Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Who won and who lost in Tampa

By Alex Castellanos, CNN Contributor
updated 10:16 AM EDT, Fri August 31, 2012
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivers his acceptance speech on the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday, August 30. <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/04/politics/gallery/best-of-dnc/index.html' target='_blank'>See the best photos from the Democratic National Convention.</a> Presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivers his acceptance speech on the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday, August 30. See the best photos from the Democratic National Convention.
HIDE CAPTION
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
Republican convention: The best photos
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111
112
113
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alex Castellanos: It's not too early to name the winners and losers of the RNC
  • He says Ann Romney and Paul Ryan helped Mitt's cause
  • He says holding convention in a hurricane zone is a mistake, but shortened conventions work
  • Castellanos: Chris Christie is a force but not yet a leader

Editor's note: Alex Castellanos, a CNN contributor, is a Republican consultant and the co-founder of Purple Strategies. Follow him on Twitter: @alexcast

Tampa, Florida (CNN) -- The 2012 GOP convention in Tampa has just ended. It is not too early, however, to draw a few conclusions.

My takeaways from this fine event are as follows:

Ann Romney added dimension to Mitt Romney. We see more in him now, through her eyes, if not our own.

Paul Ryan passed the first and most important test of a VP nominee, "Do no harm." Ryan did not say he could see the deficit from his porch.

Alex Castellanos
Alex Castellanos

Ryan helps because he adds the prospect of action and reform to the ticket, helping lead them into the future. He is an agent of change. What Barack Obama had last time in a slogan, "hope and change," Mitt Romney has now in a running mate.

Condoleezza Rice would have been a great VP pick and needs to be somewhere in a Romney administration. This woman can play more than golf.

Susana Martinez is moving up fast on the outside rail for national office but has a long way to go.

Eastwood uses empty chair as prop
Rubio: Obama is a bad president
Romney's speech: Did he win the crowd?

President Obama tried to send Joe Biden to Tampa, but our VP had to cancel because of the storm. Both the Obama campaign and Republicans were disappointed.

Conventions are ridiculously overburdened with security. Note to the Secret Service: If you put "Secret Service" on your vest in big yellow letters, it is no longer a secret.

When you start talking about humanizing your candidate, you are dehumanizing your candidate.

If Obama loses, "you didn't build that" may become the biggest gaffe in presidential campaign history, and the most revealing, too.

If nothing else, the Christie speech proved we are the party of the Big Tent.

There is a great bar in Ybor City, the Bad Monkey. You don't have to bring a bad monkey to enter. They have plenty and, upon request, will fly a screaming "bad monkey" for you.

Conventions, as part of a campaign, have to change what people think. Nearly 70% of Americans think we are on the wrong track. Chris Christie told us we were on the wrong track. If you tell voters what they already know, they stay where they already are.

Wisconsin may lose a congressman, but Romney has gained a son. If anything happens to Romney, Ryan will become president and inherit one-sixth of Romney's money.

Rand Paul's speech was chloroform via teleprompter. He lacks his father's wit and humor. The next lap of Paulites are in big trouble.

In politics, winning isn't everything: You can still lose by winning the wrong war. Republicans may win the war over Medicare while they should be fighting a more relevant conflict, the war to create jobs and growth.

Ryan is a catfish noodler. He wades into a muddy river, sticks his hand in a catfish's mouth and pulls it out of a hole. We now have a perfectly balanced ticket because my guess is Romney has never done that.

The next Republican to place a convention in a hurricane zone in August will have his head held under water for the duration of any storm.

Chris Christie may be a force, but he is not yet a leader. Babe Ruth, disappointingly, bunted.

Marco Rubio is "The Natural." The most important part of his wonderful speech was its generosity. He toned his speech down to serve his primary purpose. Rubio set up the man he was nominating, Romney.

Clint Eastwood can't do improv. He may have hurt Clint Eastwood, but he didn't hurt Mitt Romney. If Woody Allen is right and 80% of success is showing up, then Eastwood was successful. Joe Six Pack in Ohio will remember that Gunnery Sergeant Highway showed up.

Mitt Romney's speech met the moment. It left the impression that a good and decent family man is ready to go to work. That may be enough. It framed this year's choice in a thought: "President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. My promise ... is to help you and your family."

At some point in a debate, Obama is going to turn and challenge Romney, saying, "Mitt, you have nothing new to offer. In fact, on social issues, foreign policy, taxes, spending, Medicare and everything else, you have nothing different to offer than taking us back to what George Bush proposed. That's what got us into this mess." Romney has yet to answer that question. He has until the first presidential debate October 3, in Denver, to find a response.

Conventions are fading into the past, and this may be the last great parade of GOP elephants. Any convention that can be shortened to three days can be abridged to two days, one day and then none.

Lastly, New Democrats have, for the first time, a counterpart: In Tampa in 2012, the New Republican was born. It turns out, we do believe in evolution.

Stay tuned. We have 67 days yet to go.

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Alex Castellanos.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 4:47 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jim Bell says NASA's latest discovery support the notion that habitable worlds are probably common in the galaxy.
updated 2:17 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jay Parini says even the Gospels skip the actual Resurrection and are sketchy on the appearances that followed.
updated 1:52 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Graham Allison says if an unchecked and emboldened Russia foments conflict in a nation like Latvia, a NATO member, the West would have to defend it.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
John Sutter: Bad news, guys -- the pangolin we adopted is missing.
updated 1:10 PM EDT, Sat April 19, 2014
Ben Wildavsky says we need a better way to determine whether colleges are turning out graduates with superior education and abilities.
updated 6:26 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Charles Maclin, program manager working on the search and recovery of Malaysia Flight 370, explains how it works.
updated 8:50 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jill Koyama says Michael Bloomberg is right to tackle gun violence, but we need to go beyond piecemeal state legislation.
updated 2:45 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts say Americans are ready for sensible gun laws, but politicians are cowed by the NRA. Everytown for Gun Safety will prove the NRA is not that powerful.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says Steve Israel is right: Some Republicans encourage anti-Latino prejudice. But that kind of bias is not limited to the GOP.
updated 7:23 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Peggy Drexler counts the ways Phyllis Schlafly's argument that lower pay for women helps them nab a husband is ridiculous.
updated 12:42 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Rick McGahey says Rep. Paul Ryan is signaling his presidential ambitions by appealing to hard core Republican values
updated 11:39 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Paul Saffo says current Google Glasses are doomed to become eBay collectibles, but they are only the leading edge of a surge in wearable tech that will change our lives
updated 2:49 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Kathleen Blee says the KKK and white power or neo-Nazi groups give haters the purpose and urgency to use violence.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Henry Waxman say read deep, and you'll see the federal Keystone pipeline report spells out the pipeline is bad news
updated 7:53 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Frida Ghitis says President Obama needs to stop making empty threats against Russia and consider other options
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT