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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Day 3 of the GOP Convention -- Pence Accepts as VP

The third night of the Republican convention is over.  The highlight of the evening was the acceptance speech by VP nominee Mike Pence.  Pence gave a great speech.  He introduced himself to America.  Most people had never seen his family before and only a few more knew about Pence's past accomplishments.  It certainly sounds like he's been a great governor of Indiana.  Pence also laid out the basis for selecting the Trump/Pence ticket over Hillary Clinton and whomever she chooses.  My favorite moment came when he spoke of Obama and Clinton telling America about our current economic stagnation and saying that it is the best America can do.  As Pence put it, it's not the best America can do, it's just the best Obama and Clinton can do.  Pence also made the case why Trump would keep us safe and re-establish law and order.  On issue after issue he put forth the GOP position and compared it to what little Hillary has said about where she stands.  It was a really great speech.

Before Pence, Eric Trump spoke, the third of the Trump children to do so.  Like the others, Eric gave a personal view of his father and explained how he came to run for office.  It's the kind of personal picture of the candidate that no one else but a family member could provide, and Trump has now had his wife and three of his children do a great job painting that picture.

Newt Gingrich also spoke.  In 15 minutes Newt made clear why he was almost chosen as the VP candidate rather than Pence.  Newt was able to explain the danger that the USA faces in today's world and the major mistake that would be made by selecting Hillary Clinton to lead us.  I've seen Newt speak many times before.  Tonight was typical Newt, which is to say that he was outstanding.

Moving earlier in the evening, we got to see Ted Cruz address the convention.  Cruz made clear why he was successful for so long as a candidate for president.  Of course, Cruz never said that he endorsed Trump, and the crowd did not like it.  I doubt that there are many people in the country who will base their vote in November on whether or not Cruz gave an endorsement.  I do know, however, that Cruz just gave away any chance he had to be the GOP nominee in the future.  The failure to endorse, despite his pledge to do so, will not be forgotten by the average GOP activist.

We also got a short statement from senator Marco Rubio.  There was no drama there.  Rubio made clear where he stands even though he fought Trump as hard as Cruz ever did during the campaign.  Unlike Cruz, Rubio has a bright future in the party if he is re-elected in November (which seems likely).

Without a doubt, the media will focus on whether or not Cruz endorsed Trump in his speech.  Indeed, when the convention was ending, MSNBC was busy replaying the end of Cruz's speech when the crowd expressed displeasure at his silence on the endorsement.  More important, however, (at least to me) was a focus group that I saw discuss their reaction to the evening.  These were undecided voters in Ohio.  About half of them said that they had moved either to voting for Trump/Pence or at least to leaning that way.  If there were similar reactions around the country, there should be a sizeable bump for Trump from the convention.

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