A nation of predominantly couch-bound television watchers got some bad news tonight, as President Barack Obama accepted his party's nomination and delivered the following line: "America's not about what can be done for us, it's about what can be done by us."
That sounds suspiciously like it would involve me doing something, a policy position I am generally opposed to. I would have preferred something more along the lines of: "America's not about what can be done for us, but if you'd like, I'll do that stuff for you, and can I get you some more Cheetos?"
Now that's a platform!
Obama, wrapping up the 2012 Democratic National Convention, went on to say: "You didn't elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth."
Again, Mr. President, I'm going to have to quibble with you a bit on that one. We Americans don't take Prozac and watch reality television because we want the unvarnished truth. We prefer more of a "here's kind of what's going on, but don't worry, it's all going to be fine" type of information flow.
Of course Obama's speech wasn't all about telling us to work harder and accept the cold realities of life.
He also took some time to slam his opponent, Mitt Romney, with a few patented presidential kidney punches. (Any injury from those are likely covered under Obamacare.)
The president mocked Romney for calling Russia our No. 1 enemy, then suggested that if you told a Republican you were getting a cold they'd tell you to "take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning."
Aside from that being a terrible, terrible joke, it was kind of unfair because Romney wasn't there to defend himself by having Paul Ryan do a thousand push-ups on Obama's face.
Anyhoo, the convention wrapped up with liberals in the building and in Whole Foods across the nation shaking with so much excitement they were in danger of spilling their gluten-free fruit smoothies.
"We are moving forward, America," Obama said.
Yes, and now we can thankfully leave two weeks of political conventions behind.
Manticore, John Kerry, and 'Myth' Romney 7:03 PM CDT
In advance of Barack Obama's big speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention, Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank got the crowd riled up by referring to Mitt Romney as "Myth" Romney.
Frank said that when Romney was governor of Massachusetts, the former venture capitalist's business experience didn't translate into many new jobs – thus the myth joke.
If the Romney campaign is smart, it will quickly find a positive mythical beast to associate with Romney. Like a manticore – the body of a lion with a human head and, let's say, known for its ability to turn around bad economies.
Continuing the evening's Massachusetts theme, Sen. John Kerry is expected to take the stage and go after Romney's foreign policy credentials. Anyone who remembers Kerry from his 2004 presidential run knows his speech will be intelligent and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz …………..
Early snippets of Obama's speech have been released and show that he'll "ask the country to rally around a set of goals on manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit."
That may sound a lot like what Mitt Romney – and every presidential candidate ever – talked about, but your only other viewing option is the Video Music Awards on MTV.
Oops. I probably shouldn't have mentioned that there's an option.
Dems take cover, but are they "soft on weather?" 10:37 AM CDT
President Barack Obama's big speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention has been moved from an outdoor stadium to a smaller indoor arena, supposedly because there's a threat of thunderstorms.
But many on the meteorological right aren't buying that, suggesting the move happened because the Obama campaign was worried it couldn't fill the stadium. Fueling these suspicions is the fact that, when I last checked, even Democrats don't melt when they get wet and the current forecast is calling for only a 30 percent chance of rain. (Is it possible Mitt Romney bought The Weather Channel?)
Republicans -- who stood strong in the face of a passing hurricane during their convention last week -- will undoubtedly use this development to reinforce their long-held belief that Democrats are "soft on weather."
While Obama is tonight's headliner, Joe Biden will also speak, aiming his words directly at hard-working, middle-class Americans. If it were up to me, he would give his speech from the front seat of a 1979 Dodge Charger, shirtless and holding a can of warm Busch beer. But nobody ever listens to me, so he'll likely just stand there and make a few mistakes.
Perhaps the best news is that after today, there are no more political conventions for four years and we can all go back to watching reality television, which is infinitely more fun that our current political reality.
(Rex W. Huppke, writing from Chicago, is casting satirical light on the Democratic convention this week. Scroll down to read his commentaries on the Republican convention last week.)
