Republicans Begin To Set Convention Speakers

With the Republican National Convention a mere three weeks away, the party is beginning to announce the names of the people who will be speaking to the gathered crowd. Yesterday, for example, we learned of a trio of female Republicans along with a group of present and former Governors:

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley – three women rumored to be under consideration as Mitt Romney’s running mate – will have high profile speaking roles at the Republican National Convention, organizers will announce Monday.

The naming of the three women most likely means that Romney’s campaign is no longer vetting their backgrounds, if they ever did.

In addition, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Arizona Sen. John McCain and Florida Gov. Rick Scott will also have prime time speaking roles at the four day event that begins August 27 in Tampa, a GOP official confirms.

Then, a second list of speakers was released, including one of Romney’s former rivals:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s most bitter rival for his party’s nomination has agreed to speak at the nominating convention in Tampa, Florida, later this month.

Rick Santorum, the former presidential candidate who lobbed harsh criticism at Romney during some bitter primary contests, will join a host of other big-name Republicans as headline speakers, according to Republican sources.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will also speak at the convention, along with Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Tea Party hero and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Paul spent much of the year campaigning against Romney on behalf of his father, Texas Congressman Ron Paul.

Although it hasn’t been officially announced, we already know that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be giving the keynote address.  Names still hanging out there include former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as well as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker. Of course, some of these men are on Romney’s short list for Vice-President so if there name is announced we can assume that they are not going to be the nominee (so far the names announced are people who were likely never in serious contention).

Also hanging out there are Sarah Palin and Ron Paul. As I noted last week, some people are speculating that Palin is being frozen out of the convention, but there have been many comments from Republican officials that say otherwise. Obviously, having Palin speak at the convention would be slightly risky for the party but freezing her out also has its risks, especially if she decided to respond by “going rogue.” As for Paul, the fact that his son will be speaking makes it unlikely he will be speaking himself, and in any case there’s no way he’ll be allowed to speak unless he endorses the nominee and clears his speech with the Romney campaign.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    The list makes sense and generally speaking is a good one, save for the bizarre inclusion of Rand Paul. As for the senior Paul it’s difficult to believe they’ll make the mistake of letting him speak, unless it’s during the workday when very few people are paying any attention.

    Concerning the veep, it’s hard to ignore how far to the center Rubio has flung himself in recent weeks, which normally would be a tell-tale sign. Obviously Portman also would have to be at the very top of the short list.

    It’ll be interesting. Team Romney is inept in the abstract sense, but as far as Republican campaigns are concerned they’re actually quite good. It’s conceivable that they won’t step on their dicks too much, which in and of itself would be noteworthy.

  2. ASK says:

    “It’s conceivable that they won’t step on their dicks too much, which in and of itself would be noteworthy.”

    As in Dick Cheney?

  3. al-Ameda says:

    Tea Party hero and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.

    Except for the fact that his first name is “Rand” I do not understand the Tea Party’s hero worship of Rand Paul.

    Also, I was sorry to see that Orly Taitz, the Californian who is trying to keep the Birther flame alive, is not an invited speaker.