The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Rocky On The Road: #GOP12 First Full Day - "Contentious, Moving, Inspirational" #yourconvention

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The Rockefeller Center is happy to bring you first-hand coverage from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions this year.  Ester Cross '15 shares observations and reflections for this "Rocky On The Road" blog series. 

 Read on for Ester's most recent update.

The first full day of the RNC was at once contentious, moving and inspirational. The afternoon hours, when the conventional hall was half empty, highlighted controversy within the Republican Party.

When Congressman Ron Paul walked into the convention floor, a shouting match broke out between supporters chanting the congressman’s name and shouting “let him speak” and opponents chanting “Mitt Romney.” Paul and his supporters have been visible during the convention holding a counter-convention on Sunday during which Paul assured his audience the Republican Party would eventually drift into his ideological “tent.”

Paul supporters have also been leading voices against new RNC rules that will allow the candidate with majority support to veto delegates not in support of his nomination. They continued to voice their discontent during the candidate nomination process. Ten Paul delegates from Maine, who were denied casting their votes through the new rule changes, began shouting and interrupting RNC chairman Reince Preibus. In a symbolic gesture, the delegates walked out of the convention in protest of the new rules.

In the evening, Party leaders including Rick Santorum, Kelly Ayotte, Scott Walker and Nikki Haley delivered speeches to great applause and excitement. These speakers affirmed their support for Mitt Romney, criticized the president and his policies, and rallied their supporters for the Republican ticket.  See more about the convention opening in my post for Talk Radio News Service.

In her first major address to the nation, Ann Romney delivered a speech that tackled some of the major attacks Mitt Romney has received since his run for office. A delegate from Louisiana was so moved by the speech that she turned to me and praised the Romney family as a bastion of true American values. The audience erupted into applause throughout the speech and hoisted up banners with the slogans, “We love Ann” and “Women love Ann.” See more photos here.

Ann Romney spoke about family, charity and Mitt Romney’s commitment to the nation. Responding to criticism that the Republican Party is waging a “war on women,” Ann Romney spoke directly to women acknowledging their hard work, commitment to family, and role to “hold this country together.” She also addressed criticisms of Mitt Romney’s success in Bain Capital, as governor of Massachusetts and president of the 2002 Winter Olympics by making the case that American values passed down through the generations encourage success. She then tackled perceptions of Mitt Romney’s aloofness by speaking about his “quiet” acts of charity. I have published an article about Ann Romney's speech as well.

Whether or not perceptions of Mitt Romney are changing among the American people, the mood at the convention is positive and expectant.

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences