, on Thursday [said] he disagrees with the GOP’s stance on gay marriage and believes the U.S. needs to consider raising taxes to balance the budget….
Koch said he thinks the U.S. military should withdraw from the Middle East and said the government should consider defense spending cuts, as well as possible tax increases to get its fiscal house in order — a stance anathema to many in the Republican Party.
“I think it’s essential to be able to achieve spending reductions and maybe it’s going to require some tax increases,” he said. “We got to come close to balancing the budget; otherwise, we’re in a terrible deep problem.”
Whether you loved it or hated its message, cherish the fact of this Republican National Convention that just ended, because it may be the last of its kind that you see. The major TV broadcast networks, despite their waning power, have successfully dictated a new length to the major political parties – they’ll serve as unpaid venues for Democratic and Republican commercials for three days, and no longer.
And only one hour each day. It was the latter time restriction that got Republicans into trouble last night. Rather than lean on some very effective, very emotional testimony of Mitt Romney’s personal friends, the campaign leaned on Clint Eastwood, the “mystery guest” touted through the week by the campaign, to quickly create a large audience at the front of that hour – with the hope that viewers would hang on to see the presidential candidate accept his nomination.
In that sense, however bizarre Eastwood’s act was, the strategy may have succeeded.
Where GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan delivered angry attacks a night earlier, Mitt Romney on Thursday had the air of a father demanding the car keys from a teenaged Barack Obama who had broken curfew:
I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division.
And if you didn’t choke up at the story of George Romney and the daily rose he gave his wife, you’re not human. But this may have been Romney’s most effective line for wooing independents:
You know there’s something wrong with the kind of job he’s done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him.
According to my AJC colleague Daniel Malloy, Georgia delegates leaving the Tampa Bay Times Forum for the last time liked the approach:
“I think it really energized the base,” said Joseph Gullett, chairman of the Paulding County Republican Party. “Hopefully it energized people who weren’t Romney supporters before. It shows his direction about the issues.”
Perhaps the most striking aspects of the speech were personal ones, when Romney talked about raising his children and choked up when discussing his late parents.
Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said the address showed “the real part of Romney that has not been displayed — the man that loves others that’s willing to give himself.”
Hudgens added: “I couldn’t have said what he said without choking up. It made me realize how real he is.”
Bill Knowles, of Macon, said that as compared with the 2008 Republican Convention, this event was crisp and focused on the economy. Yet he was impressed that Romney covered a wide range – both policy-wise and personally.
“There was some humor; there was emotion; it was a well-rounded speech,” Knowles said. “Romney is not the bombastic Chris Christie type. He’s more intellectual. He’s a passionate speaker, and that’s what came through.”
Here at the Tampa Bay Grand Hyatt, our difficult neighbor has just left.
Reporters covering the Georgia delegation, which is housed here, have been relegated to a cluster of cabanas that are on the Hyatt property, but are about a quarter-mile away from the huge hotel.
It would be rude to suppose that the distance was meant to allow Georgia Republicans to party without fear of observation.
But there was an advantage. The cabanas are apparently where the hotel prefers to house guests with pets, or guests who smoke. For the past five days, we have entertained U.S. House Speaker John Boehner as a neighbor. He didn’t have a dog.
The first tip-off was the Mini Cooper with the “Boehner for Speaker” bumper sticker. The second was the full-throated U.S. Secret Service protection.
But this must be said: There was no loud music, no empties left on the lawn. And except for the fact that, while fetching ice, one was required to keep hands in sight at all times, the neighborhood was a very safe place to stroll – any hour, day or night.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider