WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

RNC 2012 Roundup: Romney’s Big Night; Clint Eastwood’s Bizarre Antics

Mitt Romney finally got to accept his nomination as the GOP’s candidate for president last night, and he did so with a gusto — and a fist bump — that showed how long he’d been waiting for that moment. His speech focused on the economy and how President Obama has left the country worse off than it was four years ago.

Romney did well, by most accounts. Washington Post's Chris Cillizza called the nominee’s speech "very, very solid," ABC's Rick Klein noted that Romney's remarks on the economy were "Mitt at his best." NPR’s Liz Halloran also gave the candidate kudos, although she noted the night overall was "no game change." 

That's in part because Romney shared the spotlight with surprise guest Clint Eastwood, who spoke way over his time and employed an odd tactic of speaking to an invisible President Obama, who was supposedly sitting in an empty chair to Eastwood’s left. Not surprisingly, there was some reaction: 

  • Cillizza called it the “worst speech of the convention.”
  • The Romney campaign felt the need to react quickly by issuing a statement during their candidate’s speech, downplaying the seriousness of Eastwood's speech.
  • Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was not impressed; he told a Wall Street Journal reporter that the “schtick” from Eastwood “may not have worked that well.”  
  • Ann Romney politely called Eastwood “unique,” on CBS This Morning, adding that she looked surprised during the chair bit because she wasn’t expecting it. 
  • The Obama campaign had some fun with the chair meme on Twitter, tweeting a photo of the President in his official POTUS chair with the note “This seat’s taken.”  
  • And of course, within minutes, someone created an Invisible Obama Twitter account.


On a more local note, WAMU 88.5 had lots of coverage of local reactions to the convention Thursday: 

  • Virginia delegates at the convention told Matt Laslo that they’re excited about Romney’s candidacy, and provided insight into how they’re helping the GOP win their swing state. 
  • Evan Draim, the convention’s youngest delegate and a Northern Virginia resident, talked with Kojo Nnamdi Show producer Brendan Sweeney about the youth vote, student loans and being taken seriously as a teenage delegate.
  • Former DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee talked with The Kojo Nnamdi Show on the sidelines of the convention, noting that Republicans and Democrats really aren't that far apart on education policy. She also demurred when asked if she would take a position in a Romney Department of Education. 
  • In more education policy discussion, Patrick Mara, a Ward 1 Republican and member of the state board of education, also spoke with Kojo and accused the D.C. Council of "micromanaging" the schools chancellor in D.C. Public Schools. 
  • And two local Republican businessmen attending the convention spoke on the Kojo Nnamdi Show about why Mitt Romney’s economic policies make more sense for businesses and government contractors.

Other headlines coming out of the last day of the convention: 

Stay tuned next week for roundups of the DNC.

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