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Monday, July 18, 2016

Live-Blogging the GOP Convention 2016

God help me, I've live-blogged every GOP hootenanny since 2004, first for Editor & Publisher (where I also served as the editor) and then at The Nation.  I even wrote books about the 2008 and 2012 campaigns.   In 2004, I attended the GOP convention in New York, got kicked off the floor, and also marched in the massive peace march.  So, with nothing much else doing at home tonight, I thought I'd try again tonight, off the TV,  for those with better things to do, updated at the top below.  All times ET.

Tuesday 9:55:  Campaign manager Manafort at presser just now defends speech, says Trump furious about complaints, claims Melania "comfortable" that a few "normal" words she used reflected her feelings.  "When Hillary Clinton threatened by female" she attempts to destroy her, he says.  At first he refuses to take questions, then calls her speech highlight of convention so far.  Indeed, that is true, as it turns out....

Later:  It looks like Melania plagiarized part of speech...from Michelle Obama...you know, the part on hard work and integrity.  Yikes.   Robert Mackey here.  There's now a delicious theory that a disgruntled speechwriter did this as an act of sabotage.  Some point to the obvious direct "Rick Roll" lines also in speech about Donald not letting you down.

Melania last night claimed she wrote most of speech herself.  After controversy, Trump team put out brief, incoherent statement and suddenly she has large "team of writers."  They try to suggest that Melania was "inspired" by a lot of things, maybe even Michelle speech? But since huge number of Trump backers think she is the devil, that may not wash either....

Now Trump manager blames guess who...Hillary!  And he digs hole deeper by claiming she "knew what she was doing" and the lifted passages contain words that "do not belong" only to the Obamas.

Chris Christie this morning defends her, saying that, actually, 93% of the speech was original!  But Reince Priebus says that if it happened to him he would indeed fire the speech writer (Melania herself?).  

My old friend Lizz Winstead comments:  "BREAKING: Kim Kardashian has the tape of Michelle Obama giving Melania permission to use that speech."  Rep. Alan Grayson tweets new Tru,mp campaign slogan:  "Make America Copy and Paste Again."

11:55  Yes, Jon Stewart  reunited with Stephen Colbert for five minutes or so, in pretty lame skit (he pretends to be a hermit who goes bonkers on learning that Trump is GOP nominee--fortunately, however, Colbert then returns to former blowhard guise and does a Tonight's Word for old times sake, and it's  "Trumpism").

11:30  I suffered all night for you but I gave up with arrival of Joni Ernst.  MSNBC just brought on my old pal Paul Rieckhoff for a reality check on vets community.  

10:55  New York Daily News front page for tomorrow posted. 

10:50  Quote of the night from speaker Flynn: "War is not about bathrooms." Then he agrees with crowd: "Lock her up, that's right." Adds: "Damn right."  And "American exceptionalism is very real.  Our country was built upon Judeo-Christian principles."

10:22:  And Trump is on.  "Oh, we're gonna win, we're gonna win so big." Then repeats it.  Amazingly, says just a few more words before introducing wife.   She claims he is "kind and fair and caring," but admits that others do not always see it.  Otherwise not much to say.  Crowd seemed sleepy until ovation at end. She offered not a single personal anecdote, just declared his goodness without example, probably a first for candidate wife.  And sacrilege of intro with "Brown Eyed Girl."  Have to hope Van sues. 

10:10   Now weighing in -- Samantha Bee with video, see @FullfrontalSamB

10:00  Primetime.  The three networks join coverage.  MSNBC running clip from  impossibly lame interview Matt Lauer just did for Today with Trump and wife on the plane.  Melania:  Don is an "amazing guy." Stop the presses, if any are left....In the hall, the first protest, Code Pink, natch.  Now Rudy G on, still called "America's mayor" today by Jake Tapper.  Ranting like a hysteric.  As Molly Ivins said about a previous GOP confab, "It sounded better in the original German." And three-times married Rudy hailing three-times-married Trump as great family man.

9:45  Sen. Tom Cotton, likely 2020 candidate, on now. Tells troops, "Help is one the way."  Want us to "win wars not just end wars."  What do you think most troops in Afghanistan would prefer?  These GOPers love vets who have gone to war, unless they are on the other ticket, when they get swiftly boated.

