Last Updated:December 1 @ 04:43 pm

GOP names several speakers for convention

By Philip Elliott

WASHINGTON (AP) - A trio of female firsts and three former GOP presidential contenders are among the first speakers disclosed for August's Republican National Convention.

The GOP convention schedule is packed with high-profile names to fire up divergent wings of the Republican Party, from social conservatives to fiscal hawks. They will speak ahead of Mitt Romney's formal acceptance of his party's presidential nomination.

Convention leaders were not ready to announce the keynote speaker, a prime speaking slot that has the potential to catapult a rising member of the party to national prominence.

The schedule's outlines were first reported by The Tampa Bay Times late Sunday and were confirmed to The Associated Press by Republican officials with direct knowledge of the plan. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because convention officials had not yet announced the schedule.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, the first female governors of their states, are among party leaders slated to address the gathering that begins Aug. 27. Martinez has the additional distinction of being the first female Hispanic governor in the country.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the first black female to hold that job, is also scheduled to speak.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona was set to speak, as well as a one-time rival, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. The two, along with Romney, vied for the 2008 presidential nomination, with McCain outlasting both Romney and the former Baptist pastor in the primary campaign.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who briefly ran for the GOP nomination in 2000, also was set to speak at the convention, as was Florida Gov. Rick Scott, whose state is host to the event. Both are tea party favorites and are set to speak to fiscal issues many Republicans hold dear.

"They are some of our party's brightest stars, who have governed and led effectively and admirably in their respective roles," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in prepared remarks. "These speakers - and those that will be announced later - will help make it a truly memorable and momentous event."

Republicans are holding back on announcing other speakers, including the keynote speaker.

In 2004, a little-known state senator from Illinois named Barack Obama used his turn at the Democratic National Convention in Boston to catapult to national prominence and - four years later - the White House.

When someone is announced as keynote speaker that could indicate that Romney has decided against that person as a running mate.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin are both big names in the party believed to be among those Romney is weighing for the vice presidential slot or for the keynote address. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio also were noticeably absent from the slate of announced speakers and may be contenders for running mate.

If passed over for the vice presidential pick, there is a very good chance they would earn speaking slots - if not the keynote.

The speakers already announced suggest where Romney is looking to make progress as voters start to pay attention to the fall campaign.

The all-important female vote clearly is a priority - evidenced by the choices of Haley, Martinez and Rice. Polls through the spring showed President Barack Obama outpacing Romney among female voters, although strategists from both parties say that gender gap is narrowing. A strong play for female voters at the convention should be expected.

Haley, who backed Romney in her state's first-in-the-South primary, is the youngest sitting governor in the country and her husband will deploy to Afghanistan next year. So she will probably have a strong message for military families, as well as for younger voters.

Martinez, who made history in her state and nationally when she was elected, could appeal to Hispanic women, a sizable demographic that broke for Obama four years ago. She can also address voters who feel securing the nation's Southern border is a top concern.

And Rice, an academic who was President George W. Bush's national security adviser and later secretary of state, could appeal to working women and those who put the United States' security as a top concern.

Some suggested she would be an excellent choice for Romney's running mate but conservatives in the party led a revolt, citing her support for abortion rights.

Romney, with limited foreign policy credentials, needs leading foreign policy figures like Rice to vouch for him.

Another prominent voice on foreign policy, McCain, will speak up for Romney.

The Senate veteran, who was a prisoner of war during Vietnam, remains among his party's most visible figures. His dislike for Romney has apparently faded since their primary fight four years ago.

"In these challenging times, America needs Mitt Romney in the White House," McCain said in a statement Republicans planned to release Monday. "The Republican National Convention in Tampa will help give us the momentum to get him there."

Another GOP rival from 2008, former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee, also will try to help Romney.

Huckabee's appeal among social conservatives has not shrunk and his backing is likely to help evangelicals who have been slow to warm to Romney and his Mormon faith.

Among tea party supporters, Romney will get a boost from Kasich. His home state of Ohio is a linchpin of Romney's strategy and no Republican has won the White House without carrying the perennial Midwestern battleground. No Democrat has won without winning Ohio since John F. Kennedy won the presidency in 1960.

Florida is another key state for both campaigns' path to the White House. Florida's Gov. Scott will address the convention, customary when the incumbent governor's party hosts the convention.

Democrats have rolled out their own convention schedule in recent weeks. Marking a first for Hispanics, the Democrats chose the mayor of San Antonio to deliver the keynote address in Charlotte, N.C.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will deliver the high-profile, prime-time address on the convention's opening night, Sept. 4. First lady Michelle Obama will also address convention delegates that night.

Democrats also announced that former President Bill Clinton and Elizabeth Warren, the party's popular Senate candidate in Massachusetts, will have prime speaking roles at the convention on Sept. 5.

Vice President Joe Biden and Obama will speak in prime time on Thursday, Sept. 6, the convention's final night.

