Welcome to ThinkProgress’ primetime Wednesday coverage of the Republican National Convention. We’re here all night to fact check and debunk the claims of the GOP’s brightest stars. Here is our guide to Wednesday’s speakers.
11:00: Ryan reminds the convention of the need to protect the weakest among us. It’s too bad that his budget would drastically cut the programs they rely on. Religious leaders have described Ryan’s budget as a “immoral disaster” that “robs the poor.” At the same time, it gives the rich and corporations $3 trillion in tax breaks.
10:56: Ryan pokes fun at Mitt. Jokes that the songs on his iPod can also be heard in “many hotel elevators.”
10:50: Ryan reiterates Romney’s goal of capping spending to 20 percent of GDP by 2016 — while growing defense spending and cutting taxes. That would require drastic cuts in programs “such as veterans’ disability compensation, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for poor elderly and disabled individuals, SNAP (formerly food stamps), and child nutrition programs would move millions of households below the poverty line or drive them deeper into poverty.”
10:45: Ryan compares the U.S. debt situation to Europe’s. Across the Atlantic, the austerity policies Ryan favors have pushed nations into second recessions, made the debt situation even worse, and caused unemployment to skyrocket.
10:44: Obama hasn’t amassed more debt than all past presidents combined, as Ryan claimed. The New York Times beaks down the math: “The national debt stood at $10.626 trillion on the day that President Obama took office. It now stands slightly above $15 trillion.”
10:42: Ryan just brought up a “downgraded America.” It was his party that held the debt ceiling hostage, causing America’s creditors to lose faith and downgrade the country. In fact, the ratings agency repeatedly blamed Republicans for refusing to raise taxes.
10:41: Ryan’s claim that he would save Medicare for future generations is highly misleading. The federal government will spend less on the program because seniors will have to pay more.
10:40: Romney/Ryan won’t protect Medicare. In fact, its actuaries estimate that their policeis will shrink the life of the Medicare trust fund from 2024 to 2016.
10:39: Before he became Romney’s VP nominee, Ryan actually bragged that his budget would cut MORE from Medicare than Obama. Here is the table he made:
10:39: This is the part of the speech where Ryan criticizes the Obamacare savings he included in his budget and almost all Republicans in the House supported.
10:38: Repealing Obamacare would increase the deficit by $109 billion from 2013 to 2022 and take away coverage from more than 30 million Americans.
10:37: Ryan says Obamacare has no place in a free country. What about Massachusetts? The two laws are very similar:
10:36: Don’t be fooled. Paul Ryan supported the stimulus when Bush proposed it. Here’s the video.
10:35: Ryan asks what Americans got out of the stimulus. How about 3.3 million jobs saved or created?
10:33: Ryan is still blaming Obama for failing to rescue an auto factory in his Wisconsin district that “closed under President George W. Bush.”
10:32: As Ryan talks about his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, here’s a look at how his budget cuts are decimating its local economy.
10:27: Here comes vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan to tell us about the debt that is strangling America…after voting to add $6.8 trillion to it during his time in the House and proposing a budget plan that would pile on even more.
10:15: While Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM) may be one of the few Latina women at the RNC this year, she is best known for her anti-immigrant stances, including her attempt to keep drivers’ licenses out of the hands of immigrants.
10:14: Rice referenced 9/11 at least twice during her speech, but like McCain, she didn’t mention that Osama bin Laden was killed.
10:08: Rice wants America to “show that we’re a compassionate nation of immigrants.” She should let Romney know. During the GOP presidential primaries, he said America should make immigrants’ lives so miserable that they would choose to leave the country on their own.
10:03: Though the Republican party is widely skeptical of climate change, Rice takes a more progressive stance. She called the US “a major emitter” and said that it is “not above the internation community on this issue.”
10:01: Rice said “you cannot lead from behind.” Yet she endorsed Obama’s so-called “leading from behind” strategy in Libya. “I think it’s good that others can take lead like the British and French,” she said.
9:57: Rice sells the Iraq war in 2003: “The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly [Saddam Hussein] can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” She didn’t mention the war in her remarks tonight.
9:57: Rice criticizes Obama on Syria and wonders where America stands. President Obama has said: “We will help because we stand for principles that include universal rights for all people and just political and economic reform. The suffering citizens of Syria must know: we are with you, and the Assad regime must come to an end.”
