No, actually. Big parts of the convention are taken up by kibitzing. It's the real action at conventions.
True, the delegates do pay attention to the speeches, and they cheer especially when a particularly good speaker comes on or when it's someone from their home state. But the aisles are also thronged with people talking, catching up with friends or buttonholing officials to get their ear.
And the walkways behind the arena are even busier — filled with people chatting, arranging meetings, grabbing food and looking for famous faces.
And unlike a basketball or hockey game, almost no one ever shouts "down in front."
— Sally Buzbee
'I SHOOK THE HAND OF THE AMERICAN DREAM'
Rick Santorum, the candidate who waged the most persistent challenge to Mitt Romney's nomination, says campaigning across America convinced him the American Dream can be restored:
"Why? I held its hand. I shook the hand of the American Dream. And it has a strong grip," Santorum told the Republican National Convention.
"I shook hands of farmers and ranchers who made America the bread basket of the world. ...
"I grasped dirty hands with scars that come from years of labor in the oil and gas fields, mines and mills. ...
"I clasped hands of men and women in uniform and their families. Hands that sacrifice and risk all to protect and keep us free. ....
"I held hands that are in want. Hands looking for the dignity of a good job, hands growing weary of not finding one but refusing to give up hope."
— Connie Cass —Twitter http://twitter.com/ConnieCass
Media strategist Fred Davis, who advised GOP Sen. John McCain in his 2008 presidential run, remembers watching the conventions with his parents "until my eyes couldn't stay open any longer." They were highly scripted even back then, but they somehow felt like more of an "event."
This year, Davis didn't even bother leaving his Santa Barbara, Calif., home to attend the Republican National Convention
"It's not getting more intimate," he says. "It's getting less."
Davis says the "worst speech I ever gave in my life" was one he delivered to a high school in Tulsa, Okla. His mistake: Working from a text.
Davis says making someone like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie work with a teleprompter in Tampa, Fla., "strikes me as a mistake."
"You have one of the great from-the-heart speakers in the world," he says. "Chris Christie will do fine, because he's a very skilled orator. But it won't be what it could have been ... and the reason is they want to control every word that he says."
— Allen G. Breed — Twitter http://twitter.com/AllenGBreed
Some Republican office holders are more popular than others with their party.
Each speaker Tuesday night got enthusiastic applause. But as Gov Scott Walker of Wisconsin took the stage, the Forum in Tampa erupted into a standing ovation. Walker is a hero to his party and to conservatives nationwide after surviving a recall effort in his state in a bitter fight with Democrats. Walker tussled with Democrats in his state over multiple issues, including collective bargaining rights for public employees.
— Sally Buzbee
NOMINATION BY THE NUMBERS
The final delegate vote tally from the Republican National Convention on Tuesday:
—Mitt Romney: 2,061
—Ron Paul: 190
—Rick Santorum: 9
—Jon Huntsman: 1
—Michelle Bachmann: 1
—Buddy Roemer: 1
—Abstained/undecided/did not vote: 23
— Stephen Ohlemacher — Twitter http://twitter.com/stephenatAP
Downtown Tampa business owners once saw the Republican National Convention as an opportunity to make a profit. Now they're just hoping to break even.