Posted: Sunday, August 26, 2012 --- 8:22p.m.
From NBC15 news partner WITI in Milwaukee:
TAMPA — A shortened Republican National Convention is set to kick off on Tuesday, August 28th in Tampa, Florida. GOP officials already canceled Monday’s planned first day of the convention due to Isaac, the tropical storm growing to hurricane strength in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida. The GOP Convention is the Republican Party’s chance to show America the real Mitt Romney before the November election, top Republicans said Sunday. Romney is expected to formally accept the Party’s nomination for the White House during the Convention.
The GOP Convention is heavily influenced by Wisconsin politicians — including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is scheduled to speak and congressman Paul Ryan, who is Romney’s vice-presidential selection.
FOX6′s Mike Lowe is in Tampa for the Convention, and Sunday, Gov. Walker addressed what was supposed to be a friendly audience, but faced an emotional response.
As Tampa Bay waited for Tropical Storm Isaac Sunday, Wisconsin’s lightning rod governor brought a political storm to a rally for the religious right. Gov. Walker was the featured speaker at Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition event.
Almost as soon as he opened his mouth, he was interrupted with chants of “Walker Hates Workers.”
Several protesters were taken out of the Tampa Theater by police. Some of them unfurled banners that said “Walker has a Koch problem” — a reference to the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, who are among Gov. Walker’s top campaign contributors.
“We don’t have money. All we have is our voices, and we have people, so we have to do demonstrations like this to get our messages heard,” Tyler Mitchell said.
Gov. Walker used the demonstration to underscore his message that disagreements don’t need to be disrespectful.
“What we’re really talking about is indeed about faith and freedom and it’s at stake right now, and it’s something we need to stand up firm, and something I hope my two kids learned in the last year and a half — stay true to your principles, and never sink to the level of those who seek to attack you,” Gov. Walker said.
Some in the conservative audience were taken aback by the disruption.
“They won’t let anybody talk to them and tell them and teach them anything. They know it all, but they know nothing,” Dorothy Larson said.
Gov. Walker, who has seen crowds of 100,000 at the Capitol in Madison, brushed it off as the work of a few on the fringe.
“The vast majority want to hear people talk. People like someone who is willing to stand up on principle. That’s why in our re-election, or recall election, why we won with Republicans and independents and ultimately some discerning Democrats — most voters are hungry for principled leadership,” Gov. Walker said.
Danielle Villarreal is a protester from Chicago.
“Walker represents the union-busting figure in the United States, which is completely wrong. He was re-elected, but with the amount of propaganda in our society, people end up voting against their own interests,” Villarreal said.
It was a minor political storm Sunday, as Republicans readied themselves for the real thing — Tropical Storm Isaac, Gov. Walker said he’s not worried about the storm’s impact on the Republican National Convention, saying: “We’re Republicans. We fix things.”