Featured Republican Speakers
Weighing in on Renewing America's Purpose
monday - tuesday - wednesday - thursday
Republicans look to anchor their national convention in Philadelphia with a theme they hope will bring them victory in November: Renewing America's Purpose Together.
Helping to drive home that theme, featured speakers address the convention on each of the four nights as they focus on issues dear to their hearts. GOP convention co-chairman Andy Card describes the approach as "a different kind of convention for a different kind of Republican" with "an upbeat message that highlights citizens who personify the ideas and principles of the Republican Party."
Opportunity with a Purpose: Leave No Child Behind
Laura Bush and Colin Powell talk about improving education and healthcare.
Laura Bush on telescreen at the Republican National Convention
When Laura Bush stepped to the podium on the opening night of the Republican National Convention, she shared tales of her personal life to talk about her husband, Texas Governor George W. Bush. She spoke of how the two had grown up in Midland, Texas, "a small town in a desert," and a place "of family and community."
Those values are something she said her husband has learned to live by throughout his life. "His core principles will not change with the winds of polls or politics or fame or fortune or misfortune," she said.
Listen to Laura Bush's address at the opening night of the convention and/or read the transcript.
Laura Welch Bush, 53, said she always wanted to be a teacher. When she was growing up as the only child of a builder and a homemaker, she would practice on giving class lessons to her dolls. After she graduated from the Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1968 and then completed a master's from the University of Texas at Austin, she was able to make her childhood ambition a reality and spent a number of years teaching in struggling school districts. Eventually, she returned to Austin to work as the librarian for a public elementary school.
Hear a profile on the first lady of Texas from NPR's Wade Goodwyn for Weekend All Things Considered.
During her convention speech, Laura Bush drew on her experience in public schools to boost her husband's understanding of challenges facing education. While her husband's Democratic opponent, Vice President Al Gore, spends an occasional night in the homes of teachers to learn more about their concerns, "George spends every night with a teacher," she noted with humor.
In her six years as first lady of Texas, Laura Bush created the annual Texas Book Festival, which has raised nearly $900,000 for the state library system, and she has advocated for funding for preschool reading programs. Friends say that Laura and George W. Bush's marriage is complementary. She is a calming force for her excitable husband and he is a splash of excitement and unpredictability for his down-to-earth wife.
Colin Powell rose to national prominence during his life in the U.S. Army to attain the nation's highest military position -- Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff. In that position, he oversaw Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf War during the administration of the Republican candidate's father, President George Bush. In his role, Powell helped lead the effort in unifying the Congress and the nation behind the war and the purpose of the mission's goals. Since then, he has been courted repeatedly by both major political office to run for high office, but Powell says he prefers to stay out of politics.
Today, Powell heads, America's Promise, a non-profit organization that aims to mobilize business and community groups to help build character and competence among the nation's youth. He has been described as an underdog, a member of a minority, an urban product, and yet a man who understands the odds and still demands excellence in every chore he undertakes. Powel describes himself as "a fiscal conservative with a social conscience."
Hear Powell's full speech from the opening night of the Republican National Convention and/or read the transcript.
Author of his the best-selling autobiography, My American Journey, Powell was born April 5, 1937, in Harlem, N.Y. To learn more about his organization, see America's Promise Web site.