Chicago Sun-Times
Staff reports on all things politics - from City Hall to Springfield to Washington, D.C.

Recently in Republican National Convention Category

Hollywood action icon Clint Eastwood caused quite the stir at the Republican National Convention when he hit the stage with an empty chair, no script and a freewheeling attack on the policies of the Obama administration.

Now, Eastwood is back and as serious as can be in his call to "fire" Obama after four years of so-called failed policies.

The last time Eastwood hit the airwaves with a sober message of importance, he was hawking Chryslers and it was Halftime in America. There was conjecture during the Super Bowl when that spot appeared that a political message was embedded in the 2-minute spot. There's no doubt this time where the actor stands.

Michelle Obama had her moment in the spotlight of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night. Ann Romney brought her case - and her husband's story - to the podium last week at the Republican National Convention.

Both women have been lauded for their talks with America. But did one or the other make a better speech? Watch below, then vote below.



31270_ep102_006.jpg
While politics, particularly in this day and age, can draw out the most passionate of feelings from the American electorate, it's apparently nothing compared to Honey Boo Boo.

At least that's the case if you judge these things by TV ratings. And really, what other fair way is there to judge these things.

The Hollywood Reporter points out that for all the time and effort spent worrying over, broadcasting and analyzing the goings-on at the Republican National Convention, a reality show spinoff about a redneck family and their beauty pageant daughter smoked the cable outlets in the ratings.

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, TLC's controversial reality show about a self-proclaimed "redneck" family and their Toddlers and Tiaras daughter, hit another ratings high Wednesday night.

The fourth episode of Honey Boo Boo pulled in just shy of 3 million viewers at 10 p.m., according to Nielsen overnight ratings, growing 30 percent from last week's 2.3 million haul.

In the demo, Honey Boo Boo did even better. The half-hour series' showing among adults 18-49 bested all other cable outings for the night -- including coverage of the Republican National Convention -- to pull a 1.3 rating.

Of course, had the organizers thought to include more of the bizarre content that Clint Eastwood mustered up for his surprise visit to the podium Thursday night, perhaps there would have been a fighting chance against the force of nature that is Honey Boo Boo. Or maybe they could just sign her up for a speech - call it outreach to women voters.

If you've missed the talents of the family, a look at Honey's world:

Of course, it could be the ratings were not just affected by Honey Boo Boo. There was another force of nature to hit the convention in the form of Hurricane Isaac.

Nate Silver blogs at FiveThirtyEight that there were a few bounce factors, Isaac included, that contributed to the lower ratings.

Ratings for the final two nights of the Republican convention were down quite a bit from 2008, declining by about 30 percent overall.

The ratings decline should not really be a surprise. Whereas, in 2008, Senator John McCain announced his running mate, Sarah Palin, just a few days before the convention, making her a national sensation, Mitt Romney rolled out his choice of Representative Paul D. Ryan three weeks ago, perhaps limiting the buildup to Tampa, Fla.

The convention was also shortened by, and had to compete with, Hurricane Isaac. And the security in and around Tampa was airtight, limiting protests and distractions -- but perhaps also the spontaneity and newsworthiness of the event.

TAMPA--Clint Eastwood delivered a loopy and rambling speech--more like a stand-up act-- Thursday night at the Republican Convention--as he tried to make the case to elect Mitt Romney.

Tweeted Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert, "Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic. He didn't need to do this to himself. It's unworthy of him."

Eastwood's name leaked out earlier Thursday as the surprise "mystery guest."
When he took to the stage--at a convention where everything is highly scripted and speeches vetted--Eastwood riffed.

"Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, what's a movie tradesman doing out here? You know, they're all left-wingers out there, left of Lenin. At least that's what people think, but that's not really the case. There is a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans, Democrats in Hollywood. It's just that conservative people, by the nature of the word itself, are -- play it a little more close to vest. They don't go around hot- dogging it."