"Ladies-man street cred" 11:13 PM CDT
While competing against the first NFL game of the season, Democratic icon Bill Clinton took his speech into overtime tonight at the Democratic National Convention, appearing for a while like he might keep talking until Election Day.
But it didn't matter. The crowd ate his words up like fried dough at an Arkansas county fair. (I'm trying to sound colloquial like he does, but I'm not very good at it.)
Clinton started off cracking jokes, saying: "We are here to nominate a president and I've got one in mind." (Presumably, it was Barack Obama, not Hillary Clinton.)
Then he maintained his ladies-man street cred by briefly flirting with the first lady: "I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama." Then he talked. And talked. And wagged his fingers quite a bit. And said some things that made you want to smile and give ol' Bubba a big hug. And then he talked some more and you kind of started feeling tired.
And at the end, Obama came out and got one of those much-desired Clinton hugs. Then they blasted "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, because apparently it's illegal to play any music recorded after 1990 at a political convention.
Day 2 lost to allegations that Dems hate God? 8:19 PM CDT After Michelle Obama's widely praised speech last night, things appeared to be going well at the Democratic National Convention. And in keeping with Democratic tradition, the party quickly found a way to put an end to that.
After criticism from Mitt Romney and the Republican Party, Democratic delegates swiftly rewrote their convention platform this afternoon to reinstate a mention of God and to refer to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. (They should now change Obama's campaign slogan from "Forward" to "Forward … Now Back a Little … Now Forward … Bring 'er Back a Titch.")
These changes to the original changes were met on the convention floor with some agreement and some rather loud boos. As soon as the boos settled down, it's likely the sound of Republicans licking their chops was deafening.
Not known for its subtlety, the popular conservative Web site Drudge Report ran the headline: "They Booed Putting God Back!" And just like that, Day 2 of the convention was lost to allegations that Democrats: hate God; hate Israel; and are just generally kind of a ham-handed lot.
At this point, one can imagine a good Joe Biden gaffe would be a welcome distraction.
Former President Bill Clinton will be taking the stage later this evening. Don't worry Democrats. He will feel your pain.
NFL matchup vs. more speeches 3:23 PM CDT Hey, America. Shout it with me: ARE YOU READY FOR SOME ... more Democratic convention?
The first game of the NFL season is tonight, a highly anticipated matchup between the (presumably liberal) New York Giants and the (presumably conservative) Dallas Cowboys. But it overlaps coverage of the Democratic National Convention.
And while we all love hearing a good partisan political speech that in no way sounds like the other 735 speeches we've heard over the past two weeks, some of us might be tempted to briefly step away and peek at what Mitt Romney would call "sport."
I urge everyone to resist the siren song of heavily padded men colliding with each other for our entertainment. Because if your eyes drift even for a moment from the convention coverage, you could miss: a video on women's health; a large number of people chanting "USA! USA!" for no apparent reason; House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer saying stuff into a microphone; or Austin Ligon, co-founder and former CEO of CarMax Inc., who might very well offer you an unbeatable deal on a Nissan Sentra.
And I didn't even mention Bill Clinton. What kind of rowdy friends would we be if we chose an electrifying and passionately fought football game over a chance to hear the "Big Dog" emote.
So tune in, America. Pay attention to the all-important political process.
I'll suck it up and watch the game for you, then tell you what happened.
Oh, yeah,, he's VERY pro-women 10:02 AM CDT
It's Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention, and liberals everywhere are fired up for tonight's headline speech by former President, and professional your-pain-feeler, Bill Clinton.
In keeping with the convention's emphatically pro-women theme, organizers presumably picked Clinton based on his long history of being extremely pro-women. (Rimshot!)
The former president is expected to deliver a ringing endorsement of Barack Obama, all the while trying to discreetly hide his "Hillary 2016" neck tattoo.
Speaking of women, yesterday's "Women of the U.S. House of Representatives" will be followed up with a "Women of the U.S. Senate." Thursday's schedule remains up in the air as it seems likely the Democratic National Committee is going to run out of women it can put on stage.
