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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Ron Paul film, Olympians, Mormons to be featured at RNC



Ron Paul, Olympians and members of the Mormon church will be featured at the Republican National Convention, a Romney campaign official said this morning. And Ann Romney's speech scheduled for Monday could be moved to another day if network TV does not reverse plans to skip the opening day.

On Tuesday, a video tribute to Paul will be shown, a nod to the delegates who remain loyal to the Texas libertarian. "Gov. Romney and Congressman Paul, while they certainly disagree on many issues, they have always had -- and if you watched part of the debates this year -- a lot of mutual respect between the two of them," Romney campaign strategist Russ Schriefer said during a 10 a.m. conference call. "We feel that we're in a good place. We know that not everybody is going to agree with us all the time but we know as a Republican party we're going to unite."

Romney will accept the nomination on Thursday, but the roll call will be Monday. There was some confusion whether that was new, but Schriefer pointed out that was the plan from the start. On Thursday, Romney will be joined by several Olympians who will highlight his leadership over the 2002 games.

There will also be members of the Mormon church who have been helped by Romney or served with him, the campaign said. Romney has largely avoided talking about his faith, fearful of turning off Evangelicals, but it also provides a window into his devotion and charity and friends have been encouraging him to be more open.

Schriefer expressed disappointment the broadcast networks have decided to skip covering the convention on Monday and held out hope they would reverse that decision. But he made it clear that the planners could move Ms. Romney's speech to another day if needed.

Here's how the four days will play out:

Monday: The theme is "We can do better," and will focus on what the campaign sees as President Obama's failed record. "We'll have both speakers and some real people who have been affected by the Obama economy," Schriefer said.

Tuesday: The day will play off Obama's "you didn't build that" comment (which the Obama campaign complains has been twisted out of context) and Romney's vision of less government intrusion in business. Tuesday will also feature the Ron Paul film.

Wednesday: The theme is "We can change it," and will focus on things Romney said can be done to fix the country's problems.

Thursday: The final night centers on the mantra "We believe in America," -- "which is our opportunity to tell Gov. Romney's story in a very complete way," Schriefer said. Members of the Mormon church will be featured as well as more than a dozen Olympians, including Michael Eruzione, a member of the 1980 U.S. ice hockey team.

[Last modified: Friday, August 24, 2012 10:58am]


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