9:25  Milwaukee sheriff on now, ready to slam Blacks Lives Matter and Obama.  He lost it with Don Lemon last night. Opens with "Blue lives matter," sparking chants. And brings "good news" of latest acquittal in Baltimore case.   Accuses BLM and Occupy of "anarchy."  Now Don Lemon on and proudly stating that he does not support Black Lives Matter either.

9:00  Underwear model speaking now.  He has said that he Obama is a Muslim.  Jesus told him to do it.   Says he has kids, in case you were thinking they were letting a gay guy speak.   Naked appeal for Trump....And over on Fox, Megyn welcomes...a former Black Panther and a Cleveland cop who claims Obama has "blood on his hands." 

8:45 Controversy over on Fox!  Trump went on O'Reilly taking attention from Benghazi woman!  Even Brit Hume hitting Bill over this.  Bill claims Trump broke news on promising to use Black Lives Matter against Dems.  And so on....Good Steve Schmidt line:  "The weaponization of grief." 

8:25  Delegates may bounce Pence and name Marcus Lutttrell veep.  Not craziest thing they're doing this year....Mother of Benghazi victim says she holds Hllary "personally" responsible.  How many probes and congressional committees have now cleared Hillary on this?  Says, "Hillary for prison--she deserves to be in stripes." Crowd goes crazy. Then they go to Benghazi video.  Don't recall any of thousands of 9/11 family members at DNC convention in 2004 naming Dubya as killer of their spouse or kid...MSNBC brings on congressman, and Richard Engel, to defend Hillary on this. 

8:10  Chris Matthews hailing Trump kids as incredibly great and nice (as if raised by Jackie Kennedy, he adds) and even "genteel," except maybe when shooting rare creatures in Africa, and so on....."Duck Dynasty" star, the "yuppie hillbilly," takes the stage with prayer and American flag headband.  Still recall when Abbie Hoffman got arrested for wearing a flag shirt....Scott Baio now on, claims Hillary wants to be president only "for herself." Trump just acting for USA, closes, "Let's make America, America again."  Shark jumped.

7:35  Preferred Sarah Paulson's Nicolle Wallace to Nicolle Wallace's....Former obnoxious Saturday Night Live bandleader G.E. Smith once again providing the music for the GOP confab, as he has done in past....Elsewhere in the national league, Cornel West today endorsed...Jill Stein.

 7:15  Every four years there are predictions of protests at conventions making a lot of news and causing chaos but when the times comes they rarely have any impact--as the parties and cities learned long ago to restrict them to security zones far from the hall and most of the media.  I guess I am partly to blame, as a attendee at infamous  Chicago convention protests in 1968. 

7:00  A reminder that Jon Stewart re-joins Stephen Colbert at least briefly tonight.  If you missed Stephen taking the GOP stage, watch

6:40  MSNBC interviewing Ohio's Connie Schultz, great columnist and wife of Sherrod Brown, who would be my pick for VP--if that wouldn't cost Dems a Senate seat.  Dana Bash on CNN chats with Rick Perry who says he is backing Trump because of SCOTUS (but she misses chance to ask him for other reasons)...Chris Hayes runs clip of him interviewing folks at Roger Stone and Alex Jones rallies. Brian Williams now in the anchor chair, with Rachel, and Gene Robinson and Steve Schmidt....Rep. Steve King also told Chris that white race (literally) sueprior to others.

6:25  Just kicking this off by noting that I watched the brief anti-Trump (or if you will, "fair rules") rebellion this afternoon, which the two cable channels almost blew with confusing coverage, though they have compensated since.  Question is: Did delegates really withdraw signatures on petition calling for vote, and if so, what pressure produced it?   One might say it's much-ado-about-little, as the effort to "stop Trump" had no chance to succeed though embarrassment was not killed, as the cablers have been going wild about it since.   Highlight for me was former U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey denouncing the "brown shirt" tactics, linking this to "fascism," and then doubling down by saying it reflected "Trump."   NBC's Kelly O'Donnell later got kicked off the floor, for a bit. We'll see if this goes anywhere later tonight or, as I suspect, the promises of disruptions will go nowhere.

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