Clout: Clout's A-to-Z guide to Republican National Convention

Like the workers at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the GOP is still nailing together its message for America.

HERE'S CLOUT'S A-to-Z guide to the Republican National Convention, starting Monday in Tampa.

A is for abortion - The Republican National Committee has included as a plank a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban abortions, with no exceptions for cases of incest or to save the life of the mother. That is a more strident approach than the presumptive nominee for president, Mitt Romney, takes.

(See R is for Rape for the rest.)

B is for Biden - What better way to kick off the RNC than to have the vice president show up in Tampa to campaign for his job?

This is a high-risk, high-reward move for President Obama's reelection campaign. Joe Biden could use his political savvy to frame the Republican platform in a way that helps Obama. Or he could spout off another major gaffe in the Sunshine State.

C is for Christie - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could nail the convention keynote speech and secure his spot in the party's future. If Romney fails in November, a strong convention pitch by Christie will resonate when the party seeks a presidential candidate in 2016 .

D is for dogs & dressage - Romney famously took a long road trip with the family dog strapped to the car's roof. His wife's horse, which earned the family a $77,000 tax credit in 2010, competed in the Olympics this summer. We're betting that protesters in Tampa will make the most of this fine political fodder.

E is for Etch A Sketch - Don't expect to see any on the convention stage. But the Democrats are sure to play up a gaffe by a top Romney adviser, who said after a big primary win in March that the campaign would shake up its position for the general election like an Etch A Sketch.

F is for facts - Facts during conventions are fungible. The Romney campaign's TV ad hammering Obama on changes to a welfare-to-work program is false, say nonpartisan fact-checkers. It is also working, which means that it will keep running.

G is for gay marriage - The RNC platform calls for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The Democratic National Convention, up next in Charlotte, N.C., has a platform endorsing gay marriage. Obama and Biden spoke in favor of the issue earlier this year.

H is for humid - August in Tampa? We're going to need more ice in these drinks.

I is for identification - Will the push by conservatives across the country to require state-approved identification for voting help Romney win more states or prompt a backlash from Democrats angry at what they call voter disenfranchisement?

J is for Jeb - Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida who resisted being recruited to run for president, is set to speak at the convention. He's far more popular than his ex-president brother. Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" this week started calling its RNC coverage "The Road to Jeb Bush 2016."

K is for K Street - The Washington, D.C., street known for the offices of lobbying firms. Politico reported in May that many firms are skipping the RNC or scaling back the lavish parties they usually throw. Democrats have party-poopers, too. Organized labor is furious that union-unfriendly Charlotte was chosen for that party's convention Sept. 3-6

L is for Latino - Republicans, vying for Latino votes while pressing a hard line on immigration in the RNC platform, cry foul about the Obama-administration policy enacted on Aug. 15 that allows an estimated 1.7 million illegal immigrants brought to this country as children to apply for work permits and avoid deportation if they can prove continuous residency.

M is for Medicare - Will U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney's pick for vice president, scare elderly voters with his plans to remake Medicare? Ryan has been stumping hard on claims that Obama's health-care reform pulls more than $700 billion from the program. He's less eager to talk about the budget plan he proposed twice in the U.S. House, which made the same cuts.

N is for net worth - It looks like Romney is not going to follow his father's example in releasing multiple years of tax returns while running for president. So far we've seen just estimates of Romney's net worth, rumored to be about $250 million.

O is for Obama - The president is likely to be described as socialist, un-American by birth and dedicated to the downfall of the nation as GOP delegates treat him like the convention's piñata.

P is for Priebus and Palin - Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said that he wanted Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska and U.S. Sen. John McCain's running mate in 2008, to speak at the RNC. Palin told Fox News that she declined because everything she said about Obama in her 2008 RNC speech still stands.

Q is for the unanswered question - Why would Palin reject a chance at a microphone on a huge stage in front of her biggest fans?

R is for rape - We feel confident that the GOP didn't want to head into this week debating "legitimate rape" versus whatever U.S. Rep. Todd Akin was talking about when the candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri said that women can't get pregnant that way. Akin quickly apologized and just as quickly rejected GOP pleas to get out of the race.

S is for Santorum - The ex-Senator from Pennsylvania is in the speaker lineup to deliver his well-known brand of right-wing rhetoric. Rick Santorum finds himself in the role that Romney inhabited in 2008, the runner-up to the winner, and so, in GOP fashion, next up on deck for the party. 

T is for Turzai - The delegate that Comedy Central most wants to interview. Mike Turzai, Pennsylvania House majority leader, let slip that the whole voter-ID push would help his party win the state for Romney in November.

U is for unity - Republicans want to come out of Tampa on one team after a divisive primary season. Will the tea party, fans of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, fiscal conservatives, social conservatives and party moderates play well together against Obama?

V is for vouchers - Romney wants vouchers for public-school kids to go to charter, cyber or private schools. Ryan wants vouchers for people under age 55 to pay one day for Medicare. Romney suggests a voucher system for the Veterans Administration.

W is for George W. Bush - The president who served from 2000 to 2008 won't been seen or heard from during the Republican convention. Hey, didja hear Jeb will be there?

X is for the X-factor - Every convention has something looming over it. Could Hurricane Isaac rain on the GOP party? If it does, who will televangelist Pat Robertson, who blamed Hurricane Katrina on debauchery in New Orleans, finger for the blame?

Y is for "You Didn't Build That" - Context be damned, the Republicans have fallen hard for the talking point that Obama said business owners didn't build their businesses. Obama gave the GOP the ammunition with his phrasing. He was really talking about the country being a better place when people work together.

Z is for zilch - The number of times that former Republican presidential contenders Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Paul are at the podium.

- Staff writers John Baer,

Catherine Lucey and Gar Joseph

contributed to this report.


Contact Chris Brennan at or 215-854-5973. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisBrennanDN and follow the Daily News' convention coverage at @CloutCon.