GOP Convention Keeping Women in Focus

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

Political conventions are scripted affairs meant to achieve clear goals of energizing the party and for showing prime time audiences why they should vote for their party. Little if anything about what happens inside a convention is left to chance.

Because it is so scripted, a theme of a convention is fairly easy to pick up on as you watch the coverage. There may be various themes throughout the week, but the theme at the GOP convention on Tuesday night, headlined by Ann Romney and Gov. Chris Christie, was women.

With ads bashing Romney and Ryan as out of touch men who will take away the right to choose from women on the air for weeks, it was critical that the convention begin to stem the tide among women voters.

As my friend Shaun Boyd pointed out on Tuesday night, women have outvoted men in recent presidential elections. With that in mind, the GOP needed to make serious headway with women voters and they needed to do it in a hurry.

The headline acts of Ann Romney and Gov. Chris Christie made their appeals to women voters both in subtle and overt fashion. We heard Ann Romney tell us about the first years of her marriage to Mitt Romney were spent in a basement apartment, working hard to simply get by.

We also heard Ann Romney speak about women voters with an empowering theme saying, “We’re too smart to know there aren’t easy answers, but we’re not dumb enough to accept that there aren’t better answers.”

The GOP desperately needed a strong woman’s voice to speak to women voters. The lack of strong female voices on the GOP side has been deafening. Ann Romney may not have given the GOP the clear advantage with women voters, but among those who saw her speech, she certainly made a positive difference.

Gov. Chris Christie kept the theme going on Tuesday night by telling the audience about his mother and her line about choosing respect over love. He also made sure to say, when commenting about health care, that the government should never be able to get between a woman and her doctor.

Ann Romney and Chris Christie did not reverse all of the damage done from negative ads about the stance on abortion of Romney and Ryan. However, the strength of their speeches and their focus on women voters will make a difference.

The key will be to see what the GOP does with this momentum from Tuesday. If they leave it to wither, then it will evaporate as quickly as it appeared. They can’t stop here with two speeches.

They need to continue to keep women’s issues in the forefront of speeches, especially the headliners. With Condoleezza Rice on deck for Wednesday, that should be a goal that can be accomplished.

I expect this theme to possibly take a smaller role than it did on Tuesday, but still be fairly prevalent for the remainder of the convention. It certainly can be done, and it couldn’t be more important if Mitt Romney hopes to unseat Barack Obama.

If you are going to go ahead and script an entire convention, come up with a good script and follow it. So far, Act 1 has worked for the GOP. But as we all know, it’s usually Act 3 that people really remember at the end of the day.About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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