9:55: Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is up. She was the 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.
9:49: Huckabee accuses Obama of waging a war on Catholics, referring to an Obamacare provision which requires employers and insurers to offer women birth control. But the measure exempts houses of worship and religiously-affiliated institutions from the requirement.
9:48: Huckabee raises doubts about Obama’s religion. Calls him a “self-professed evangelical” who “tells people of faith that they must bow their knees to the god of government.”
9:46: Huckabee has been the most vocal supporter of Todd Akin in the immediate wake of his “legitimate rape” comments.
9:43:: Huckabee reprises Newt Gingrich’s “food stamp president” line about Obama, ignoring that the growth in food stamps was due to a recession that began before Obama took office. The program has helped keep millions out of poverty, but it faces the axe under Paul Ryan’s budget. A diverse group of faith leaders has condemned the cuts.
9:40: Pretty tasteless line from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: “The only hitch in an otherwise perfect week was the awful noise coming from the hotel room next door to mine. Turns out it was just Debbie Wasserman Schultz practicing her speech for the DNC in Charlotte next week.”
9:30: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) attacks Obamacare, which he labeled “Obamneycare” during the GOP presidential primaries. Here he is explaining himself in front of Mitt Romney:
9:22: Puerto Rican children are suffering the worst rates of poverty out of anywhere in the United States. Eighty percent of kids in Puerto Rico live in high-poverty areas.
9:20: Fortuño says the “government must get out of the way.” But just three years ago, he “appealed to the Obama administration for federal assistance” to help balance the island’s $3.2 billion budget deficit.
9:18: Speaking of families who are struggling: In 2009, Fortuño laid off 30,000 government workers in one fell swoop.
9:16: The National Review gave Puerto Rico Gov. Luis 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.
9:15: Cohen’s Screen Machine Industries of Ohio has received more than $2 million in government contracts, including nearly $220,000 in stimulus funds.
9:15: Business owner Steve Cohen blasts Obama’s “war on coal,” which has led to a 15-year high in Appalachian mining jobs.
9:09: Ryan will give middle and lower class Americans “hope and opportunity for the future,” Portman claims. Forgets to mention that Ryan’s budget gets 62% of its non-defense budget cuts from programs like Pell Grants and job training:
9:04: Portman says Romney has a “detailed economic plan.” Actually, Romney’s plan is notorious for its lack of specifics, and his advisers have said it’s “politically unwise” to offer them.
9:04: Portman asks: “where is Obama’s jobs bill?” It’s right here, senator.
9:00: Welcome to stage, Sen. Rob Portman! He served as George W. Bush’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, during a period when the national debt increased by $500 billion.
8:45: Tad True, a small business owner, is touting renewable energy sources like solar and wind. It’s too bad that Romney’s energy plan is soaked in oil.
8:37: Thune tells a touching story of how his Norweigan relatives immigrated to the United States. Sadly, he would deny the right of citizenship to a lot of eager Americans who want to have a story like Thune’s ancestors’.
8:31: Bondi says our military did not fight for all Americans to have access to affordable health care coverage.
8:30: Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi led the ill-fated conservative fight against Obamacare. She’s presenting the individual mandate as a “tax,” even though Mitt Romney’s health care law includes the same provision.
8:28: Sam Olens, who is speaking right now, is a birther.
8:26: McMorris Rodgers is tonight’s host. She once told reporters that she’d like to see Obama’s birth certificate.
8:23: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) offers the first acknowledgment of Hurricane Isaac and asks delegates to donate to the Red Cross. Another way Republicans could help: stop holding disaster relief hostage.
8:13: Missing from McCain’s speech: any mention of the war in Iraq or Obama’s successful raid against Osama bin Laden.
8:11: McCain is attacking Obama for not doing enough in Syria. Yet Mitt Romney’s Syria policy isn’t any different from Obama’s.
8:09: The military spending sequester wouldn’t be a “crippling blow.” As the CBO has concluded, it would bring defense spending back to 2006 levels.
8:08: McCain says that by committing to withdrawal from Afghanistan, Obama has “discouraged our friends and emboldened our enemies.” Mitt Romney, according to his aide, would also “abide by the 2014 target for transitioning combat operations recommended by the military commanders.”
8:07: McCain is serious about preventing defense cuts. He said he’d be happy to freeze all federal workers’ pay if it means keeping an overloaded military budget.
