Republican Convention To Break Tradition, Nominate Romney On Monday
The Republican National Convention will apparently be breaking with tradition by holding its nominating event, the roll call of the states, on Monday rather than the third day of the convention as usually occurs:
Mitt Romney’s quest to formally win the Republican Party’s presidential nomination is coming two days earlier than expected.
Mr. Romney will be elevated as the party’s standard bearer on Monday – not Wednesday as previously expected – to keep the official business of the roll call delegate vote from competing with broader themes of introducing Mr. Romney. Officials also are keeping an eye on a potential threat from Tropical Storm Isaac and considering concerns about a possible disruption from Ron Paul supporters at the Republican National Convention next week.
It is a change in the script from previous conventions, where the formal nomination usually takes place on the second to last night of the convention. It is a formality, and Mr. Romney will still deliver his acceptance speech on Thursday evening, but the change is significant and an effort to keep the convention focused tightly on Mr. Romney.
“The roll call will take place on Monday,” said Jim Dyke, a convention spokesman, who dismissed suggestions that the schedule had abruptly changed. “We will go through the roll call in alphabetical order all the way through.”
Russ Schriefer, a top strategist for the Romney campaign who is overseeing convention planning, said the roll call vote will be timed for Mr. Romney to formally clinch the nomination when the network news programs begin their broadcasts on Monday evening.
“They can immediately go to Mitt Romney who went over the top in the vote,” Mr. Schriefer said. “We want to get it out of the way and not deal with it on Tuesday or Wednesday.”
Some are speculating that the change has something to do with the continued threat that Hurricane Isaac may disrupt convention activities if it stays on its continued course. However, Mark Halperin noted today on Morning Joe that this change has actually been in part of the plan for awhile now, and that it was motivated at least in part to keep control of the proceedings by limiting any effort by Ron Paul supporters to cause a ruckus. Whatever the reason, though, it is somewhat of an odd choice only because the roll call has typically had a very traditional role in conventions. It’s usually the final event of the next-to-last night of the convention, and typically ends with the nominee, his running mate, and their spouses greeting the delegates, although not speaking. The next night, of course, the nominees given their acceptance speeches.
At least part of the reason for the change appears to be an effort by the RNC and the Romney campaign to maintain control over the convention by limiting the opportunities for restive Ron Paul delegates to disrupt the proceedings while the cameras are on. At the same time, the change also provides an opportunity to reschedule the speech of Mitt Romney’s best surrogate:
The Mitt Romney campaign is considering moving Ann Romney’s convention speech to Tuesday night in order to ensure that the candidate’s wife gets full primetime television coverage, sources familiar with the move tell POLITICO.
The debate over the move is ongoing but appears likely, as sources at multiple networks said that it is highly unlikely that the nets would decide to add an hour of primetime coverage on Monday night. Such a move would be expensive, require a great deal of last-minute planning, and could also lead to calls for an extra hour of Democratic convention coverage.
Moving Mrs. Romney’s speech seems like a no brainer to me. She’s been one of Romney’s best spokespersons throughout this campaign, and the more people that see the candidate’s wife speak, the better the opportunity to “humanize” him for a public made up of many people who haven’t been paying much attention to this race over the summer. Ann Romney leading in to Chris Christie’s keynote? Sounds like a good idea.