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CONVENTION WATCH: 'A real marriage,' it's official

Around the 2012 Republican National Convention and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details to you:

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'CAN WE DO BETTER?'

"We begin tonight with a fundamental question: Can we do better? The answer in my view is obvious: You bet we can." — House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, addressing the evening session of the Republican National Convention.

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'A REAL MARRIAGE'

Ann Romney will take to the Republican National Convention stage to proclaim her marriage is just like everyone else's — contrary to glamorous depictions she's seen written about her and her husband.

"A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage," she says in excerpts of her speech released before its delivery later Tuesday. "At every turn in his life, this man I met at a high school dance, has helped lift up others."

In the fairytales she's read, Romney said, there were never "long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called 'MS'" — multiple sclerosis — "or 'Breast Cancer.'"

— Jack Gillum — Twitter http://twitter.com/jackgillum

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ON RIVAL TURF

Even in Tampa this week, President Barack Obama commands the stage — at least with fellow Democrats.

A handful of party heavyweights gathered at the Democrat's "war room" down the street from where Republicans are holding their national convention.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Obama for America senior adviser Robert Gibbs were gearing up to criticize Republican challenger Mitt Romney's policies when an organizer announced: "The president is about to speak on television, so we'll start after that."

Obama spoke for a few minutes about emergency response preparations to Hurricane Isaac, not politics, but when the speakers followed, each mentioned the hurricane before tearing into Romney.

— Peter Prengaman — Twitter http://twitter.com/peterprengaman

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THE ALSO-RANS

They're long gone from the presidential race, but not totally forgotten.

Jon Huntsman picked up a delegate from Texas during Tuesday's roll call of states.

So did Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum.

Even Buddy Roemer — the little-noticed candidate who ran this year first as a Republican, then as an independent — was rewarded with a single delegate when Texas doled out its votes.

Despite the hard-fought primary, Bachmann, for her part, professed no hard feelings.

"Congratulations to (at)MittRomney, Republican Nominee for President!" she wrote on Twitter, minutes after Romney officially clinched the nomination.

— Josh Lederman — Twitter http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP

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ROMNEY THE NOMINEE

The state of Alabama pronounced itself "on the move." American Samoa touted itself as "the only American soil in the Southern Hemisphere."

They and more than 30 of the union's other states and territories have already cast their delegates to Mitt Romney, and at this moment — just over two months before Election Day — he has been officially nominated as the Republican Party's presidential candidate.

New Jersey was the state that put Romney over the top. Romney is expected to accept the nomination Thursday night on the Republican convention's final night.

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BREAKING THE NEWS

He knows.

Mitt Romney's personal aide, Garrett Jackson, writes on Twitter that he and Romney's wife Ann have told Romney that the GOP has officially nominated him for president.

"Me and (at)AnnDRomney just gave the Gov news that he has officially been nominated," Jackson writes.

— Kasie Hunt — Twitter http://twitter.com/kasie —

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HERE COMES THE SUN?

— "Florida is the Sunshine State — well, most times." — Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, speaking before she committed the state's delegates to Mitt Romney, a day after Tropical Storm-turned-Hurricane Isaac passed through.

— Ted Anthony — Twitter http://twitter.com/anthonyted

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A SPEECH, AND A SONG

Count Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina as a believer in corporal punishment.

Scott gave his mother much of the credit for his success in life. He said he grew up in a poor, single-parent home, but she used "tough love" with the end of switch to make sure he was on the right path.

"And my momma loved me a lot," Scott said.

Scott was one of the more entertaining speakers Tuesday afternoon. He completed his speech with a song dedicated to President Barack Obama.

"Hit the road, Jack. And don't you come back no more, no more no more," he sang.

— Kevin Freking — Twitter http://twitter.com/APKFreking

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CONVENTION WEAR

Republican delegates from Texas, fittingly, sport cowboy hats. Same goes from the Coloradans. Foam cheeseheads dot the Wisconsin section. Hard hats of coal mining vintage are the headwear of the West Virginians.

Many in the Michigan contingent are roaming the GOP convention floor in the famed maize and blue football jerseys of the state's flagship university. The name "Ford" — a tribute to the former President Gerald Ford — is on the back. Pro football's Chiefs get the honor from red-and-gold clad Kansas delegates.

No convention would be complete without those goofy oversized red, white and blue Uncle Sam hats, and a smattering of them can be seen as well.

— Brian Bakst — Twitter http://twitter.com/Stowydad

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FINAL SALUTE

Just like the annual tribute during the Oscars to actors who've died in the past year, Republican luminaries who have died in the past four years get a final salute at the GOP convention.

Among those whose names will scroll on a convention video screen on Tuesday: Andrew Breitbart, Alexander Haig, Mark Hatfield, Jack Kemp, Charles Percy, Ted Stevens and Malcolm Wallop.

— Nancy Benac — Twitter http://twitter.com/nbenac

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NO LEMONADE STAND

"... Barack Obama thinks the government is at the center of the economic universe. He thinks that if you started a business, 'You didn't build that.' Well, how would he know? President Obama's never run a company. He hasn't even run a garage sale or seen the inside of a lemonade stand. So it's time for a president with real experience in the real economy." — Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, speaking at the convention.

— David Espo — Twitter http://twitter.com/DavidEspoAP

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'NOT DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS'

"America will be there to help folks recover no matter what this storm brings. Because when disaster strikes, we're not Democrats or Republicans first, we are Americans first. We're one family. We help our neighbors in need." — President Barack Obama, on the response to Hurricane Isaac.

— Ken Thomas — Twitter http://twitter.com/AP_Ken_Thomas

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RIVALS EVERYWHERE

Tampa is hopping with presidential candidates — the former kind. They're literally running into each other.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and businessman Herman Cain, two also-ran Republicans, spent a good five minutes catching up in the convention center ahead of separate radio interviews. Bachmann straightened Cain's coat collar before they posed together for what he called "the shot of the convention."

Here's the caption Cain offered: "We ain't mad. We support Mitt and Ryan."

Also making the rounds Tuesday was former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was holding "Newt U" sessions at a downtown hotel all week.

— Brian Bakst — Twitter http://twitter.com/Stowydad

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QUICKQUOTE: LATINO VOTE

"You can't just trot out a brown face or a Spanish surname and expect people are going to vote for your party or your candidate." — Democratic Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on the Republicans. Villaraigosa is in Tampa as part of a Democratic effort to highlight his party's views during the Republican National Convention.

— Peter Prengaman — Twitter http://twitter.com/peterprengaman

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'A VERY TENDER HEART'

Ann Romney wasn't just opening up to the public when she told about the pain of a miscarriage. Her husband learned something new, too.

Mrs. Romney said in an interview that aired Tuesday on CBS' "This Morning" that their youngest son, Craig, was devastated by the miscarriage and "fell on the floor and burst into tears" when he got home from school after holding on to the sorrow all day.

Mitt Romney, seated next to his wife, said he hadn't heard the story about Craig before.

"I'm not surprised," Romney added. "He's a very tender heart and a wonderful father today himself."

— Nancy Benac — Twitter http://twitter.com/nbenac

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RYAN'S READY

"I am." — Paul Ryan, GOP vice presidential nominee-designate, asked en route to Tampa whether he was ready for the Republican National Convention.

— Philip Elliott — http://twitter.com/Philip_Elliott

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