Who Is Thursday Night’s Mystery Convention Speaker?

"To Be Announced" has a prime speaking slot late in the Thursday program.

The Wall Street Journal notes something interesting in the updated convention schedule:

TAMPA, Fla. – Republican convention planners appear to have a surprise planned for those tuning in Thursday night.

Buried deep in the convention schedule released Monday is a vague reference to a mystery speaker scheduled for the event’s final evening. “To Be Announced” has a prime speaking slot late in the Thursday program.

By then, speakers from Mitt Romney’s church will have taken the stage that night. The co-founder of Staples office-supply chain will have spoken about working with Mr. Romney during his time at Bain Capital. State officials from Massachusetts will have talked about the former governor. Olympians will have already thanked the presidential candidate for leading the 2002 Winter Games.

The only other speakers to follow “To Be Announced” will be Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Mr. Romney himself, suggesting that the unnamed guest may appear during the 10 p.m. hour when the networks all will be broadcasting the convention.

Convention planners have spread the announcement of the speakers for this week’s gathering across a few weeks, slowly revealing the names of those who landed coveted slots. But until Monday, it appeared that all the blanks had been filled in, as most high-profile Republicans already had speaking roles or had explained their absence from the convention.

The Journal lists some possibilities at the end of the article, many of which, such as Ted Nugent, David Petreaus, Chelsy Sullenberger, and Nancy Reagan, seem rather far-fetched. They also list Zell Miller, but I don’t see any reason why he’d be given a prime time spot on what’s likely to be the most watched night of the convention. The other name? Sarah Palin. Would the GOP fly Palin down from Alaska for what would be an appearance that would last mere minutes? I don’t know, but I do know the list of potential high profile Republicans who would be likely to fill that spot is fairly short.

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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. nitpicker says:

    Holographic Reagan’s going to show up like Tupac at Coachella.

  2. James H says:

    Edward Cullen?

  3. Me Me Me says:

    Rush Limbaugh is going to waddle over from Palm Beach. He, Chris Christie & Mike Huckabee are going to put on a panel discussion on the importance of self-control as a Conservative value.

  4. rudderpedals says:

    Surprise! Rafalca will be neighing in the nominee.

    I can smell the desperation from here

  5. Dave Schuler says:


    That was my first thought, too.

  6. Rob in CT says:


    Heh, like a bizarro Hari Seldon.

  7. al-Ameda says:

    Of that list, I hope it’s Zell Miller or Sarah Palin, for obvious reasons. Miller represents angry resent white guys who have changed parties, and Palin represents angry white people who want to go out on a date with her.

    Other wise, I hope that GOP is reaching out for the youth spray-tan vote and they bring in Snooki.

  8. John Burgess says:

    Nah… it’s going to be Bill Clinton.

  9. al-Ameda says:

    @John Burgess:

    Nah… it’s going to be Bill Clinton.

    I think you’re on to something here John.

    I almost threw Chelsea into my posted suggestion, but I chickened out. Now that would be worth pay-per-view.

  10. PJ says:

    One of the Joe’s announcing that he’s switching party. Lieberman or Manchin.

  11. Davebo says:
  12. rodney dill says:


  13. David Brooks is probably a long shot at this point.

  14. @rodney dill:

    I only learned of TOTUS today! I must travel in good circles.

  15. Gustopher says:

    Maybe they are having trouble filling the spot, since they don’t want someone who will come off as a raving loon.

  16. PJ says:

    There’s no reason not to announce a speaker, unless it’s an upset that you would want to keep secret up and until the announcement.
    It’s none of the people on WSJ’s list, since there wouldn’t be a reason for keeping anyone of them secret (except for Petreaus, but if anyone actually thinks that a sitting CIA director would do this, then I got a bridge to sell.), and it certainly isn’t Palin.

    So, it’s a party switcher, and considering how important it is for the Republicans to gain control of the Senate, it’s clear that it’s a Senator.

  17. PJ says:

    The joke answer would be The Trump Birther Hour.

  18. Tillman says:

    It’s going to be an Obama impersonator.