Top 5 Republican convention surprises

Conventions are meticulously planned affairs. The speeches, the musical acts, the videos -- everything is planned to the minute. Surely, it was no accident that the New Jersey delegation (representing the state of keynote speaker Chris Christie) put Mitt Romney over the top when delegates were being tallied for the nomination.

That's why the surprises stand out even more -- even if, in many cases, those "surprises" were also planned.

Here are five of the most memorable and unexpected moments of the 2012 Republican National Convention (click the links to watch them one more time).


The surprise of the final night wasn't so much who the "mystery guest" was. By the time Clint Eastwood strolled on stage, it was pretty thoroughly reported he was the guy. The surprise was the performance.

And it was a performance -- as opposed to a speech.

Eastwood's act talking to a chair that was supposed to represent President Obama spawned a Twitter feeding frenzy. Viewers became as divided as Congress on the issue of whether the Hollywood tough guy had just committed the most original and clever and funny act of convention history -- or whether he had bombed, and humiliated himself in the process.

The commentary on the speech became somewhat of a social media movement. Out of the speech came the Twitter handle @invisibleobama and the hashtag #Eastwooding, where users shared in the experience by posting pictures of themselves (off screen) yelling at a chair. Four years from now, people will still be talking about this.

Mitt Romney's State-of-the-Union walkout

In case you had trouble imagining Mitt Romney as president, the Romney campaign wanted to make it much, much easier to visualize.

Instead of walking to the podium for his nomination speech from backstage, the walk-out was choreographed so the nominee could walk down the aisle -- shaking hands with delegate dignitaries as the camera followed his every move. Look familiar? It's what the president does for every State of the Union address.

Ron Paul reverberations

After Ron Paul held his pre-convention rally, it might have seemed like the Ron Paul movement -- after three presidential runs -- was ready to wind things down.

But pro-Paul delegates, particularly those from Maine, weren't going to fade away. They continued to voice objections and even an impromptu protest march through the convention halls, in large part over party rule changes that seek to bind delegates to the outcome of primaries and caucuses.

Paul is retiring this year, but his supporters and the libertarian causes he stands for are not.

And now, a word from the Bushes

After four years of Bush-bashing, Jeb Bush apparently had had enough.

The former Florida governor and brother of George W. Bush went off his prepared remarks Thursday to come to the defense of the former president, and call on President Obama to lay off.

"Mr. President -- It is time to stop blaming your predecessor for your failed economic policies," he said. "You were dealt a tough hand, but your policies have not worked."

Emotion on the final night

Republicans showed a little tenderness on the final night of the convention, after two straight days of hammering the Obama administration.

Romney himself got emotional during his nomination speech, as he recalled his father's death.

Before he spoke, Pam Finlayson -- an old Romney friend who went to church with him in Massachusetts -- got tears flowing as she recalled Romney's help while her family raised their baby girl, who was born dangerously premature.

Her daughter died last year at age 26, and Finlayson recalled how Romney reached out.

Another touching speech came from Ted and Pat Oparowski, who recalled how Romney helped them draft a will for their terminally ill son so he could leave his few possessions to his friends and family.

Runner-up: Hurricane Isaac. The storm delayed the convention by a day, repeating the storm delay that happened at the start of the 2008 GOP convention. But ultimately, the show went on. And while other parts of the Gulf Coast got hammered, Tampa was largely spared.