Fact-checking the 'fact checkers' at the RNC

August 29, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
There was a standing ovation as Stanford professor and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took the stage, but the night belonged to the vice presidential nominee, Congressman Paul Ryan, R-WI.

Ryan accepted the nomination saying he and Mitt Romney are ready. In his speech he said, "After four years of getting the runaround, America needs a turnaround and the man to do it is Gov. Mitt Romney."

Ryan has been attacked for his plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program for Americans currently under age 55. He was heckled by two Code Pink protestors and he pushed back.

"A Romney-Ryan administration will protect Medicare for my mom's generation, for my generation, and for my kids and yours," said Ryan.

He said he's not only ready for the debate, he's ready for the battle. "They have no answer to this simple reality -- we need to stop spending money we don't have. Really simple... not that hard."

For supporters who wanted him to share his personal story, he did a little by talking about how his father died when he was a teenager and his mom started a small business. He said, "Her work gave her hope, it made our family proud, and to this day my mom is my role model."

He said the choice this November comes down to limiting growth or limiting government. "Join Mitt Romney and me. Let's give this effort everything we have, let's see this thing all the way through, let's get this done."

It was a rousing speech and it moved the audience at the forum. Thursday night Romney will accept the Republican nomination for president and will move this year-long campaign into the final stretch.

Fact-checking the 'fact checkers' at the RNC

The Republicans may be throwing the big party in Tampa this week, but that does not mean the Democrats are staying at home. They've set up a war room in Tampa to push back on the GOP convention's message.

It is all about spin on both sides, which is pretty typical for conventions in the last few decades. The opposition will come into town, they'll set up a rapid response team, and they'll tell you that they're doing it because they're interested in getting out the facts. This time, the fact checkers are getting checked.

This is the Republican National Convention, but right across the street from the convention hall where the Democrats have a message on a hard-to-miss billboard. It says, "The Romney-Ryan Plan to end Medicare as we know it costs seniors up to $6,400 more for Medicare."

And down the street inside the Democratic war room, researchers are taking in the Republican emphasis on Romney's business experience and pushing back.

"For companies it means they get loaded up with debt, for workers it means they lose their health care, their retirement, and their jobs," said former Obama White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

Gibbs calls it "truth serum," but if it sounds more like the Democratic Party line listen to what the Democrats are saying about the GOP's pro-life amendment plank.

"Not having access to health care and the choice of abortion, if you're a victim of rape or incest -- which is the party's platform -- is a truly stunning thing," said Gibbs.

And it would be if it were accurate.

"And that's not accurate," said Rob Farley, the point man for FactCheck.org's coverage of the convention and the Democratic response. He says the facts are the Republican plank doesn't talk about rape or incest. "It doesn't mention that at all. It doesn't get into those kinds of specifics."

The Republican plank would leave exceptions up to the states, but that fact isn't deterring Democrats like Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

"Whether it's the issue of abortion, even in the case of rape and incest..." said Villaraigosa.

"We've been busy as you can imagine," said Farley.

Farley says in spite of the all the fact-checking, the same old mis-information is being repeated by both sides. It hasn't really changed the dialogue.

"And I'm not sure that it necessarily should or is intended to. I think what you're doing is at least providing a service so people can see what the facts are, they can make informed decisions -- that's enough," said Farley.

And that's why we do it. To get more on FactCheck.org's work on the convention click here.

Wednesday night, Paul Ryan will speak at the Republican National Convention delivering the most important speech of his political career.

Rudy Giuliani delivered the RNC keynote speech back in 2004. He also spoke right before Sarah Palin did in Minneapolis in 2008. When asked what advice he had for Ryan, he said, "Just be himself. Nobody describes Paul Ryan's budget better than Paul Ryan. No one understands the economy better than Paul Ryan and Paul Ryan has a gift that not a lot of people have. He's a very complex thinker in terms of the economy, but he knows how to express himself in plain English and that's what I want to see him do tonight."

When we caught up with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, R-GA, he suggested Ryan talk about personal stuff in his speech. Gingrich said, "He has a remarkable life, growing up with his dad dying when he was young, he has a wonderful relationship with his wife and his family. I don't know how many Wisconsin stories he'll tell, but I think a guy who takes his girlfriend to his favorite fishing lake to propose, is sufficiently unique that just getting to know him on his own terms will be fun."

There was a special moment that took place on the convention stage Wednesday. This is a big production and it takes a lot of people to work on it. So production manager Bradley Thompson, 32, told Laura Bowman, a production coordinator, to go up on stage and do a sound check and in the midst of that, he proposed to her with a big message on the screen. They've been dating for about three years, they live in Brooklyn, N.Y. and are both working for the RNC. She said yes.

An ABC reporter caught up with them after it happened backstage. You can see that footage here: Love at the RNC: Wedding Proposal Happens on Stage

Republican National Convention live coverage
ABC News is providing live coverage of the convention and we'll be streaming it here live from 4 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

Weeklong Local ABC7 News coverage
ABC7 News political reporter Mark Matthews will be reporting from Tampa all this week and you can follow along on Twitter at @MatthewsABC7 or on Facebook for instant updates.

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