The speeches: Day 4 of the Republican National Convention

Storified by Craig Newman · Thu, Aug 30 2012 19:04:14

9:02 | Clint Eastwood takes the stage with a giant Outlaw Josey Wales image as the backdrop.
Eastwood speech draws mixed reaction at RNC - Sun-Times PoliticsPrior to Clint Eastwood's reported speech at the Republican National Convention, The Hollywood Reporter talked delegates and got mixed re...
9:02 | Chants of "USA!, USA!, USA!" echo through the halls after Romney tribute.
8:55 | Lots of memories of raising the five boys, with Ann often on her own as Mitt travelled for his career. Mitt to Ann: "Remember, what you're doing is more important than what I'm doing."
8:51 | Tribute video to Mitt Romney - heavy on Olympics turnaround, dealing with Ann's multiple sclerosis and his life with his soul mate.
Sweet blog Mitt Romney acceptance speech: Excerpts http://bit.ly/SX0chvLynn Sweet
8:46 | Ladies and gentlemen, the musical stylings of Democrat R&B singer Bebe Winans.
Watch American Idol Winner Taylor Hicks Sing at RNCpbsnewshour
Taylor Hicks Taking it to the Street #gop2012 http://pic.twitter.com/EEc4BSsdnatasha korecki
8:27 | American Idol season 5 winner Taylor Hicks breaks out his Michael McDonald inner self with the Doobie Brothers' "Takin' it to the Streets.
Watch the RNC Video Tribute To Ronald Reagan's Presidencypbsnewshour
The Republican National Convention was treated to a tribute to Ronald Reagan, but not to a hologram Reagan . . .
Sorry, no Ronald Reagan hologram at the RNC - Sun-Times PoliticsIn this July 17, 1980, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan stands before a cheering Republican National Conventio...
Many people sitting in Illinois delegation sneaking a profile shot of Chris Christie. #GOP2012natasha korecki
Chris Christie standing as he watches tonight's speeches. #GOP2012 http://pic.twitter.com/mTKQjSpLnatasha korecki
GOP convention: a giant screen says "Bain Capital, building business." minority biz owner speaking now #GOP2012natasha korecki
Tom Stemberg, Founder of Staples now talking about "how Mitt Romney helped keep it alive." #GOP2012natasha korecki
Watch the RNC Video Featuring Hispanic Politicianspbsnewshour
Craig Romney: 'It Needs To Be About Como Se Puede' (How Can We?)pbsnewshour
Craig Romney shows off his Spanish fluency - Sun-Times PoliticsSaying he spent the last two years working in Chile, one of Mitt Romney's sons, Craig, reached out to Hispanics Thursday night, speaking ...
Former Mass. Lt. Gov. Healey: Romney 'Worked Harder Than Anyone I Know'pbsnewshour

16201862H28429379.jpeg

In this July 17, 1980, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan stands before a cheering Republican National Convention in Detroit's Joe Louis Arena. | File


What do Ronald Reagan and Tupac have in common? Right, they both won't be at the Republican National Convention tonight. Not even as holograms.

Yahoo News reports that plans to apparently up the energy level of the RNC by having a hologram Regan speak in the closing night have not come to pass.

OK, it was never "officially" planned for the convention, but still . . .

"It wasn't officially going to be part of the convention," Tony Reynolds, founder of crowdsourcing website A KickIn Crowd, told Yahoo News in a phone interview Thursday. "It was going to be outside of the convention at the Lakeland Center."

Why introduce Reagan? Isn't there enough firepower in the big tent this week? Well, Paul Ryan aside, maybe not . . .

"At the time he hadn't chosen Paul Ryan, so I think they were a little worried about his energy," Reynolds said. "Even in a hologram form I think Reagan's going to beat a lot of people in terms of communicating."

Of course, maybe it was all just a joke to begin with. You could always ask the Twitter incarnation of hologram Reagan:


What will the Ohio native Reynolds do in the wake of this letdown? Help Urban Meyer settle in at Ohio State, of course.

What would a Reagan hologram have looked like? Just ask Tupac.

TAMPA--The Mitt Romney campaign confirmed this morning a mystery guest appearing on the final night of the Republican National Convention--and multiple news outlets are reporting it is actor Clinton Eastwood.


Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) outside the Clearwater, Fl. hotel where the Illinois delegation is staying for the Republican National Convention.

(Video by Lynn Sweet)

TAMPA--Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) on Thursday said the Democrats are wasting their time attacking Mitt Romney for his tenure at Bain Capital. Millions of dolllars have been spent on Bain ads and "it has not had an impact for them," Roskam said. Romney accepts the nomination on Thursday night---and his time at Bain will be featured at the final night of the convention.

On Wednesday, President Obama sat down for a virtual town hall on Reddit, the social media news and sharing site.

In his r/IAmA chat, he took on a variety of questions, from money in politics, to his toughest decisions to net freedom concerns.

Here's a sample of the fare:

[-]gobearss 1337 points 18 hours ago

ow do you balance family life and hobbies with, well, being the POTUS?

[-]PresidentObamaObama[S] 2137 points 17 hours ago

t's hard - truthfully the main thing other than work is just making sure that I'm spending enough time with michelle and the girls. The big advantage I have is that I live above the store - so I have no commute! So we make sure that when I'm in DC I never miss dinner with them at 6:30 pm - even if I have to go back down to the Oval for work later in the evening. I do work out every morning as well, and try to get a basketball or golf game in on the weekends just to get out of the bubble. Speaking of balance, though, I need to get going so I'm back in DC in time for dinner. But I want to thank everybody at reddit for participating - this is an example of how technology and the internet can empower the sorts of conversations that strengthen our democracy over the long run. AND REMEMBER TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER - if you need to know how to register, go to Gottaregister.com. By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience - NOT BAD!

rlhZV.jpg

That "NOT BAD" signoff, by the way, is a sly reference to the Obama "Rage Face" meme that has been popular with Redditors. The one pictured was posted by Redditor thrsdy.

The Washington Post has a breakdown on how the traffic for the Q&A was - enough to seize up the site at one point:

  • -- 3.8 million page views on the first page of the Obama Q&A
  • -- 2.6 million unique page views on the first page (and still going)
  • -- Over 22,000 comments. To be more exact, 23,082 as of 11:25 a.m., Eastern Thursday.
Obama has used YouTube and Google+ in the past to take questions as well.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney's camp will be taking to Twitter Thursday when he makes his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination for president. It's not unusual that politicians hit the Twittersphere anymore, but the way Romney's campaign is doing it is new - via a sponsored, or purchased, trending topic hashtag.

Twitter confirmed to The Verge that this is the first time a candidate has bought a trend.