Published August 29, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. – Will Clint Eastwood make the Republicans’ day?
Or maybe Sarah Palin? Rush Limbaugh, perhaps?
The political chatter around the Republican convention has once again turned to a Romney pick -- with delegates and reporters alike wondering who the campaign has tapped to be the mystery guest at Thursday night’s finale.
The buzz started Monday when convention officials released a revised schedule that included a “To Be Announced” speaker -- tucked between a performance by singer Taylor Hicks and a speech by Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio.
Officials confirmed Wednesday that a surprise guest was still on the schedule but declined further comment.
One Republican source told FoxNews.com that Eastwood is indeed the mystery speaker, following an online report that claimed the actor is planning to travel to Tampa for the convention.
If the Academy Award winner is the one, he could get a mixed reception with the Hollywood-leery crowd.
“He’s all right, despite being associated with Hollywood,” Bruce Thompson, a California delegate, said laconically. “He’s a good guy and was a good mayor.”
The chatter comes shortly after Eastwood endorsed Romney for president, despite cutting a Super Bowl ad earlier in the year that some saw as a subtle push for a second Obama term.
New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, a new face of Christian conservatism, is another name being bandied about as the possible speaker.
Rachel Ayers, a senior at High Point University in North Carolina who was touring the convention center Wednesday morning, lighted up at the mention of Tebow.
“Tim Tebow would be amazing,” said Ayers, who, with several others, also wanted to see a former Bush president or first lady.
Her classmate, 19-year-old Kyle Berube, put his odds on Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate.
The cancellation of Monday’s events because of then-approaching Tropical Storm Isaac took some star power away from the convention because A-list speakers such as Louisiana GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal had to cancel to focus on potential storm problems at home.
Asked about who might be able to give the crowd a surprise on Tuesday, Matt Kenney, a staffer for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said playfully: “Maybe a Ronald Reagan hologram."
"And I think everybody would like to see former President (George) H.W. Bush parachute in like Queen Elizabeth did for the Olympics," he added.
While the queen’s jump was done with a stunt double, the 85-year-old Bush until the past few years routinely skydived on his birthday.
“I don’t expect it to happen,” Kenney added. “But people would certainly get a kick out of it.”