Entries in RNC (5)


Love at the RNC: Wedding Proposal Happens on Stage

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) -- It looks as if Ann Romney’s message from Tuesday night -- that this is about love -- struck a chord.  Bradley Thompson, 32, proposed to his girlfriend of three years, Laura Bowman, on the stage of the Tampa Bay Times forum on Wednesday.

Neither Thompson nor Bowman are here as delegates -- in fact, it’s not even clear if they’re Republicans; the couple declined to tell reporters when asked which party they support.  Bowman is a production coordinator and Thompson is a production manager for the convention.  The couple met three years ago on a production job and they live in New York City.

Bowman said she thought something fishy was going on when she was called for a sound check.  Although they knew they would be engaged eventually -- the couple told reporters that they had actually picked the ring together -- Bowman said she didn’t think it would happen on Wednesday.

There’s no word yet on the wedding plans for the couple.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Convention Security: Charlotte Police in Tampa to Watch

Tom Pennington/Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) -- The Democratic National Convention in Charlotte is only a week away and because it follows the Republican National Convention so closely, Charlotte police are in Tampa this week observing and training.

Charlotte Police Chief Rodney Monroe told ABC News that he and 10 officers made the trip to the Republican convention to get a preview of the landscape of a national convention.

“We just wanted to come down and take a look at operations and just kind of get a feel for things and pretty much just get a head-start on it,” Monroe said.

The police departments have been sharing plans for months because the conventions come back-to-back. Charlotte police wanted to observe Tampa’s security perimeter around the convention center.

On Monday, Monroe visited and walked with Tampa police at a protest that began in Perry Harvey Sr. Park and ended with a march through downtown Tampa. With Tropical Storm Isaac passing in the Gulf of Mexico, police said the march drew about 300 people.

Charlotte is a more compact city, but Monroe said there will be greater security issues with the White House in town.

“When you’re hosting the convention with the sitting president, there are different challenges, there are specific protocols that go along with handling the president of the United States,” Monroe said.

Tampa police chief Jane Castor said she didn’t know if coordination was typical between cities hosting conventions but after knowing each other, they decided it could only help to communicate efforts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Occupy Protester Arrested Outside Republican National Convention

Occupy protesters in Tampa. Joe Raedle/Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Protesters associated with the Occupy movement blocked traffic outside the Tampa, Fla., arena where the Republican National Convention kicked off Monday, leading to one arrest and police pursuit of several others who were "running through the downtown area," the chief of police said.

A spontaneous march made up of 25 to 30 masked protesters originated about 3 p.m. at the "Romneyville" tent city, several blocks from the Tampa Bay Times Forum, site of the convention.

"Individuals splintered off from that and have been basically running through the downtown area and we're monitoring them right now just to ensure that everyone is safe and that there's no damage in the downtown area, but so far everything has been very, very successful," Tampa police chief Jane Castor said.

The man, Dominick Delarosa, 20, was arrested when he refused to remove a mask at the request of police.

"There was a group of probably 25 to 30 individuals and many of them put on their masks," Castor said at a news conference. "They were told repeatedly by officers that was a violation of the event ordinance, that they weren't allowed to wear those masks in the event zone.

"Everyone took those masks off with the exception of one individual. The officers again, gave him plenty of warning and leeway to remove that mask. He refused and he was placed under arrest."

By 4:30 p.m., traffic outside the convention center was stalled. Hundreds of officers in riot gear surrounded the protesters, leading to delays to and from the forum.

The protests came at the end of an otherwise-anticlimactic first day of the convention.

What was to be an opening day of pomp and partying stretching into the night instead lasted all of one minute, as the GOP put on hold its plans to nominate Mitt Romney while the Gulf Coast hunkers down in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac.

This year's convention was to be a carefully scripted affair, tightly packing in speeches by many of the party's boldest names.

By losing a day of events because of travel delays and bigger fears that the storm would hit Tampa directly, many speakers were rescheduled or simply canceled.

Democrats also have set up outside the convention, hunkering down in a "war room" to respond in real time to comments made during the event.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Protesters 'Occupying' Tampa for GOP Convention

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Occupy Wall Street movement born last year in a New York City park has made its way to Voice of Freedom park in Tampa Bay, Fla., just in time for the GOP convention.

The Occupy Tampa movement has moved into Voice of Freedom park, just outside of downtown Tampa, for the past three months, according to the property owner Joe Redner.  Redner, who also owns an entertainment club two miles away, came across some money after winning a lawsuit against the city a few years back.

“I took that money and bought two lots of land that were known to be drug holes in the West Tampa area,” he said.  “I used the money to buy the lots and create Voice of Freedom Park.”

Redner says that he wanted to put his money towards a cause that would help the community and invited the Occupy movement to make use of his park.

“People have been here for about three months,” Redner tells ABC News, but he says that more have been showing up in the weeks before the Republican National Convention, which is scheduled for Aug. 27-30.

After that, however, the clock will start running down on the occupiers in Voice of Freedom Park.  They will have to leave by Sept. 15.

The city had begun to put pressure on Redner to make the Occupiers leave his property.  Though he is an avid supporter of the Occupy movement, Redner made an agreement with the city, promising that the protesters would be out of Voice of Freedom Park come September.

