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RNC to feature members of Romney's church, Ron Paul tribute

August 24, 2012|By Michael A. Memoli
  • "Fox News Sunday's" Chris Wallace joins Mitt Romney and Ann Romney for a stroll with their grandson, Johnny, in Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H.
"Fox News Sunday's" Chris Wallace joins Mitt Romney and… (Fox News via Associated…)

The marquee night of next week's Republican National Convention will feature testimonials from individuals who worked with Mitt Romney in his local church – the most expansive discussion yet by the GOP hopeful's campaign of his Mormon faith.

A senior Romney official who briefed reporters Friday morning said that among the representatives of the church who will be featured Thursday would be someone who followed him as the leader of the faith community and who would talk "about what it was like to fill Gov. Romney's shoes."

Others will be those who Romney "helped in different times of their lives," Romney campaign strategist Russ Schriefer said.

It's part of an evening in which the campaign plans to tell Romney's story "in a very complete way." It also will include more than a dozen Olympians, including 1980 U.S. men's hockey gold medalist Mike Eruzione, who lit the torch at the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games that Romney ran.

Not mentioned on the call as part of the Thursday proceedings was Romney's business record, a part of his resume the Obama campaign has zeroed in on during the summer.

Romney will formally accept the nomination for president that night to close a week of events with the overall theme of "A Better Future."

The convention opens Monday with the daily theme of "We Can Do Better," which will feature speakers addressing "the failures of the Obama economy," organizers said. Tuesday's theme is "We Built It," a response to Obama's "You didn't build that" remark about the role of government fostering the growth of small businesses.

On Wednesday, the convention turns from a critique of the incumbent Democrat to the Republican plan. With the theme of "We Can Change It," speakers that day will talk about the agenda of a Romney presidency, focused on his proposals aimed at the middle class. Rep. Paul Ryan will accept the nomination for vice president that night.

Thursday's theme is "We Believe in America."

Monday's proceedings also will include the formal roll-all vote to officially nominate Romney. Schriefer said the goal was to have the "over-the-top moment," when Romney clinches the nomination, come just as the evening news programs are airing on the East Coast. No prime-time network coverage is scheduled for that evening, which was to include a speech by Ann Romney. Schriefer said he hopes networks will still reconsider, while leaving open the possibility Ann Romney could address delegates  Tuesday night.

Tuesday will also feature a video tribute to Texas Rep. Ron Paul, whose passionate followers will have a major presence both inside and outside the convention hall. Schriefer said there has long been a "lot of mutual respect" between Romney and Paul, and said the tribute will show how the party is uniting with the common goal of defeating Obama.

michael.memoli@latimes.com

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