Today's festivities also include a performance by famed saxophonist Branford Marsalis, who I assume will redistribute his music evenly among all the delegates.
And there will be a small business-related video based on Obama's economic policies called "An Economy Built to Last." Or as conservatives would call it, "satire."
Michelle's arms 11:05 PM CDT
First Lady Michelle Obama delivered a powerful, rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention, one that will surely be remembered for her passionate recitation of love for her husband. (You know, the guy who's president.)
But first, let's take a moment to discuss what initially lit up the social media world when the First Lady took the stage: her arms. Her arms are the Democratic equivalent of Paul Ryan's much-talked-about abs.
It's likely that most voters, at this juncture, would prefer that the election be a choice between Michelle Obama's awesomely sculpted arms and Ryan's P90X-hardened abs.
But I digress.
Speaking of her husband, Michelle Obama said: "Being president doesn't change who you are. It reveals who you are." (I assume in Barack's case, "who you are" would be "president." Seems kind of obvious.)
Speaking of everything from education to women's rights to the economy, the First Lady said: "For Barack, these issues aren't political, they're personal." Expect Fox News pundits to soon use that quote as evidence of the president's selfishness.
Prior to Michelle Obama, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro made me feel like I need to exercise more by saying: "The American dream is not a sprint. Or even a marathon. It's a relay." Given America's weight problem, it might be better to pepper the metaphors with more couch-sitting references.
And if the convention's first day showed nothing else, it's that the Democrats will continue to relentlessly hammer away at the basic premise that: Democrats = Good for women, Republicans = Really awful for women.
They will also continue to pound the Obama campaign's one-word slogan: Forward. Because presumably "Stay Roughly In the Same Place" didn't focus group well.
Lots of women, yelling and Ted Kennedy August 31, 2012 8:12 PM CDT
With an intense focus on women's issues, the opening day of the Democratic National Convention appeared to be a couple guitars shy of an Indigo Girls concert.
New York congresswoman Carolyn Maloney joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the "Women of the House of Representatives," exclaiming: "Where are the women? Where are the women?! Where are they?!!" (Someone should have told her that they were right next to her onstage.)
But there was more yelling to come.
Newark Mayor Corey Booker gave a fiery speech against the Republican Party's opposition to raising taxes on the wealthy, saying, "'Being asked to pay your fair share isn't class warfare, it's patriotism." Booker is clearly a very patriotic man himself, as he was speaking loud enough that our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan could hear him.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn went after Mitt Romney like a bulldog (if a bulldog looked like a kind, balding uncle), calling the GOP candidate an "extreme conservative man." Presumably by tomorrow morning country music star Toby Keith will have recorded and sold 500,000 copies of a song called "Extreme Conservative Man."
Finally, many in the audience were brought to tears by a powerful video montage of Sen. Ted Kennedy voicing support for Obama and roughing Romney up in a 1994 senatorial debate.
Republican National Committee Chair swiftly sent out a tweet that said: "Classless Dems use tribute video of deceased Ted Kennedy to attack Mitt Romney." Everyone in politics knows the classy way to attack someone is via the patented Clint Eastwood/empty chair method.
Words on women August 31, 2012 12:10 PM CDT
Grab your gluten-free snacks and hemp Obama 2012 T-shirts, folks, it's time for the start of the Democratic National Convention in beautiful Charlotte, N.C., where the air is clean and the women are about to be told 12,000-times-over how much Democrats love them.
The convention's first day features a headlining speech by First Lady -- and organic gardening enthusiast -- Michelle Obama. I'm guessing her speech is titled something along the lines of "Here's What I'll Tell You to Eat Over the Next Four Years." (Joe Biden will be backstage downing a bacon double-cheeseburger and a can of Bud Light.)
Prior to the main event, actor and hip youth-vote generator Kal Penn -- of the "Harold and Kumar" series of stoner flicks -- will take the stage and hopefully, in an homage to Clint Eastwood, speak to an empty bong.