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  1. Mort_fComment by Mort_f
    August 6, 2012 @ 9:18 am

    With all due respects to his past military service, I consider Sen McCain a ‘sop’ to the GOP establishment. Far better that he be replaced with the likes of Gov. Walker of Wisconsin, who has mastered an economic turnaround in a very short time.

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    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      August 6, 2012 @ 10:06 am

      I think this is a bad decision given his recent attacks on Michele Bachmann over national security issues. One has to wonder how Hillary’s assistant ever got national security clearance. Any ordinary citizen with close family members tied to a terrorist group would never get clearance. At the time she was hired, the Muslim Brotherhood was still considered a terrorist group by the United States. They still are even if the liberals refuse to recognize them as such.

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    • joelinpdxComment by joelinpdx
      August 6, 2012 @ 10:08 am

      Oh great, another voter responsible for Barry Obozo’s election.

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    • thecitizenComment by thecitizen
      August 9, 2012 @ 11:33 am

      McCain? Speaking at the convention? That’s not a very auspicious beginning for the ‘official’ kick-off of Romney’s campaign. McCain should be nowhere-near-the-convention. Among other more despicable characteristics he’s a fiscal and Constitutional RINO snake in the grass and should be dis-invited or dumped, whichever works.

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  2. joelinpdxComment by joelinpdx
    August 6, 2012 @ 10:06 am

    Okay libtards, here’s the first list of Republicans you’ll need to be making up snarky lies about quickly. Get Harry Inbreed and Barry Obozo right on the task.

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  3. Mort_fComment by Mort_f
    August 6, 2012 @ 10:45 am

    Do you think that Obama himself, could have ever received a security clearance?

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    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      August 6, 2012 @ 10:55 am

      No. Fortunately for him, security clearance checks are not required for the highest office in the land. Clinton himself would have been denied based on his war protest travels (Soviet Russia) in his younger days. My husband is a security guard at a facility that assembles and disassembles nuclear weapons. He had to go through an extensive background check to get a security clearance. Obama controls the trigger for those weapons and doesn’t have to have clearance. Go figure.

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  4. JDZComment by JDZ
    August 6, 2012 @ 11:25 am

    I like the list of speakers so far, except for John McCain, who to me represents the RINO clan within the Republican party and who is not that closely aligned with the Tea Party views which, to me, are the foundation for the “New” Republican party looking forward.

    I like John personally, but in this election cycle, the image put out there in front of the American people has to generate excitement and create a perception of a positive, high energy political option for the country looking ahead and starting in November with the election of Mitt Romney as President.

    The Republican party has to showcase these younger more focused political leaders and the line up of the speaker choices does that (except for McCain, and to some extent Rice). But it is shaping up to be an interesting convention.

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  5. FireMallComment by FireMall
    August 6, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

    At least the GOP has confirmed my suspicions that Romney is a Socialist plant , Just like McCain was & is.
    Birds of a feather Campaign together.
    Wonder why the GOP didn’t invite a few Patriots to speak ?
    After McCain Deliberately got Obama elected by wimpy proxy , It’s obvious that the GOP is no more than the U.N.’s Trojan Horse’s arm / of the New World Order. Just as Obama is.

    McCain admonishing Bachman for wanting a security vetting on Hillary’s Lesbian Muslim LP pretty well Proves to me that McCain did succumb to his Communist captors & brainwashing in VietNam.

    At least McCain has proven his covert abilities at Multitasking.
    McCain, as well as 90 out of a hundred Repugs and 95% of Congress , collectively are not only Useful Idiots of their chosen Parties , They are Useful Idiots of Communism, and last but more so, Useful Idiots of the U.N.
    I reckon I wasn’t supposed to figure this out until Obama has fully taken advantage of Congress relinquishing the Legislative Branch to Obama’s Marxist Exec Branch.
    NDAA was the final extension of Bush’s Bi-partisan Patriot act. Key word, Bi-Partisan , aka Joint acts of Treason.

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  6. KBBComment by KBB
    August 6, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

    …In 2004, a little-known state senator from Illinois named Barack Obama used his turn at the Democratic National Convention in Boston to catapult to national prominence and – four years later – the White House….
    Whether Obama spoke in 2004 or not was irrelevant to his usurping of the office of prez. The fix was in years before his speech for him to do just that.

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  7. thecitizenComment by thecitizen
    August 9, 2012 @ 11:59 am

    Rubio…? Rubio! Oh boy, here we go again with another agonizing and disruptive citizenship issue!

    Politically, I like Rubio.

    That said, Rubio – is an ‘anchor baby’ born in America to two (2) illegal aliens who were NOT naturalized until several years AFTER Marco was born.

    There’s no question, debate or discussion re the circumstances of his birth. It’s in public records every/anywhere you look. Due to those circumstances he is NOT eligible to serve as VPOTUS because he’s only a heartbeat away from becoming POTUS.

    The GOP is far, far, far from having a wrap on the POTUS election and strategically speaking, Rubio for VP is a needless distraction we can’t afford. It’s folly.

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