By Jonathon Ambarian and Peter Corkery
As the Republican National Convention moved into its second full day, a number of those on the Vice Presidential shortlist preceded Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Congressman selected by Mitt Romney to join the ticket.
Sen. John Thune of South Dakota spoke about the American Dream and referenced the lives of his grandfather, a Norwegian immigrant, and his father, a veteran and storeowner. However, he also included several jabs at Obama, including an assertion that he could compete with the president in a game of basketball.
“President Obama would be easy to defend, because you know he’s always going to go to his left,” Thune said.
Rob Portman, a Senator from Ohio, focused on economic issues, saying that the choice in November’s election would be between “growth and redistribution.” He challenged Obama to release a detailed economic plan and accused him of a “failure of leadership” for not proposing a successful budget.
Portman’s speech was twice interrupted by chants from the audience, once by a chant of “Romney” and once by “No more years,” a slogan he proposed for the Republican presidential campaign.
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty started his speech welcoming the crowd to “Barack Obama’s retirement party. Pawlenty showed off his comedy chops, saying that Obama takes more vacations than the host of “Bizarre Foods” and created jobs for golf caddies.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice focused primarily on foreign policy, charging that with an unstable global environment, the current administration’s trajectory puts American leadership on the backburner.
“We can only know that there is no choice because one of two things will happen if we don’t lead,” Rice said. “Either no one will lead and there will be chaos or someone will lead who does not share our values.”
Added Rice, “You cannot be reluctant to lead and you cannot lead from behind.”
John McCain, U.S. Senator from Arizona and the Republican candidate for president in 2008, also spoke Wednesday evening. In a speech targeting Obama’s foreign policy, McCain criticized the scheduled withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and called for increased American aid to reformist movements around the world. He also argued that the U.S. needed to restore “faith in ourselves.”
“I trust Mitt Romney has that faith, and I trust him to lead us,” McCain added.