CONVENTION WATCH: 2 churches, Ryan delights

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Associated Press

Posted on August 30, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Updated Thursday, Aug 30 at 2:31 AM

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Around the 2012 Republican National Convention and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details to you:

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RYAN DELIGHTS

Republicans danced on their convention floor in delight at the conclusion of Paul Ryan's speech. As the vice presidential candidate neared the end of his speech, his voice rising, many in the crowd burst into a placard-waving, dancing-in-the-aisles burst of exuberance.

Even a few beach balls appeared, bopped around by the crowd, as Ryan and his family waved on stage. The Wisconsin congressman is a favorite among the party faithful and especially conservatives.

— Sally Buzbee

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A PITCH TO YOUNG VOTERS

Much has been said about President Barack Obama's popularity among young people in his 2008 race for the presidency — and the greater apathy many young voters are thought to feel this time around.

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan took a swipe at Obama on just that issue Wednesday, telling the convention crowd that "college graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life."

Obama has been campaigning hard the last few weeks on college campuses, hoping that once again the youth vote can give him a boost.

— Sally Buzbee

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2 CHURCHES, 1 CREED

Paul Ryan touched on his Catholic faith and Mitt Romney's Mormon faith in accepting the Republican nomination for vice president.

"Mitt and I also go to different churches. But in any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example. And I've been watching that example," Ryan said. "The man who will accept your nomination is prayerful and faithful and honorable. Not only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best. Not only a fine businessman, he's a fine man, worthy of leading this optimistic and good-hearted country.

"Our different faiths come together in the same moral creed," Ryan continued. "We believe that in every life there is goodness; for every person, there is hope. Each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of Life."

— Stephen Ohlemacher — Twitter http://twitter.com/stephenatap

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RYAN ON STIMULUS

In a speech assailing Barack Obama, vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan called the stimulus spending "a case of political patronage, corporate welfare and cronyism" at its worst.

But the Wisconsin lawmaker himself asked for stimulus funds in his district shortly after Congress approved the plan. Those pleas included letters to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis seeking stimulus grant money for two Wisconsin energy conservation companies. One firm received $20.3 million, according to federal records.

— Jack Gillum

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GOP DIVERSITY

Condoleezza Rice got a huge roar of approval from fellow Republicans when she recounted her life story, the story of a little girl who "grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham — the most segregated big city in America."

"Her parents can't take her to a movie theater or a restaurant," remembered the former secretary of state, who is black. "But they make her believe that even though she can't have a hamburger at the Woolworth's lunch counter, she can be president of the United States. And she becomes the secretary of state."

Just moments later, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez spoke in startlingly similar terms about her own childhood, remembering that: "Growing up, I never imagined a girl from a border town could one day become a governor. But this is America." And then switching to Spanish she added: "Y, en America todo es posible."

Republicans are increasingly worried about their ability to attract minority voters and they have highlighted a series of speakers from diverse backgrounds.

Both Rice and Martinez were mentioned at various times as possible vice presidential picks, but both insisted they were not interested.

— Sally Buzbee

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RYAN GOES ON ATTACK

Paul Ryan is giving voters a vivid image of the nation's unemployment crisis.

If everyone now out of work stood in single file, he says, "that unemployment line would stretch the length of the entire American continent."

"You would think that any president, whatever his party, would make job creation, and nothing else, his first order of economic business," Ryan told GOP delegates. "But this president didn't do that. Instead, we got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care."

Ryan's acceptance speech Wednesday night stands as one of the fiercest attacks on President Barak Obama's record in a convention flush with harsh words.

Leading such attacks is a traditional role for the No. 2 candidate on a ticket.

— Connie Cass — Twitter http://twitter.com/ConnieCass

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PIZZA WITH 'PAPA'

With his grandkids piled around him and a table full of pizza, Mitt Romney watched Wednesday's convention speeches from his hotel room in Tampa.

On Thursday, Romney's 18 grandkids can watch their "Papa" accept his party's nomination for president.

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PINK PROTEST

As Paul Ryan was in the midst of an attack-dog speech accepting the vice presidential nomination, he was disrupted by a pink banner and a yelling protester. The protester, apparently from the group Code Pink, was escorted out as some in the crowd started shouting "U-S-A."

— Liz Sidoti

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CONDI'S FORMAL; CROWD'S NOT

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice keeps insisting she's not a politician and not interested in elected office. Indeed, her tone at the Republican National Convention was markedly different than that of the other speakers.

For example, few of the speakers — mostly elected officials and longtime politicians — begin by greeting the boisterous crowd as "distinguished delegates."

Rice, of course, is America's former top diplomat and a longtime academic, and she's known for a more formal speaking style, as befits her professions.

Yet despite the academic cast to her words, her address was overtly political, as she described for the crowd what she called a nation at risk of falling into decline and told the crowd that America cannot "lead from behind."

