Media strategist Fred Davis, who advised GOP Sen. John McCain in his 2008 presidential run, remembers watching the conventions with his parents "until my eyes couldn't stay open any longer." They were highly scripted even back then, but they somehow felt like more of an "event."
This year, Davis didn't even bother leaving his Santa Barbara, Calif., home to attend the Republican National Convention
"It's not getting more intimate," he says. "It's getting less."
Davis says the "worst speech I ever gave in my life" was one he delivered to a high school in Tulsa, Okla. His mistake: Working from a text.
Davis says making someone like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie work with a teleprompter in Tampa, Fla., "strikes me as a mistake."
"You have one of the great from-the-heart speakers in the world," he says. "Chris Christie will do fine, because he's a very skilled orator. But it won't be what it could have been ... and the reason is they want to control every word that he says."
— Allen G. Breed — Twitter http://twitter.com/AllenGBreed
EDITOR'S NOTE — Convention Watch shows you the 2012 political conventions through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.