There will also be a series of speeches and video presentations aimed at highlighting what Democrats call the Republicans' "War on Women." The schedule includes: a video titled "Reproductive Choice"; speeches by the first woman to reach rank of three-star general in the U.S. Army and the first woman elected as bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; and, if we're lucky, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel singing "There Is Nothing Like a Dame" from the Broadway musical "South Pacific."
Finally, in keeping with the Democrats' clean-energy initiatives, the entire convention will be powered by former Vice President Al Gore speaking into a fan.
'Eastwooding' steals the show August 31, 2012 9:27 AM CDT
It's clear Mitt Romney's campaign had a carefully crafted plan for the day after the GOP National Convention: make sure everyone is talking about Clint Eastwood and an empty chair.
In one of the strangest spectacles ever witnessed at a political convention, Eastwood conducted a conversation on stage Thursday night with an empty chair that supposedly held an invisible Barack Obama. This morning, it is the primary buzz on social media and the news networks.
Eastwood's halting, at times rambling performance sparked a hashtag on Twitter called "#eastwooding," as well as a fake Twitter account called @InvisibleObama which already has more than 20,000 followers.
This is exactly the kind of chair-related attention a Republican presidential candidate wants coming out of a convention. The tactic was first employed by Ronald Reagan during the 1980 GOP convention, when a much-younger Clint Eastwood came onstage and spoke to an empty davenport.
While liberals were baffled by Eastwood's performance art, it was reported that all the chairs in the actor's home are quite relieved that America finally understands what they're going through.
Romney's moment, Clint's "stuff" 10:40 PM CDT
Mitt Romney officially accepted the Republican Party's nomination for president, spinning whimsical yarns of a Norman Rockwell-esque America and only once having to stop his speech for a software update.
Describing how President Barack Obama has taken the country down the wrong path, Romney said: "Now is the moment when we can do something, and with your help, we will do something. I won't tell you exactly what that something is yet, but trust me, I have nice hair."
Though light on specifics, Romney's speech got the convention crowd riled up and united in their dislike of the current president and their obvious love of silly hats, non-rhythmic clapping and anything that prompted them to chant "U-S-A!"
Romney was introduced by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who passionately said basically the same thing every other speaker at the convention has said, which is: I came from a hardscrabble background, worked my way up, Barack Obama is a socialist meany, ROMNEY 2012!!
But the highlight of the night was undoubtedly legendary actor Clint Eastwood coming on stage and…well…uhhhhh…saying some stuff. He spoke to an empty chair, pretending Obama was sitting in it. He rambled a bit, said he didn't think a lawyer should be president (Romney's a lawyer). He kind of grumbled for a while and then…well, nobody really knows what the whole thing was about.
During his so-called speech, senior Obama strategist David Axelrod tweeted: "What the heck IS this?"
Afterward, Eastwood was spotted backstage picking a fight with a coat rack he through was Joe Biden.
Speaking of which…tonight was the end of the GOP's big event.
Now it's the Democrat's turn to get picked on.
Meet Romney, the 'merman' 8:25 PM CDT
The GOP National Convention began tonight with a montage of every great thing Ronald Reagan ever did, making Republicans wistful for the Gipper as they awaited their current nominee – the Flop-Flipper.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush – who looked curiously like a thumb wearing glasses – took the stage and vigorously defended the legacy of his brother, George W. Bush.
"He is a man of integrity, courage, and honor, and during incredibly challenging times, he kept us safe," Bush said. "And if you don't stop saying mean things about him, I will unleash a Dick Cheney kill-robot and destroy you all."
Prior to Bush's speech, a peppy video montage included a young man who talked about becoming the next Stephen King. This was an odd choice, given that King has been vocally opposed to Mitt Romney, arguing for higher taxes on the wealthy in a Daily Beast column and saying of Romney: "I want you to acknowledge that in America, we all should have to pay our fair share."
For many Republicans, that is truly a horror story.
For the first time, the convention touched on Romney's Mormon faith. A man who was an assistant to Romney when he was a bishop took the stage and carefully explained that Romney is actually a "merman," the mythical male equivalent of a mermaid.
