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This morning in the Tampa Bay Times



The Times' Alex Leary on Mitt and the message:

After months of being defined almost exclusively by his campaign as a businessman — and by opponents as an evil one — Romney will use the fresh tableau of the Republican National Convention next week to present Americans with a deeper and more personal portrait of himself, as a family man, a religious leader and someone whose executive experience reaches beyond the boardroom.

"It's critically important for voters to begin to see the human Mitt Romney," said Susie Wiles, a convention delegate from Ponte Vedra Beach. "The focus to date has all been on aptitude, accomplishments and resume. At the end of the day, voters want to like their president, too."

Columnist Sue Carlton: I guess I hope they can see beyond those ugly fences to the city we are.

On the protest beat is Leonora LaPeter Anton: The first contact between police and Republican National Convention protesters is two days away. What happens Monday in downtown Tampa may well determine the success or failure of the entire week.

Watching the weather? Marissa Lang and Anna Phillips: Feels a little like relief. Still, though, Isaac could strafe the region with rags of vicious storm bands carrying heavy rain, high winds and tornadoes.

John Woodrow Cox with ... the Democrats: Soon, tens of thousands of Republicans will descend upon Tampa Bay, but this area's Democrats say they aren't going anywhere. Their schedules are packed: protests, rallies, vigils, press conferences, a visit from the vice president and even a secret-but-not-so-secret "counter-convention."

Romney's faith, say several people recently chosen by bay area Mormon leaders to speak to the media regarding the church and Romney's candidacy, is NOT a deciding factor.

Good news! Drones WON'T be in the sky.

Eric Deggans on Gwen Ifill's Washington Week show in St. Pete.

What's the RNC mean for the Rays? Marc Topkin reports: By giving up a Sunday home game, in which they've averaged 25,950, and instead playing Thursday, when they drew 11,613, the Rays figured to lose several hundred thousand dollars in ticket, concession and parking revenue.

Tampa's Madeline Orio in today's letters to the editor:

I'd like to welcome the Republicans to our fair city and let them know that we stand ready to make their visit safe and enjoyable.

Whether they travel here by car, plane, boat or foot, the DOT, TSA, NSA, NHTSA, FAA and others are working for them. NOAA, the NWS and FEMA will keep them abreast of the weather. The FBI, CIA, State Department and DHS will protect them while they're here, as will the TPD, HCSO, our fire department, SWAT teams, National Guard, Coast Guard, FDLE and other law enforcement agencies. First responders in the medical field are poised to handle anything, should the need arise.

I hope they remember these things while they're here bashing "big government."

And here's Tampa's Cecilia Yocum: The Republican platform that includes no provision for abortion in the case of rape or incest is also an affront to human life — that of the mother.

Francis Fukuyama in the American Interest via the Times' always worthwhile Saturday morning Reading files:

Both Hamilton and Roosevelt believed strongly both in the exceptional character of the American regime and in the idea of progress. Hamilton foresaw that a centralised state would be necessary to create a national market, and an economy based on manufacturing. Roosevelt understood that the industrial economy had unleashed forces that needed to be tamed. They saw national power as a tool to achieve their ends, something to be nurtured and built rather than demonised as something to be drowned in a bathtub.

The chance, of course, that any version of this conservative vision will be adopted by the contemporary Republican Party is close to zero.

Great. Those Westboro Baptist people are coming.

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