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 4:06 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Timothy Stanley says Lewinsky is shamelessly playing the victim in her affair with Bill Clinton, humiliating Hillary Clinton again and aiding her critics
updated 9:02 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Imagine being rescued from modern slavery, only to be charged with a crime, writes John Sutter
updated 12:00 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Tidal flooding used to be a relatively rare occurrence along the East Coast. Not anymore, write Melanie Fitzpatrick and Erika Spanger-Siegfried.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Carol Costello says activists, writers, politicians have begun discussing their abortions. But will that new approach make a difference on an old battleground?
updated 9:12 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Sigrid Fry-Revere says the National Organ Transplant Act has caused more Americans to die waiting for an organ than died in both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq
updated 2:51 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Crystal Wright says racist remarks like those made by black Republican actress Stacey Dash do nothing to get blacks to join the GOP
updated 6:07 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Mel Robbins says by telling her story, Monica Lewinsky offers a lesson in confronting humiliating mistakes while keeping her head held high
updated 9:29 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Cornell Belcher says the story of the "tea party wave" in 2010 was bogus; it was an election determined by ebbing Democratic turnout
updated 4:12 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Les Abend says pilots want protocols, preparation and checklists for all contingencies; at the moment, controlling a deadly disease is out of their comfort zone
updated 11:36 PM EDT, Sun October 19, 2014
David Weinberger says an online controversy that snowballed from a misogynist attack by gamers into a culture war is a preview of the way news is handled in a world of hashtag-fueled scandal
updated 8:23 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Julian Zelizer says Paul Krugman makes some good points in his defense of President Obama but is premature in calling him one of the most successful presidents.
updated 10:21 PM EDT, Sun October 19, 2014
Conservatives can't bash and slash government and then suddenly act surprised if government isn't there when we need it, writes Sally Kohn
updated 8:05 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
ISIS is looking to take over a good chunk of the Middle East -- if not the entire Muslim world, write Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider.
updated 9:00 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
The world's response to Ebola is its own sort of tragedy, writes John Sutter
updated 4:33 PM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
Hidden away in Russian orphanages are thousands of children with disabilities who aren't orphans, whose harmful treatment has long been hidden from public view, writes Andrea Mazzarino
updated 1:22 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
When you hear "trick or treat" this year, think "nudge," writes John Bare
updated 12:42 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
The more than 200 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls have become pawns in a larger drama, writes Richard Joseph.
updated 9:45 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
Peggy Drexler said Amal Alamuddin was accused of buying into the patriarchy when she changed her name to Clooney. But that was her choice.
updated 4:43 PM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Ford Vox says the CDC's Thomas Frieden is a good man with a stellar resume who has shown he lacks the unique talents and vision needed to confront the Ebola crisis
updated 4:58 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
How can such a numerically small force as ISIS take control of vast swathes of Syria and Iraq?
updated 9:42 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
How big a threat do foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq pose to the West? It's a question that has been much on the mind of policymakers and commentators.
updated 8:21 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
More than a quarter-million American women served honorably in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Now they are home, we have an obligation to help them transition back to civilian life.
updated 4:27 PM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Paul Begala says Rick Scott's deeply weird refusal to begin a debate because rival Charlie Crist had a fan under his podium spells disaster for the Florida governor--delighting Crist
updated 12:07 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
The longer we wait to engage on Ebola, the more limited our options will become, says Marco Rubio.
updated 7:53 AM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Democratic candidates who run from President Obama in red states where he is unpopular are making a big mistake, says Donna Brazile
updated 12:29 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
At some 7 billion people, the world can sometimes seem like a crowded place. But if the latest estimates are to be believed, then in less than a century it is going to feel even more so -- about 50% more crowded, says Evan Fraser
updated 12:53 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Paul Callan says the Ebola situation is pointing up the need for better leadership
updated 6:45 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Nurses are the unsung heroes of the Ebola outbreak. Yet, there are troubling signs we're failing them, says John Sutter
updated 1:00 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Dean Obeidallah says it's a mistake to give up a business name you've invested energy in, just because of a new terrorist group
updated 7:01 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Fear of Ebola is contagious, writes Mel Robbins; but it's time to put the disease in perspective
updated 1:44 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Oliver Kershaw says that if Big Tobacco is given monopoly of e-cigarette products, public health will suffer.
updated 9:35 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Stop thinking your job will make you happy.
updated 10:08 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says it's time to deal with another scandal involving the Secret Service — one that leads directly into the White House.
updated 7:25 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Americans who choose to fight for militant groups or support them are young and likely to be active in jihadist social media, says Peter Bergen
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Stephanie Coontz says 11 years ago only one state allowed same sex marriage. Soon, some 60% of Americans will live where gays can marry. How did attitudes change so quickly?
updated 4:04 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Legalizing assisted suicide seems acceptable when focusing on individuals. But such laws would put many at risk of immense harm, writes Marilyn Golden.
updated 9:07 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Julian Zelizer says the issues are huge, but both parties are wrestling with problems that alienate voters
updated 6:50 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Mel Robbins says the town's school chief was right to cancel the season, but that's just the beginning of what needs to be done
updated 11:43 AM EDT, Sat October 11, 2014
He didn't discover that the world was round, David Perry writes. So what did he do?
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT