Mitt Romney to speak at RNC Thursday

5:23 AM, Aug 30, 2012   |    comments
Mitt Romney. (Photo credit JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages)
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By Richard Wolf, USA TODAY

TAMPA -- The 40th Republican National Convention wraps up tonight with what could be the most important hour in Mitt Romney's life: his acceptance speech.

USA TODAY is providing full coverage of the events and will be doing the same for the Democrats in Charlotte next week. Check your local TV listings for when you can tune in.

Here's our guide to the five things to watch on Thursday, Aug. 30:

1) Look for Mitt Romney to act like the adult in the room as he contrasts his policy-wonk approach to cutting spending, taxes and deficits with what he says are petty, negative attacks from President Obama's campaign. At the same time, Romney also will try to shed his all-business demeanor and talk a bit about what drives him: doing the right thing for his wife, Ann Romney, and their five sons.

2) Doing the introductions will be Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, darling of the Tea Party conservatives and vice presidential short-lister before Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin got the nod. Rubio's job will be to talk a bit more about Romney than some of his podium predecessors -- notably New Jersey governor and keynoter Chris Christie, who waited until he was two-thirds of the way through his speech.

3) How to recount Romney's rescue of the scandal-ridden 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, one of the highlights of his career? With some former Olympians, of course. Three are scheduled to speak: Mike Eruzione, whose winning goal in the 1980 hockey finals against the Soviet Union capped "The Miracle on Ice;" Derek Parra, who won gold in the 1,500-meter speed skating event in 2002; and Kim Rhode, winner of skeet shooting medals in five consecutive Olympic Games.

4) The press corps is in heat over the possibility of a "mystery guest," which might be the closest the convention comes to producing news. Among the names being bandied about (though not by anyone who actually knows anything) are Clint Eastwood, Sarah Palin, George H.W. Bush, Nancy Reagan, Dick Cheney and Donald Trump.

5) As soon as Romney finishes speaking, Tampa's 15 minutes of fame will end, and Charlotte's will begin. Democrats gather there next Tuesday for their own three-day convention, which will feature speeches by Obama, Vice President Biden, former president Bill Clinton, Sen. John Kerry and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, the keynote speaker.

USA TODAY

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