8:07: McCain said Israel “doubts America’s leadership” under Obama. But Israeli leaders have praised Obama’s commitment to Israel’s security and Israeli President Shimon Peres recently thanked Obama for his leadership on Iran.
8:04: McCain once again brought out the old trope of attacking Obama for “leading from behind.” We wonder if McCain and the Republicans would also criticize South African leader Nelson Mandela, who had once endorsed this particular leadership strategy. Condoleezza Rice, who is scheduled to speak later this evening, also said the U.S. “leading from behind” in Libya was a good idea.
8:00: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has had a long career in the senate, but his presidential bid will be best remembered for his selection of Sarah Palin and singing abilities:
7:56: Romney hopes to highlight national security tonight, but neither him nor Ryan have any foreign policy experience. They’ve surrounded themselves with Bush-era advisers and are still defending the Iraq war.
7:52: Beau Davidson is singing! Mitt Romney appointed the country singer to his “Young Americans for Romney” advisory board. Here are 10 reasons why he’s the worst.
7:46: Bush video tribute time. This is the most you’ll hear from GWB — after all, his policies added $5 trillion to the deficit:
7:43: The first Reagan reference of the night! Republicans forget that the 40th president raised taxes 11 times and nearly tripled the federal budget deficit.
7:40: Paul breaks with GOP dogma, saying that “Republicans must acknowledge that not every dollar spent on the military is necessary or well spent.” Mitt Romney may want to listen. He plans to increase military spending by $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years with no plan to pay for it.
7:38: Paul, talking about taxes, hits Obama for “punishing Exxon Mobil.” The company made $104 million in profit per day so far in 2012.
7:36: Paul touts the benefits of “immigrants coming to our shores.” In 2010, he proposed ending birthright citizenship because he was worried about immigrants taking advantage of it.
7:36: Paul and his father have fairly similar views, but earlier this year Rand broke with his father and argued that there should be a constitutional right to contraception.
7:34: Talk about insulting hard-working Americans. In the throes of the recession, Paul claimed that the poor are getting richer.
7:33: Paul claims that nobody has ever “dared tell Americans you didn’t build that.” Here is Romney telling Olympians just that in 2002:
7:30: Paul thinks he knows better than the Supreme Court — says of Obamacare, “the whole damn thing is still unconstitutional.”
7:29: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) Paul opposes 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.
7:21: Fun fact as McConnell wraps up: He is the top recipient of contributions from oil giant Exxon — outdone only by Mitt Romney.
7:20: If you’re wondering what’s on Obama’s iPod: Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Jay-Z, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Sheryl Crow, Ludacris, Elton John, and Earth, Wind, & Fire.
7:19: Despite McConnell’s claims, Obama’s biggest economic policy, has worked:
7:16: McConnell is blaming Obama for the slow economic recovery, forgetting that he has filibustered almost every job bill in the Senate. In 2010, he proudly proclaimed, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Watch it:
7:15: McConnell kicks off the Romney campaign’s effort to foreignize Obama, arguing that he looks to “Western Europe” for policy.
7:13: Oops! Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) just called Romney “Mitt Ryan.”
7:10: Paul’s Maine delegates were left out of the nomination process because of a rule change.
7:06: The convention is paying a video tribute to Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who is best known for his Libertarian ideology. But in the 1980s, and 1990s, Paul produced newsletters full of racism, bigotry, and conspiracy theories.
7:05: During the Sikh Invocation, a member of the Texas delegation apparently shouted, “In the name of Jesus, Amen!”
7:05: Sikh community Leader Ishway Singh delivered tonight’s Invocation. Earlier today, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer tweeted, “A Sikh will pray tonight at RNC. Christians should be respectful, but not bow their heads. Praying to a different god.”
7:03: Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-MA) daughter Ayla Brown is singing the national anthem. Remember when Brown admitted that he’s taking advantage of the Obamacare provision that allows children to remain on their parents’ health care plans until age 26?
7:02: Condoleezza Rice, one of the few Bush administration officials speaking tonight, was heckled earlier today for her role in the Iraq war and this morning had a hard time naming a single Obama failure on foreign policy.
7:01: Tonight’s headliners: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR), and of course Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
7:00: After opening Tuesday with “We Built It,” Republicans will transition to “We Can Change It,” with a special focus on national security.