Romney is later expected to ride into the convention hall astride a pair of dolphins.
Hair-helmet vs. Obama, with a side of Eastwood 2:20 PM CDT
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is reportedly prepping for his big speech tonight by getting his hair-helmet buffed and his oil changed. No details of the speech have been leaked yet, but there are rumors it will include several statements indicating he does not particularly care for President Barack Obama.
Convention delegates are still buzzing about the identity of the so-called "mystery speaker" on tonight's schedule. U.S. News & World Report is claiming the speaker will be actor and director Clint Eastwood.
This would make sense, as Eastwood is a longtime Republican and famous for a number of quotes that mesh well with today's GOP, including:
-- "I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it."
-- "I tried being reasonable. I didn't like it."
-- "I like lining the walkway to my garden with poor people because they're soft to step on."
(OK, I may have made that last one up.)
Paul Ryan, Zeppelin fan; the 'other' Bush 9:28 AM CDT
After two days of electrifying speeches, tonight is the GOP National Convention's main event. Unfortunately for Republicans gathered in Tampa, the main event involves one Willard Mitt "Jazz Hands" Romney, the man the party nominated for president only after carefully screening virtually every other Republican with a pulse.
Known for powerful emotions that range from "awkwardly jovial" to "awkwardly serious," Romney has his work cut out for him, particularly after his vice presidential pick Paul Ryan lit up the room last night.
Speaking of Ryan's speech, the reviews are in from the lamestream media, with the Washington Post calling it "misleading" and Bloomberg calling it "hypocritical." Or as Donald Trump would call it, "PERFECT!!"
Before Romney accepts the nomination tonight, delegates will hear from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. (Rumor has it his brother, former President George W. Bush, might sneak on stage and pants him.) Also on the schedule is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a darling of the Tea Party and one of the few Latino people that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer does not want to deport.
On a sad note, heavy metal music passed away last night, shortly after the clean-cut, Eddie Haskell-like Paul Ryan told America that his iPod playlist "starts with AC/DC and it ends with Zeppelin." Members of Metallica, Iron Maiden and Slayer released a joint statement saying: "We've had a great ride folks, but clearly our time is over. If you need us, we'll be sitting in our kick-ass vans crying."
'Biceps' Ryan and Condi's lipstick 10:37 PM CD
Conservative superhero and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, sounding like he was narrating a very special episode of "The Wonder Years," brought delegates at the GOP convention to their feet with talk of a brighter economic tomorrow.
He also caused several fact checkers across the country to collapse from exhaustion.
Ryan cited in his speech a plant in his Wisconsin hometown that shut down because of Obama (it actually closed, according to The Detroit News, in 2008 while George W. Bush was in office). He returned to the widely debunked claim that Obama's health care reform has sucked more than $700 billion out of Medicare. And he criticized the president for not passing the Simpson-Bowles economic plan – a plan Ryan himself voted against.
The congressman introduced his family, but it's worth checking to make sure he got the names right.
Before getting to "Mr. Biceps" Ryan, the convention offered up some good-old conservative red meat (hunted and killed, presumably, by Ted Nugent).
Though Democrats have accused the GOP of waging a "War on Women," Mike Huckabee was quick to defuse that attack line by playfully making a prominent Democratic woman sound like a shrill harpy.
"The only hitch in an otherwise perfect week was the awful noise coming from the hotel room next door to mine," he said. "Turns out it was just Debbie Wasserman Schultz practicing her speech for the DNC in Charlotte next week."
The Huck then went on to stress how important it is to "treat people honestly and honorably," causing a black hole of hypocrisy to open up and consume the former Arkansas governor.
Conservative hero and former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice took the stage and was immediately done-in by high-definition television, which allowed viewers to clearly see that her front teeth were covered with bright-red lipstick splotches. By this time tomorrow, conservative teens everywhere will have hopped on this new pro-America fashion trend.
