Welcome to the live blog for day 1 coverage of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Earlier today, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were officially declared the GOP candidates for president and vice-president. Tonight, the featured speakers are Ann Romney and NJ Governor Chris Christie. We will be updating with highlights all night, so check back. (Newest tweets at top)
10:10PM - Ann Romney takes the stage as family photos play in the background. She gets a wild applause as she sets to make the case for her husband... "We're too smart to believe there are easy answers, but we're not too dumb to know that there aren't better answers... This is the man who will wake up every day with the determination to solve the problems that others say can't be solved, to fix what others say is beyond repair. This is the man who will work harder than anyone so that we can work a little less hard... I can't tell you what will happen over the next four years. But I can only stand here tonight, as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an American, and make you this solemn commitment: This man will not fail. This man will not let us down. This man will lift up America!"
9:50PM - Artur Davis, former Democratic congressman, member of the black congressional congress, Obama campaign co-chair in 2008, takes the stage as a newly minted Republican. (The Democrats have "countered" with Charlie Crist, who unlike Davis, pretty much left the GOP out of embarrassment.) Davis makes fund of himself for falling for the Hollywood glamour, the "yes we can" slogan, and the Obama halo. "Instead of moving oceans and healing planets, let's pay our debt down... We don't need a party that has led as poverty rose to record levels give us lectures about pain and suffering... "When you hear the party that glorified occupy and blasted success, is that what you teach your children?"
9:35 - Ted Cruz gives a shout-out to the tea party revolution of 2010-2012, noting the races where conservative underdogs ousted establishment Republicans in Florida, Utah, Kentucky, Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Indiana. It's been a pretty tea-party centric night, tonight.
9:00PM - Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin gets a rock star welcome. Come November, it's possible Wisconsin Republicans will hold the governor's mansion, both US Senate seats, and the office of the vice-president-elect. Walker hits on themes of being a conservative governor in a blue state, and taking on unions, a them likely to be continued by Chris Christie when he gives his keynote address later in the night.
8:55PM - Virginia small businesswoman Bev Gray (20 employees) talks about the years of struggle and cost it took to finally turn her business profitable. I said at the time of Obama's speech, this was one that struck a chord and wasn't going to go away.
8:35PM - Ste-centric and highly effective Romney ads are now playing in between speakers highlighting, you guessed it, Obama's "you didn't build that" speech. (And remember, when that speech is quoted, it isn't a few words taken out of context. It's paragraphs played in full.) Oklahoma Governor Governor Mary Fallin follows that up asking who Obama thinks creates jobs. The EPA? The IRS? Each state-centric ad highlights a local business owner and their story.
8:25PM - The pro-business theme continues. Tonight is all about jobs (as Joe Biden once noted, a three letter word: j-o-b-s). After congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and US Sen. Kelly Ayotte spoke of their families business experiences, Ayotte introduced New Hampshire businessman Jack Gilchrist. His speech pleaded with the government to get off the backs of small businesses and let them do what the do best: create jobs.
7:55PM - Hey, remember that one time when President Obama said "You didn't build that?" Yep, it's a major theme here this week, and a country singer just sung "I built It" to keep the party rolling...
7:40PM - Mia B. Love rocked the RNC stage just before 8PM. Too bad this speech wasn't on later because she was absolutely on fire. "We're not better of than we were 4 yrs ago, and no rhetoric, bumper sticker, or Hollywood campaign ad can change that." Mia B. Love is the current mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah and is running for congress against Democratic incumbent Jim Matheson. Do yourself a favor and check out her campaign website here. I think she will be around for awhile.