“I am not making them leave,” Redner says.  “The city was kicking protesters out of public parks downtown.  They were being harassed and getting put in jail.  I thought I was doing the city a favor by letting them stay at my park, but I know they can’t stay forever.”

When asked if the protesters had affected his business or the neighboring area, Redner replied, “Absolutely not. There is no interaction between my business and the demonstrators.”

One of those protesters is Kelly Benjamin, the community organizer for the Occupy Tampa movement. Though he lives in a house and is not camping out alongside other protesters, Benjamin tells ABC News that he will be marching alongside the Occupy movement to “remind politicians that they should we working for the people that they are representing, not their corporate sponsors.”

One of the first protests that he will be involved in is a march for what Benjamin calls “the world’s biggest cocktail party.”

The “cocktail party,” formally known as the kick-off party for the 2012 Republican National Convention, will take place on Sunday, Aug. 26, just before the commencement of the GOP convention.  This event will host politicians, delegates and others in town for the convention.

“We are marching against the world’s biggest cocktail party,” Benjamin says.  “It represents everything that’s broken about our country.  Ordinary people can’t get into the event.  Instead, we’re sent to a designated protest pit.”

Not willing to be contained, the Occupiers will be marching to Tropicana Field in neighboring St. Petersburg.  The march will kick off the beginning of relentless demonstrating during convention week.  A spokesperson from Tropicana tells ABC News that convention events will take place in the stadium, but the protesters most likely won’t be allowed inside because of security reasons.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


GOP Approves Abortion Amendment, Keeps Silent on Cases of Rape

Kris Connor/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Republican National Committee approved a platform amendment opposing abortion Tuesday, essentially reproducing its stated policies from 2008 and 2004 -- and highlighting a potential divide between Mitt Romney and some in his party on the issue.

The amendment does not mention cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother. Romney supports the legality of abortion in those cases, but Republicans disagree on the point. By remaining silent on the issue, the platform leaves room for disagreement within Republican ranks.

After controversial comments by Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri on rape and pregnancy brought the issue of abortion in cases of rape to the forefront of national discussion, the Romney campaign said on Monday in a prepared statement: "Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.”

Romney and former president George W. Bush hold the same view on abortion, according to National Right to Life Committee Executive Director David O’Steen. In conversations with the group, both men represented their stances as anti-abortion except in cases of rape, incest or threat to the life of the mother, O’Steen said.

At a meeting of the RNC Platform Committee in Tampa, Fla., committee chairman and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell congratulated members of the subcommittee that drafted the language of the platform amendment.

“In past platforms, that has been in hours of discussion, and I applaud the committee’s work in our respect for human life. Well done,” McDonnell said, announcing the amendment’s inclusion in the party platform without objection and without a vote.

Here is the text of the new platform section on “sanctity of life,” as dictated to ABC over the phone by an RNC official:

Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th Amendment protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and the infirm; just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Republican leadership has led the effort to prohibit the barbaric practice of partial birth abortions, permitted states to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We urge Congress to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We urge Congress to strengthen the Born Alive Infant Protection Act by exacting appropriate civil and criminal penalties to health care providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives an abortion, including early induction delivery where the death of the infant is intended. We call for legislation to ban sex-selective abortions – gender-discrimination in its most lethal form – and to protect the lives of pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia. We call for a revision of federal law 42USC289.92 to bar the use of body parts from aborted fetuses for research. We support and applaud adult stem cell research to develop life-saving therapies, and we oppose the killing of embryos for their stem cells. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

We also salute the many states that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulations. We seek to protect young girls from exploitation through a parental consent requirement; and we affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women challenged by unplanned pregnancy. We salute those who provide them with counseling and adoption alternatives and empower them to choose life, and we take comfort in the tremendous increase in adoption that has followed Republican legislative initiatives.

Here is the text of the same section in the last iteration of the RNC platform (page 52), approved in 2008:

Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity and dignity of innocent human life.

We have made progress. The Supreme Court has upheld prohibitions against the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion. States are now permitted to extend health-care coverage to children before birth. And the Born Alive Infants Protection Act has become law; this law ensures that infants who are born alive during an abortion receive all treatment and care that is provided to all newborn infants and are not neglected and left to die. We must protect girls from exploitation and statutory rape through a parental notification requirement. We all have a moral obligation to assist, not to penalize, women struggling with the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy. At its core, abortion is a fundamental assault on the sanctity of innocent human life. Women deserve better than abortion. Every effort should be made to work with women considering abortion to enable and empower them to choose life. We salute those who provide them alternatives, including pregnancy care centers, and we take pride in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives.

Respect for life requires efforts to include persons with disabilities in education, employment, the justice system, and civic participation. In keeping with that commitment, we oppose the nonconsensual withholding of care or treatment from people with disabilities, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide, which endanger especially those on the margins of society. Because government should set a positive standard in hiring and contracting for the services of persons with disabilities, we need to update the statutory authority for the AbilityOne program, the main avenue by which those productive members of our society can offer high quality services at the best possible value.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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