"What You Should Know About Wednesday’s Republican Convention Speakers"
As the GOP kicks off its convention in Tampa, Florida this week, ThinkProgress will keep you updated every morning on everything you need to know about the featured speakers and we’ll live blog the festivities every night starting at 7:00 PM. Here is a rundown of Wednesday’s lineup:
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
While the former GOP presidential candidate should be commended for criticizing Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) anti-Muslim witch hunt (something Romney refused to do), McCain has been unapologetic in his support for the Iraq war and now supports moving the country closer to war with Iran. McCain has defended Romney for taking credit for the auto bailout, but the Arizona Republican recently took aim at one of Romney’s super PACs, saying “corporations are not people.”
Rice was a key architect of the Iraq war and continues to blindly defend the war and her role in it, saying as recently as 2009 that she’s “proud” the U.S. invaded. She justifies President Bush’s torture program and has even credited her former boss for the Arab Spring. While she said she was “especially proud” of President Obama’s election victory in 2008, Rice now supports Mitt Romney. Rice hasn’t exactly been the best surrogate, as she recently struggled to define the presumptive GOP nominee’s foreign policy (she’s not the only one).
Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM)
While she may be one of the few Latina women at the RNC this year, Martinez is best known for her anti-immigrant stances, including her attempt to keep divers’ licenses out of the hands of immigrants and her retraction of a policy that barred law enforcement from unprovoked investigation into a person’s legal status.
Gov. Luis Fortuño (R-PR)
The conservative publication National Review gave Fortuño the title of “Puerto Rico’s Scott Walker” — and that’s not a compliment. Fortuño has presided over huge cuts to his island’s budget; he suspended all collective bargaining rights for two years; and he stopped all salary increases for public employees for two years. He also is trying to force Puerto Rican schools to teach their students in English, instead of the island’s native Spanish.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, once considered a front-runner to be Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick, served in both Bush administrations. From 2006 to 2007, a time when America’s deficits and debt were exploding, Portman served as George W. Bush’s director of the Office of Management and Budget as debt increased by $500 billion on his watch. Portman was also a member of the debt supercommittee that blew up because Republicans remained intransigent on tax increases.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Paul, serving his first term as a senator from Kentucky, is a Tea Party favorite who has opposed the Civil Rights Act and Americans With Disabilities Act and has made a habit of touting conspiracies about gun control and other issues while citing “9/11 Truther” web sites. Paul has repeatedly compared health care as a right to slavery, and he defended British Petroleum in the wake of the Gulf Oil Spill, calling the Obama administration’s policy towards the company “un-American.” Paul also thinks Americans are too rich to fall into poverty.
Attorney General Pam Bondi (R-FL)
As the attorney general of Florida, Bondi led the ill-fated conservative fight against Obamacare. She has called the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision “tragic,” and disputes the notion that the Republican Party has adopted policies that disadvantage women. In 2011, federal foreclosure investigators alleged that Bondi fired them for pursuing banks too aggressively.
Tim Pawlenty (R-MN)
Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota, was the first of the Republican presidential candidates to withdraw from the race last year, dropping out after his third place finish in the Ames Straw Poll. During the course of his campaign, Pawlenty distorted his own record on healthcare, including downplaying his support for an insurance exchange, to attack Obamacare. He admitted that he’s a Lady Gaga fan, but claimed that the science is still “in dispute” as to whether gays and lesbians are “born this way.” Science clearly isn’t Pawlenty’s strong point, as he also believes “the science is bad” regarding the human impact on climate change.
Mike Huckabee (R-AR)
Huckabee is the former governor of Arkansas and a Southern Baptist minister, but since his failed presidential run in 2008, he’s best been known as a social conservative pundit on Fox News and syndicated radio. Most recently, he defended the odious “legitimate rape” comments made by Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), reminding of his past support for anti-choice “personhood” and “heartbeat” bills. Huckabee also organized the recent grand display of anti-gay sentiment known as Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day and lauded the Boy Scouts of America’s discriminatory policies as protecting children from pedophilia. Huckabee opposes workers’ rights, joking to a crowd of Ohioans that if their friends were going to vote to support unions, they should “let the air out of their tires.” When Huckabee offered a list of Republican candidates he would support in this election, Romney was noticeably missing.