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The themes that were developed by the GOP yesterday, which I blogged about here, were out in full force again today. So far, every single speaker has told a story of one of their family members (or, in many cases, themselves) that emigrated to the United States to find freedom and opportunity. It seems to have gone viral - even my cab driver after the event was a very proud new US citizen who hails originally from Haiti.
These stories have all packed a punch. The message is clear, and oft-repeated: America is the only nation in history founded on the ideal of liberty, and that idea is at risk of extinction today.
The clear winners on Day 2 were Condoleeza Rice, Paul Ryan and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez.
Condoleeza Rice has gotten rave reviews on both sides of the political spectrum this morning, for a soaring speech that touched on what freedom and global leadership really look like. The world, she said, is better off with a strong America leading the way with fiscal strength, economic power and the defense of liberty.
Paul Ryan, after a slightly slow start, went on to do exactly everything he needed to do to convince American voters that he's ready for the job. He was at ease, in command of the facts and ready to take the debate to the Left. I remarked afterwards, "Is there such thing as an 8 run home run?"
But I think my favorite speech was given by Martinez. Humble, funny, 100% in love with her freedom and the opportunities for success she was able to find in America. The beginning of her speech set a remarkable tone that demonstrates that the American Dream is available for anyone:
On behalf of the great state of New Mexico, let me express my gratitude for being invited to speak tonight. Growing up, I never imagined a girl from a border town could one day become a governor.
But this is America
Y, en America todo es posible.
My parents taught me to never give up and to always believe that my future could be whatever I dreamt it to be. Success, they taught me, is built on the foundation of courage, hard-work and individual responsibility. Despite what some would have us believe, success is not built on resentment and fears.
We grew up on the border and truly lived paycheck to paycheck. My dad was a golden gloves boxer in the Marine Corps, then a deputy sheriff. My mom worked as an office assistant.
One day, they decided to start a security guard business. I thought they were absolutely crazy - we literally had no savings, but they always believed in the American Dream.
So, my dad worked to grow the business.
My mom did the books at night. And at 18, I guarded the parking lot at the Catholic Church bingos. Now, my dad made sure I could take care of myself.
I carried a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum -- that gun weighed more than I did!
My parents grew that small business-from one 18-year-old guarding a bingo-to more than 125 people in three states. And sure, there was help along the way. But my parents took the risk. They stood up. And you better believe that they built it.
Once again, Republicans are hammering Obama, over and over again, on his "You didn't build that" statement. And for good reason. This election will be a referendum on Obama's handling of the economy. With 23 million people out of work, 42 straight months of unemployment over 8%, and the downgrade of our credit rating (all themes that have been emphasized at the Convention), the last thing President Obama should do is insult the American entrepreneur.
Conservatives, as I pointed out yesterday, are on offense. The Democrats seeking reelection should be very, very afraid.