Tags: romney | tampa | mormonism | rnc

Romney’s Mormonism to Be Center Stage in Tampa

Monday, 20 Aug 2012 03:43 PM

By Jim Meyers

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A team of Mitt Romney advisers, producers, and designers has been scripting a Republican National Convention that one insider vows will not be “like anything you’ve seen at a convention before.”

And a key decision has been made to highlight Romney’s Mormon faith at the convention rather than to downplay it, Jeremy W. Peters reveals in The New York Times on Monday.

On the night that Romney addresses the convention, which begins on Aug. 27 in Tampa, Fla., a member of the Mormon Church will deliver the invocation.

Some members of the Romney team had argued that Romney should shy away from his faith. “But in the end, they decided to confront it head on — in addition to the invocation, Mr. Romney’s work as a bishop in the Mormon Church will be on display,” Peters reports.

“Despite concerns that his religion might alienate evangelicals and other conservatives, Mr. Romney and his advisers hope that his faith ultimately will be seen as a sign of strength of character, and his time as bishop as an example of his willingness to serve when called.”

The overall goal will be to paint a “full and revealing portrait” of the Republican presidential candidate, according to Peters.

Other convention details he discloses include:
  • Organizers have built a $2.5 million Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired theatrical stage designed “to convey warmth, approachability and openness.”
  • The convention hall will feature two musical stages, one for surprise acts and the second for the house band, which will be led by G. E. Smith, former musical director for “Saturday Night Live” and guitarist for Hall & Oates.
  • The 6-foott-high podium will boast 13 video screens, the largest about 29 feet by 12 feet, all framed in dark wood.
  • A digital clock mounted to one of the arena’s upper rings will show the national debt as it continues to climb under President Obama.
  • The theme of the convention, “A Better Future,” was personally approved by Romney — who gained experience coordinating large-scale events when he headed the Olympic Organizing Committee for the 2002 winter games.
Russ Schriefer, a senior adviser who is heading convention planning for the campaign, told Peters: “This is our chance to lay out the arguments for why Barack Obama has failed and why Mitt Romney would do better, and to do that using a platform where 39 million people tune in to hear him speak, a lot of them for the first time.”

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