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Blogging Mock Convention: Day Three

And It’s Romney

On the first ballot, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney got the Washington Mock Convention endorsement when Indiana’s delegation gave him its votes.

Coincidentally, the announcement that Romney had been put over the top came within minutes of a Washington Post News Alert that Romney had won the presidential straw poll of activists attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday in Washington.

While the W&L delegates put Newt Gingrich a distant second followed by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the CPAC  poll had Paul in second place.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who had addressed the convention on Friday and reiterated his support of Romney, was a favorite son selection as the vice presidential nominee.

It was clear from the start of the roll call that Romney was going to breeze to the nomination — a far cry from W&L’s 1924 Democratic Mock Convention, which needed 23 ballots to select John W. Davis, a dark horse candidate who happened to be an alumnus of the University. In the end, that prediction proved accurate and actually came much more readily than the actual convention which took 17 days and 103 ballot to nominate Davis.

Haley Barbour Offers Keynote

As the Mock Convention moved toward its climax with the roll call vote, the final speaker of a weekend filled with big names took the stage. Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour was introduced by senior Sorelle Peat, who chaired the speaker committee which was responsible for bringing the all-star lineup.

It was Barbour’s second visit to a W&L Mock Convention. He appeared at the 1996 event, which correctly nominated Bob Dole as the GOP nominee.

“I can’t wait til the afternoon’s over,” Barbour told the delegates, “because I know you’re going to get it right. And I can you tell right now I have no idea who’s going to be our nominee, so you’re ahead of me.”

The basic question, Barbour said, is “What kind of America do we Americans want to have?”

Photo Gallery from Session Three

Washington and Lee campus photographers Patrick Hinely and Kevin Remington have been providing a steady stream of images that the W&L web team of Jessica Willett, Jim Goodwin and Eric Owsley have been using to update Scene on Campus throughout the weekend.

You can see their handiwork at our Scene on Campus page.

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Virginia’s George Allen Makes His Mock Con Appearance

George Allen, former U.S. senator and Virginia governor, followed Goodlatte. Allen addressed the students about the job market, student loans and “the youth-misery index” in the context of what he called an “overreaching federal government,” “dangerous levels of debt” and “counterproductive energy policies.” With these themes, he echoed remarks by Goodlatte and other speakers. Allen is running for the U.S. Senate seat he held from 2000 to 2006.

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Henry McMaster, Former S.C. Attorney General

After a talk by political consultant Dick Morris (who also spoke at the Mock Con Spring Kickoff in 2003), Henry McMaster, the former attorney general of South Carolina, took the stage quoting song lyrics by Tom Petty and Bob Dylan. McMaster, the former chair of the South Carolina Republican Party, told the assemblage home-spun lawyering stories about such personalities as U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond and his friend, the late Jack Kemp, who ran as the Republican candidate for vice president with Bob Dole in 1996.

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Mock Convention Featured on Fox News

When he left Lexington after delivering his speech at the W&L Mock Convention on Friday, House Majority Leader and Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor stopped off in Charlottesville to do a spot with Greta Van Susteren for her “On the Record” program on Fox News.

The piece aired last night, and the Mock Convention got a big boost from Cantor, who referred numerous times to the work that the W&L students do in producing the event and selecting the candidate.

You can watch the video on the “On the Record” website.