And the crowd did not respond formally — instead giving her several rounds of clamorous standing ovations.

— Sally Buzbee

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THE EVANGELICAL VOTE

Former pastor and one-time presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee says he wants to clear the air about whether "guys like me — an evangelical — would only support a fellow evangelical."

"Of the four people on the two tickets, the only self-professed evangelical is Barack Obama," Huckabee told the GOP convention. "And he supports changing the definition of marriage; believes that human life is disposable and expendable at any time in the womb, even beyond the womb; and tells people of faith that they must bow their knees to the god of government and violate their faith and conscience in order to comply with what he calls health care."

Referring to the Republican nominee's Mormon faith, former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee said: "I care far less as to where Mitt Romney takes his family to church than I do about where he takes this country."

— Connie Cass — Twitter http://twitter.com/ConnieCass

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TATTOO PRESIDENT

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty compares President Barack Obama to a youthful indiscretion.

"I've come to realize that Barack Obama is the tattoo president. Like a big tattoo, it seemed cool when we were young," Pawlenty said in his convention speech Wednesday night. "But later on, that decision doesn't look so good, and you wonder: what was I thinking?"

— Stephen Ohlemacher — Twitter http://twitter.com/stephenatap

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REMEMBER MAINE

"As goes Maine, so goes the nation!"

That was the chant of about 200 supporters of Ron Paul on Wednesday, still smarting over a ruling that prevented 10 Paul delegates from Maine from being seated at the convention.

But instead of taking their protest to the convention floor, the group from Texas, Maine, Nevada and Colorado marched in the hallway outside the arena repeating the chant. A convention panel switched the Maine delegates from Paul to Mitt Romney last week, saying the Paul delegates were elected in violation of party and parliamentary rules.

Adding to the anger of Paul's delegates, the convention adopted new rules Tuesday designed to limit the ability of insurgent candidates win delegates in 2016.

Wearing badges that stated "Remember Maine 2012," the group was trailed by news media, cameras and security who guided the marchers to the exits without confrontation. They continued their march outside the arena toward nearby streets.

"We played by the rules, and they changed the rules," said Sherry Kornahrens, a Paul supporter from Reno, Nev.

— Tom Beaumont — Twitter http://twitter.com/TomBeaumont

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ONE FOR THE GIPPER

Nothing tugs at the hearts of the GOP faithful like invoking the name of the late Ronald Reagan. And Sen. Rand Paul didn't disappoint.

Paul recounted author Paul Kengor's story of an 11-year-old boy in a small Illinois town coming home from a basketball game at the local YMCA one night to find his father sprawled out in the snow, drunk, dead to the world.

"The boy stood over his father for a minute or two," said Paul. "He simply wanted to let himself in the door and pretend his dad wasn't there. Instead, he grabbed a fistful of overcoat and heaved his dad to the bedroom, away from the weather's harm and neighbors' attention."

And then the kicker:

"This young boy became the man — Ronald Reagan — whose sunny optimism and charisma shined so brightly that it cured the malaise of the late '70s, a confidence that beamed so broadly that it pulled us through a serious recession, and a faith that tugged so happily at all hearts that a generation of Democrats became Republicans."

— Andrew Miga — Twitter http://twitter.com/AP_Andrew_Miga

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A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS

America is a land of immigrants. And pride in that heritage has been all over the place during the last two nights of the GOP convention. Speaker after speaker told stories of family roots beyond America — and of how the struggles faced by those immigrants helped forge their own values.

For New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, it was reminiscing about his Irish father and his Sicilian mother (she was the family's real force, he noted).

For South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, it was recounting how her Indian immigrant parents instilled in their children a deep gratitude that they were growing up in America.

And for South Dakota Sen. John Thune, it was the memory of how his grandfather — one of two Norwegian brothers — came to America in 1906 knowing how to say only two things in English, "apple pie and coffee."

At Ellis Island, immigration officials decided their last name — Gjelsvik — was too difficult and asked them to change it. They picked "Thune," the name of the farm where they worked in Norway.

"Like many Americans," Thune said, "I've been blessed by the hard work and sacrifice of those who've come before."

It was a refrain that filled the hall again and again.

— Sally Buzbee

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ROCK STAR RYAN

What Republican delegates are saying about veep nominee Paul Ryan:

"I think he's a rock star for the Republicans." — Allie Burgin of Wynnewood, Okla.

"He'll definitely shake things up." — Gary Inmon of San Antonia, Texas.

"We shouldn't be afraid of big ideas." — Scott Baker of Willis, Texas, an alternate delegate who says Ryan bring big ideas on Medicare and Social Security.

"It's nice to have someone from my generation, and someone who's a Catholic, and a conservative. I can very much identify with him." — Patrick Burns of Marietta, Ga.