Obama is liberal! Get it?!: 8:20 PM CDT
Sen. Rand Paul, son of rogue Republican Ron Paul, took the stage tonight at the GOP National Convention and ripped into President Barack Obama's health care bill. (His dad said if he did a good job with the speech, he would get a nugget of gold shaped like the head of Ayn Rand!)
Though the U.S. Supreme Court found the bill constitutional, Paul said it's for sure not, and that leads him to one conclusion: "We have to have a new president."
Since it obviously can't be his dad, he'll apparently settle for Mitt Romney.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., became the second speaker at the convention to mock Obama's basketball skills, saying: "I can tell you this. President Obama would be easy to defend because you know he is always going to go to his left." (The implication is that Obama is liberal! GET IT?!?)
The danger with this line of attack is that the Republican's presidential candidate, when talking about a 7-foot-tall person he met earlier this year, said: "I mean, I, figured he had to be in sport, but he wasn't in sport."
So perhaps a debate on who is better at "sport" is not in the overall best interest of the Romney campaign.
Buzz on Thursday's mystery speaker going around: 3:10 PM CDT
Though his speech is hours away, there are reports on the floor of the GOP National Convention that vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is already backstage, practicing his lines and occasionally bench-pressing Chris Christie.
Earlier today, Vice President Joe Biden was spotted driving slowly past the Tampa Bay Times Forum in his Camaro yelling, "RYAN! YO, RYAN!! YOU GOT NUTHIN', PUNK!!!"
The biggest buzz at the convention now is over a "mystery speaker" who will appear tomorrow evening. The identity of this person has been carefully guarded, but these are the Top 5 rumors that have come up:
1) Ronald Reagan hologram
3) Donald Trump riding an elephant made of gold
4) Mitt Romney's money, via Skype from the Cayman Islands
5) Tupac and Notorious B.I.G., reunited for an epic rap battle
Will Ryan take off his shirt?: 9:48 AM CDT
The big event at the GOP convention will come tonight when Mitt Romney's pick for vice president -- Paul Ryan, the strapping young congressman from Wisconsin -- takes the stage.
The hope among most delegates is that he'll finally take his shirt off and reveal his fiscally conservative abs, crafted through the intense P90X workout program and regular bouts of speed-reading Ayn Rand novels. (By contrast, Vice President Joe Biden only has one ab: his primary cardio workout is lifting a foot up and placing it in his mouth.)
The reviews of Republican convention's first day are in and broke down something like this:
Fox News: Amazing night for Republicans spells end to stinkypants Obama!
MSNBC: Republicans first convention night a disaster, Obama still best president ever!
CNN: ANDERSON COOPER IN NEW ORLEANS FIGHTS OFF HURRICANE ISAAC WITH HIS HANDSOME!!!!
Or something like that.
Basically a huge, glorious moment if you're a conservative, a disgusting display of meanness if you're a liberal and, if you're one of the five remaining undecided voters in the country, you probably just watched "America's Got Talent."
Christie, Ann and Santorum 'hands': 10:45 PM CDT
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie just wrapped up the evening by talking loudly, and a lot, and waiting an uncomfortably long time to mention the name "Mitt Romney."
Earlier, another speaker -- Rick Santorum -- talked extensively while also making little mention of Mitt Romney. Santorum gave an impassioned speech about hands. That's right, hands.
He mentioned "hands" -- as in shaking the hands of people across the country -- no fewer than 20 times, and Mitt Romney a total of three times.
"I shook the hand of the American dream, and it has a strong grip," Santorum said, slowly getting creepier and creepier.
One of the most anticipated speeches of the night came from Ann Romney, who was charged with showing a softer side of her often stiff husband. With Mitt Romney backstage -- presumably having his emotion software updated -- Ann Romney talked about how her husband never had anything handed to him (except a whole lot of money from his very rich father).
She also said Mitt has been "successful at every new challenge he's taken on" (except his last presidential run and his failed 1994 Senate campaign).
She also spoke of how they met at a dance and fell in love.
"You can trust Mitt. He loves America," Ann Romney said. "He will take us to a better place, just as he took me home safely from that dance."
