- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 14, 2016

The lead-up to the Republican National Convention is approaching fever pitch. There is genuine drama in the air, the excitement fed by a global audience who may love - or hate - the political spectacle which begins Monday. Few can take their eyes off it, however. And a dynamic to consider. Critics have squawked about Donald Trump’s considerable network TV experience and sense of showbiz over the years. But those two skills will come in mighty handy now that the curtain is about to go up. Mr. Trump is not likely to retreat into rigid talking points when the news media goes in for a Hollywood close-up of the GOP nominee and his camera-ready running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a pro-life icon.

Speakers for the convention are many: A partial list includes 62 Republicans and conservative luminaries plus an array of surprise guests from the sports and entertainment realms who will take to the stage in Cleveland. The roster includes everyone from Newt Gingrich, Ben Carson and Gov. Scott Walker to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Sens. Ted Cruz and Joni Ernst, plus Gov. Chris Christie. And yes, wife Melania Trump and three of Mr. Trump’s children will also have their say.

Among those not attending the convention: Former President George W. Bush, Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain.

Stephanie Martin - a communications professor at Southern Methodist University who will attend the convention start to finish - says she is “expecting the unexpected’ at the event.

“I’m anticipating the experience to be, probably more than any convention of the contemporary era since 1968, a convention that is a work in progress day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute,” she says. “What I’m expecting is a developing story that people will be struggling to get their arms around every single day and that will require the kind of the flexibility of political actors and media that hasn’t been seen in a long time.”

The potential off-the-cuff nature of the convention is a high-risk, high-reward proposition for the Republican nominee,” says Ms. Martin, who adds “While most 21st Century political conventions are largely ignored, there will likely be plenty of eyes on Cleveland.”

FOX NEWS: ‘TAKEOVER - THE TRUMP CONVENTION’

Keep in mind that the GOP convention will host 15,000 credentialed journalists from all over the world. Talking heads will have access to a new-fangled “media row” which offers them round-the-clock access to live cameras and microphones any time they feel moved to comment. Cable and many broadcast networks will offer wall-to-wall coverage of the big Republican doings.

The coverage is so complex on Fox News that special convention programming begins Friday on the network; of particular note is a special preview titled “Takeover - The Trump Convention,” to air Saturday at 8 p.m., hosted by anchor Bret Baier. Fox News swings into “America’s Election Headquarters” mode on Sunday, and it will last for the duration of the convention.

Mr. Baier and primetime host Megyn Kelly will co-anchor the evening programming live through Thursday, joined by a rotating team of commentators and hosts including FOX News Sunday host Chris Wallace, senior political analyst Brit Hume, political analyst Juan Williams and former White House press secretary Dana Perino. Also in the analysis chair: Karl Rove, and contributors Joe Trippi and Stephen Hayes.

Somebody has to be on the convention floor. That job falls to America’s Newsroom co-anchors Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum along with chief political correspondent Carl Cameron. The network’s signature primetime line-up will telecast live from convention all week, starting with On the Record with Greta Van Susteren at 7 p.m. ET from the arena floor while The Kelly File (9 p.m. ET) and a special two-hour Hannity (11 p.m. ET) will be presented from the convention arena sky box. Additionally, Bill O’Reilly will host The O’Reilly Factor (8 p.m.) live from Cleveland on Wednesday and Thursday.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Balloon inflation event”

- Scheduled for Saturday in Cleveland. Treb Heining, the man behind the balloon drops for every Republican National Convention since 1984, will inflate 125,000 balloons with the help of local high school students. “The Balloon Inflation Event is open to the press,” GOP officials advise.

 

FROM THE BELTWAY VAULT

- From Inside the Beltway, dated July 23, 2012

Gary Johnson’s still standing, still touring: the Libertarian presidential hopeful, in fact, is quite cheerful these days, having drawn 5 percent of the national vote in multiple polls. The phenomenon has prompted Mr. Johnson to insist he be included in presidential debates with President Obama and Mitt Romney, which begin Oct 3. Tanned and resolute, Mr. Johnson was in the nation’s capital on Monday with an entourage of two, but a full schedule. And yes, the sight of the White House gives this true Washington outsider great pause whenever he comes to town.

“Yes, I want to be there. I see myself in there. It’s really a matter of karma. I visualize myself in the White House,” Mr. Johnson tells Inside the Beltway, adding that his personal style and Southwestern roots would be right at home in the hallowed halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”One thing I would do,” the former New Mexico governor vows. “If I became president, I’d ground Air Force One. Who needs that expense? And I’d also stop snarling traffic wherever I went. That’s got to go, too.”

HISTORY IS ON MARCO’S SIDE

So how will Sen. Marco Rubio fare in his campaign for re-election in Florida following his unsuccessful bid for the White House? The chances are he’ll do pretty well.

“History suggests Rubio should win reelection despite a failed presidential campaign,” says Eric Ostermeier, a University of Minnesota politics professor who delved into the recent past to make his conclusion.

“Senator Rubio is hardly the first sitting member of the U.S. Senate to run for president, fail, and then seek reelection back to his seat all in same cycle. Those senators who have done so over the past half-century have an unblemished track record at keeping their seat,” Mr. Ostermeier reports.

His  analysis finds that all seven sitting U.S. Senators who ran for reelection in the cycle of their failed presidential bid since 1972 were victorious – and each by double-digit margins.

And the particulars: The seven U.S. Senators who won reelection coming off failed White House bids were Texas Democrat Lloyd Bentsen (1976), West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd (1976), Washington Democrat Scoop Jackson (1976), Kansas Republican Bob Dole (1980), Texas Republican Phil Gramm (1996), Utah Republican Orrin Hatch (2000), and Delaware Democrat Joe Biden (2008).

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: Landmark historic condominium in the former St. Elizabeths girl’s boarding school, built in 1860 in Italianate style, in New Orleans; building formerly owned by author Anne Rice. Three bedrooms, five bathrooms, two-stories 5,000-square-feet, 24-foot ceilings, original stained glass windows, oak flooring, millwork and plaster molding; Venetian paneling, murals, completely renovated. Library, Gothic balcony and theater, many other amenities. Priced at $4.4 million through Keller Williams; consult 1314NapoleanUnit16.com

POLL DU JOUR

75 percent of Americans say a major reason why they are voting for a presidential candidate is to “oppose the other candidate.”

70 percent say their mind is “completely made up” over who they will vote for in the presidential election.

63 percent say their candidate has the best positions on the issues.

58 percent say their candidate is the most qualified to be president.

55 percent say their candidate is the strongest leader.

43 percent say voting for their candidate sends a message to the political establishment.

Happy talk, chit-chat to [email protected]



Source: An AP/GFK poll of 1,009 U.S. adults conducted July 7 to 11.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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