James Carville

Carville And Coulter Square Off At MockCon
Romney And McDonnell Ticket Nominated
By Patte Wood
Staff Reporter
W&L's quadrennial and 25th Mock Convention got off to a lively start as Democratic speaker teacher and author James Carville and Republican pundit Ann Coulter sparred in a spirited debate at the Warner Center on the afternoon of Thursday, February 9th. This year's convention was Republican as the convention selects the nominee of the party out of power. The convention has been wrong only twice in picking the ultimate nominee. The last time was in 2008 when they picked Hillary Clinton as the 2008 Democratic nominee and they expect to be right again this time.

The debate had the two jousting over political issues as W&L alumni moderators POLITICO's Mike Allen and journalist Kelly Evans posed questions on a wide range of issues. Things got especially heated when the topic turned to views on health care and contraception with Carville saying contraception should be given free to anyone that wants it and Coulter saying that health insurance should be only for emergencies and catastrophic illnesses. It was colorful and entertaining and got the audience pumped up and engaged.

Following the debate, opening speaker Governor Mike Huckabee took the podium to begin the political speeches that numbered more than fifteen over the three day convention with several more pre-taped speeches televised to the audience. The only no-show was Herman Cain and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour gave the concluding speech.

The Warner Gym was transformed into a convention center with red, white and blue bunting, flags and lots of large television screens broadcasting live tweets and speeches. Documentaries of highlights from past Mock Conventions were broadcast and there was lots of security as this year's political elite came and went to bring there message from the stage. The rhetoric flowed thickly off the tongues of the speakers to the waiting ears of the W&L student delegates who cheered and applauded throughout. Memorable speeches were by Mike Huckabee, Jon Huntsman, J.C. Watts and Haley Barbour who actually spoke from their own experience, giving sage advice to the students on staying engaged in politics and making a difference.

"Follow the W&L motto - Not Unmindful Of The Future" said Huntsman. "Speak from the heart. This is all about you and your future and it is your duty and obligation to serve and give back. Stay connected despite the difficulties and challenges. We need your level of energy and intellect and be prepared to take over." Talking points mainly followed the Republican Party script the nation has heard during the recent debates including criticisms of Obamacare, the national debt crisis and the lack of jobs were blamed on the Democrats. Speaker after speaker told the students that they and their children are going to have to deal with the $15 Trillion debt that they are inheriting unless it is dealt with now. One speaker said there should be a level playing field so everyone gets a shot at the American dream but those that make it should not be punished with taxes for being successful. Christian values were the foundation of many of the solutions offered and contraception issues prevailed.

The culminating moment came during the roll call of nominations when the Indiana delegation governor of Massachusetts award all of their 46 votes of its delegates putting him over the top of the needed 1141 votes. Romney finished with 1,781 delegates, while Newt Gingrich had 222, Rick Santorum with 151 and Ron Paul with 130. The map of the U.S. showing who carried which state was almost solidly for Romney with a row of pink showing in the southern states that Gingrich carried. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was nominated as the Vice Presidential candidate. Interestingly, when McDonnell was giving his speech on Friday, February 10th, he "accidentally" said, "When I was running for President, oops, I mean Governor . . ." with the audience cheering the slip on the tongue.

Republican Governor Mitt Romney's wife Ann Romney, accepts the nomination on behalf of her husband in a telephone call to the convention that was broadcast to the crowd. Mitt would be addressing you but right now he is in an airplane. “This is awesome,” she said. “We are so pleased. This is a great tradition, and we are glad to see so many students so engaged and involved in the political process in Virginia, a state with a rich history and one that will play a pivotal role in the next election.”

POLITICO's Mark Allen and Journalist Kelly Evans (Photo by Patte Wood)

"Mitt Romney" takes the stage at the conclusion of the 25th W&L Mock Convention to accept the nomination by the Republican delegates on Saturday, February 11th. Romney finished with 1,781 delegates, while Newt Gingrich had 222, Rick Santorum with 151 and Ron Paul with 130. (Photo by Patte Wood)

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