Mitt Romney: probably a good president, DEFINITELY a good designated driver.
(Rex W. Huppke, writing from Chicago, will be casting the same satirical light on the Democratic convention next week.)
Can you say 'job creators' again and again? 8:33 PM CDT
The big night kicked off with Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire taking the stage and talking about how well she knows how to use a snow plow (blatant pandering to snow-plow enthusiasts) and how President Obama is incompetent because he never ran a lemonade stand.
The Obama campaign immediately released details on 27 lemonade stands Mitt Romney's former company, Bain Capital, purchased in the 1990s and drove into bankruptcy.
The speakers that followed tried to see who could use the phrase "job creators" the most. The early winner of that game appeared to be Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who quickly hustled backstage to claim his prize a bear hug from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
While all this was happening, former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was on CNN calling Obama a socialist. Actual socialists across the country were throwing their hands up in the air and writing blog posts about how they're misunderstood.
Ron Paul walks the floor. 3:49 PM CDT
As the GOP convention began this afternoon, stodgy Fox News' commentator Brit Hume opted to keep talking on air while the convention crowd sang the National Anthem. Hume was swiftly deported to his native Harumphistan.
Former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul — who has refused to fully endorse Mitt Romney and possibly thinks our economy should be based on beaver pelt trading — was met with wild cheers as he walked onto the convention floor. Paul's fervent fans have the potential to embarrass Romney at the convention and will likely be kept in a separate room along with Sarah Palin, Missouri Rep. Todd Akin and Ted Nugent.
The big event tonight will be Ann Romney's prime-time speech, in which she'll attempt to humanize her husband, who many believe has the warmth and authenticity of a well-dressed Roomba.
She recently tried to show that Mitt Romney is a regular guy by bragging about the shirts he bought at a Costco. That tale of price-conscious shopping might have been more effective if Ann Romney hadn't recently been at the Olympics with the couple's dressage horse, Rafalca, taking in the majesty of horse ballet.
Rafalca, presumably, would not be caught dead wearing a Costco saddle.
"Republican-palooza" takes the stage. 1:50 PM CDT
Hello, and welcome to the first installment of "Unconventional," your easy-to-use guide to the Republican and Democratic national conventions.
Today will be the first full day of the GOP National Convention in Tampa, following a one-day delay caused by the threat of Hurricane Isaac. (The convention was reportedly saved after Newt Gingrich lumbered to the end of Pier 60 on nearby Clearwater Beach and drove the storm away by giving it a lecture on British colonialism.)
One of the early highlights of Republican-palooza is the "debt clock" that hangs in the convention hall, which the Washington Post described as a "theatrical flourish designed to remind Americans just how rapidly the government's tide of red ink is mounting under President Barack Obama."
The clock doesn't subtract the debt incurred under former President George W. Bush (a couple of wars, a Medicare prescription plan, a few new hearts for Dick Cheney), the clearest evidence yet that most Republicans suffer from Convention Deficit Disorder.
Another surprise twist from the Republican National Committee? Female delegates will actually be allowed to bring their reproductive systems to the convention! Any use of "the v-word," however, is strictly prohibited.
The real show begins this evening when conservative heroes like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (unions hate him!) and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (transvaginal ultrasound manufacturers love him!) take the stage.
Also speaking is former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who not long ago described Romney as the "worst Republican in the country to run against President Obama." LOL, those were crazy times, right? Anyhoo, now he totally loves the Mittster and will speak about how Obama is recklessly taking the work requirement out of the nation's welfare program, allowing the lazy poor to luxuriate in their fancy hovels and live off government checks.
This is a claim that has been debunked by every reputable fact-checking organization, but remains a key attack line in Romney's campaign. As Romney pollster Neil Newhouse told ABC News today (and I'm not making this up): "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."
In response to that statement, the Republican Party quickly updated its convention platform to include the following line: Facts are stupid and fat and we hate them.
The Tribune's Rex W. Huppke satirizes the political conventions.
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