Susana takes her star turn at GOP convention
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Susana Martinez got her shot Thursday night. And the early reviews were good.
The New Mexico governor seemed to touch all the political bases Republicans hoped she would hit when she made her national debut in front of millions of Americans on Thursday night (Aug. 29) at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
The first Hispanic female governor in US history received a plumb spot on the speakers’ roster, following former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and preceding vice presidential pick Paul Ryan and her 10-minute speech brought delegates to their feet on at least three occasions:
*with Mitt Romney needing to appeal to Hispanic voters, one of the first things Martinez said in her speech was “En America, todo es posible.”
*recalling her time working for her parents’ security business, she fired off her first big applause line by saying, “I carried a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum.”
*although it’s a familiar story for New Mexico political followers, she recounted how she long considered herself a Democrat. But after a lunch date she and her husband Chuck had with GOP officials, she declared, “I’ll be damned, we’re Republicans.”
*took a shot at President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” comment by saying, “If he can take credit for government building small businesses, then he can accept responsibility for breaking his promise and adding 5 trillion dollars to the national debt. Because he did build that.”
Within minutes of the speech, #SusanaMartinez was trending on Twitter and the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza wrote, “This is very good stuff from Susana Martinez. I am a little surprised how good she is tonight given she’s never done this before.”
As you’d expect, conservatives on the blogosphere raved about her performance. On Powerline, Paul Mirengoff wrote:
I confess to wondering about the decision to give the New Mexico governor a plum speaking time on a big convention night, just in front of Paul Ryan. But then I had never really seen Susana Martinez in action.
Now that I have, I wonder no more. The sky could be the limit for this rising star.
But even liberals gave her good reviews. The convention live blogger for the über-lefty Daily Kos wrote:
Susana Martinez is giving a terrific speech, I think. Which I assume means Republicans will hate it.
Here’s more from Cillizza who placed Martinez under the heading of the night’s “winners”:
* Susana Martinez: Before tonight most people — including most Republicans — didn’t know much (if anything) about the New Mexico governor. Martinez changed that — in a good way — with a down-to-earth delivery and ease in the moment that many politicians with much more experience on the national stage would rightly be jealous of. In listening to Martinez, she struck us as the female equivalent of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — very comfortable in her own skin and easily relatable to the average person. The strength of Martinez’s speech was, for us, the most surprising thing about the night.
Before Martinez delivered her speech, New Mexico Democrats criticized her for aligning herself with Romney and Ryan.
“It’s sad that of all the stages that she’s been asked to take to introduce herself to a national audience she has been chosen to introduce Paul Ryan,” said Congressman Ben Ray Luján, who said Ryan is the author of a “radical budget” that “is wrong for New Mexico.”
State Sen. and Martinez detractor Linda Lopez took her own shots, saying that by associating with Ryan, “it just shows she’s not completely connected with the people of New Mexico.”
Just a few minutes later, New Mexico Republicans had their own teleconference praising the governor.
“Voters in New Mexico have gotten to know her as a humble and honest person who lived the American Dream and tonight millions of Americans will get to know her as well,” Economic Development Department Secretary Jon Barela said.
Lt. Governor John Sanchez said Martinez’s political philosophy is “rooted in less government and less regulations that is very close to what Mitt Romney is saying on the campaign.”
Click here to see the text of Martinez’ speech.
And click here to watch C-SPAN’s coverage of the speech.
Here’s the video from the GOP: