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Tipsheet

Lovely Lady, Heavy Hitter: Previewing RNC Tuesday

Tonight's evening session features a formidable line-up of speakers.  A few expected highlights:

Sen. Kelly Ayotte - Americans will meet a bright and talented conservative female Senator from the Northeast.  When Sen. Judd Gregg announced his retirement in 2009, many Republicans wrote his seat off.  Ayotte not only retained it for the GOP, she won in a landslide.

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Gov. Bob McDonnell - Virginia's chief executive was often discussed as a potential running mate for Mitt Romney.  I'd bet he'll discuss his state's strong economy and third-straight budget surplus. 

Gov. Scott Walker - In June, the political world was fixated on a high-stakes recall race in the state of Wisconsin.  Scott Walker's bold and successful conservative reforms lit a firestorm on the Left, and state Democrats mounted a long and costly battle to remove him from office.  They failed; he expanded his victory margin.  Walker will likely talk about the merits -- both politically and on principle -- of making the hard decisions.

Sen. Rick Santorum - The former Pennsylvania Senator was one of Romney's most dogged rivals throughout the GOP primary.  His speech and presence will appeal to social conservatives, whose values Santorum has championed throughout his career in public service.

Ted Cruz - Texas Republicans' come-from-behind Senate nominee is a favorite of grassroots conservatives. He's also part of the GOP's concerted Hispanic outreach effort.

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Rep. Artur Davis - The former Democratic Congressman from Alabama served as co-chair of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.  He's switched parties this year and is endorsing Mitt Romney.  He'll explain why.

Gov. Nikki Haley - South Carolina's Governor will address economic issues, and may touch on the right-to-work battle her state waged with the feds over Boeing.

Mrs. Ann Romney - This is Team Romney's biggest chance to "humanize" their candidate.  Mitt's wife of more than four decades will discuss their love, their family and their values.  By all accounts, Mitt has been be a kind and loving husband and father -- so who better to paint that picture than his high school sweetheart, Ann?  She says she's struggling a bit adjusting to reading from a teleprompter, so we'll see if there are any significant hiccups during her remarks.  She's not a natural public speaker or a polished political actor, but that's not her role.  Ann Romney is generally seen as much more likeable than her husband.  Will a heartfelt ode to the man she loves give him a boost?

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Governor Chris Christie - This guy's about to 'Go Jersey' on President Obama.  He'll offer a stinging rebuke of the incumbent's divisiveness and lack of leadership.  He'll also build a case for Mitt Romney, whom he endorsed early.  Christie's keynote address is probably the most hotly anticipated speech of the night, a reality that Christie's already joking about.  This should be fun.

One additional note: The multi-platinum rock band Three Doors Down will debut their new single during this evening's primetime proceedings.

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