— Gerrad Carson

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LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON

Oops.

A copy of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's convention speech, emailed to reporters by organizers, incorrectly identified the speaker as Ron Paul, the Texas congressman who challenged Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination.

Ron Paul, who is Rand' father, isn't speaking at the convention, though a video tribute to him was played for delegates Wednesday evening. Ron Paul said he has no plans to endorse Romney, and some of his supporters caused a stir on the convention floor Tuesday over new rules that could impede future insurgent candidates like Paul.

Convention organizers later sent out a corrected copy of the speech, just minutes after delegates watched a video featuring another Republican father-son duo: Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

— Josh Lederman — Twitter http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP

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BUSH MEMORIES

The two Bush presidents — George H.W. and son George W. — offered their personal recollections about their days in the White House in a video appearance at the Republican convention Wednesday night.

Neither man attended in person.

In the video, the son remembered a visit to the Oval Office by Russian President Vladimir Putin and how impressed he was. The father remembered former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Dana Carvey's imitations of him — and a funny performance in the White House.

Also remembering their White House days and past conventions were first ladies Barbara Bush and Laura Bush.

— Donna Cassata — Twitter http://twitter.com/donnacassata

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RYAN A GOP DARLING

Paul Ryan takes the stage tonight as the Republican Party's vice presidential candidate and its darling. About a week after Mitt Romney named Ryan his running mate, an AP-GfK poll found that 63 percent of Republicans held a favorable impression of the congressman. Just 15 percent held an unfavorable one. Here's a look at which groups of Republicans hold him in particularly high esteem:

Conservative Republicans (70 percent favorable) give him rave reviews, including 47 percent who hold a "very favorable" opinion. That figure outpaces Romney's "very favorable" ratings among the group (37 percent).

Among moderate and liberal Republicans, 50 percent have a positive take on Ryan.

Tea party backers are particularly fond of Ryan. His favorability among supporters of that political movement stands at 79 percent.

Older Republicans (72 percent favorable among those age 45 and up) are more positive than Republicans of Ryan's own generation (53 percent among those under age 45).

— Jennifer Agiesta — Twitter http://twitter.com/jennagiesta

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RAND PAUL: NO FEAR

Sen. Rand Paul brought many delegates to their feet with a rousing call for both political parties to put aside fear and stand up for Americans' rights.

"Republicans and Democrats must replace fear with confidence — confidence that no terrorist, and no country, will ever conquer us if we remain steadfast to the principles of our founding documents," said Paul, whose father is Rep. Ron Paul, the former presidential candidate with a pool of fervent followers.

"We have nothing to fear except our own unwillingness to defend what is naturally ours, our God-given rights," Rand Paul declared. "We have nothing to fear that should cause us to forget or relinquish our rights as free men and women."

His father, who carried 190 delegates at the GOP convention, didn't speak but was the subject of a tribute video.

— Connie Cass —Twitter http://twitter.com/ConnieCass

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MCCAIN STILL IN THE FIGHT

The GOP's 2008 presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, returned to the convention stage to excoriate Barack Obama for failing to back Iranians and Syrians who've given their lives in the fight against oppression.

McCain says the president missed a historic opportunity by failing to throw America's "full moral support" behind Iranian revolutionaries trying to oust "a brutal dictatorship that terrorizes the Middle East and threatens the world."

And he says Obama "is not being true to our values" when he abandons Syrians to "a savage and unfair fight."

"The demand for our leadership in the world has never been greater," McCain said. "People don't want less of America. They want more."

— Connie Cass —Twitter http://twitter.com/ConnieCass

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STAY AWAY, BROTHER

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says his brother, the former president, is smart to stay away from the Republican convention because he will just become more of a target for President Barack Obama.

"The president has spent a lot of time and energy around this notion that 'I can't do anything about it. It's all Bush's fault. You know I'm trying, but it's not working because it's Bush's fault,'" Bush told ABC News. "Now we're in year four of a presidency, think back into American history, think of a president that is blaming his predecessor in the fourth year. So why encourage the bad behavior and I think my brother is smart to stay away."

— Stephen Ohlemacher — Twitter http://twitter.com/stephenatap

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OBAMA NOT WATCHING

White House press secretary Jay Carney says President Barack Obama hasn't watched any Republican convention speeches — because "he has other things to do."

— Julie Pace — Twitter http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

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ISAAC LOOMS

Even though Isaac has moved beyond Florida, the hurricane's still having an impact on the Republicans meeting in Tampa.

Presidential nominee Mitt Romney is considering a visit to hard-hit Gulf Coast areas after the storm passes.

Several speakers Wednesday night mentioned the hurricane at the beginning of their remarks and promoted Red Cross relief efforts.

— Kasie Hunt — Twitter https://twitter.com/kasie

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EDITOR'S NOTE — Follow AP journalists on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

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