New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is now slated to give the keynote speech at the Republican National Convention, while allies of Sarah Palin are pressing the Romney campaign to give her a prime slot.
But one of the most interesting questions will be how the GOP attempts to cast itself as a diverse party at the convention, which will be in Tampa from August 27-30. In 2000, Colin Powell was one of the main speakers, and the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell of Texas actually introduced George W. Bush before his speech. In 2008, the GOP featured Maryland’s Michael Steele, who later went to have a controversial tenure as head of the Republican National Committee.
The most obvious choice is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, because he is beloved by Tea Party conservatives who aren’t as excited about Romney, hails from the state the convention is taking place and could help the party appeal to Latino voters, who currently favor Obama by more than 30 points.
But several African-Americans are also popular figures in the GOP and could be slated for major roles as well. The leading contenders would seem to be Herman Cain, recently-turned Republican Artur Davis, the former Alabama congressman, Condi Rice, Tim Scott, and Allen West, the latter two being the only black Republican members of Congress.
Will any of them get the nod? The Romney campaign has so far said little about who the speakers will be. If Rice wants to speak, she seems an obvious choice, based on her record as secretary of state and strong speaking skills. Davis is relatively unknown among Republicans, but could give a compelling argument: he actually was one of the first people to endorse the president in 2008 before turning against him more recently.