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Hits and misses from Night 3 of the Republican National Convention

CNN's Daniel Dale fact checks speakers from night three of the 2020 Republican National Convention. Visit CNN's Facts First database for more fact checks.

Posted: Aug 27, 2020 9:20 AM
Updated: Aug 27, 2020 9:20 AM

The Republican National Convention continued Wednesday night, with the Pences -- Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence -- taking center stage.

Below, my hits -- and misses -- from the night that was.

HITS

* Madison Cawthorn: The Republican nominee in North Carolina's 11th District beat President Donald Trump's endorsed candidate in the Republican primary earlier this summer. But he has since been embraced by Trump and every other Republican leader -- touted as a future star of the party. And Cawthorn, who is in a wheelchair after a car accident at age 18, delivered on that promise in his speech Wednesday night. Avoiding the sort of one-liners and snarky attacks favored by the likes of Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, he instead urged that rarest of thing in today's politics: More listening and less talking. "To liberals I say, let's have a conversation," said Cawthorn. "To conservatives, let's define what we support and win the argument in areas like health care and the environment." (Cawthorn's speech wasn't perfect; he wrongly noted that James Madison had signed the Declaration of Independence.) But Cawthorn rising to his feet, with the aid of a walker, to finish his speech was moving except to only the most cynical and partisan people out there.

* Mike Pence: If the goal of the vice president's speech on Wednesday night was to make sure that Trump and the President's most ardent supporters view him as a trusted and loyal sidekick who is a sensible heir to the Trump legacy, well then, to borrow a phrase from another Republican president, mission accomplished. Pence's entire speech was dedicated to the idea that no matter what you think of what Trump says (and tweets), there's no question he has done what he said he would. While that is highly debatable -- particularly when it comes to dealing with the coronavirus (much more on that below) -- there's no question that the speech Pence gave helps him in the eyes of the Trump coalition within the GOP. (That's the group Pence will rely heavily on as his own base when -- oops, if -- he runs for president in 2024.) As will Pence's willingness to go in on Joe Biden as someone who lacks the required optimism to be president, who supports socialism and is beholden to the "radical left." Pence's speech was conventional in every aspect of the word. It was WAY too long. And "Make America Great Again. Again" is a very weird slogan on which to end a convention speech. But for Pence and what he wants to do next, it was likely effective.

* Karen Pence: The second lady gave a very safe speech. She stayed away from any sort of attacks on Democrats or, really, much praise for Trump. It was effectively an apolitical speech about her experiences with military veterans. But to the extent that the this convention has been about anger, untruth and lots of yelling -- I'm looking at you Kimberly Guilfoyle -- Karen Pence was a major and welcome change of pace.

* Flags, Flags, Flags!: There were American flags on stage at the Andrew W. Mellon auditorium in Washington, DC, where most of the speeches were given. (At least eight, by my count.) Flags stacked behind the podium where Mike Pence gave his speech at Fort McHenry. In the endless cutaways between speeches, there were flags at the Lincoln Memorial, flags at the Washington Monument, flags at locations I couldn't make out. FLAGS!

* Trace Adkins: If I could sing the "National Anthem" -- or, heck, talk -- in a voice that low, I feel like I would be more successful. In, like, life.

MISSES

* Coronavirus: It was another night of the Republican convention in which the pandemic that has sickened 5.8 million Americans and killed 179,000 was barely mentioned. (Pence talked about it in his speech as a way to explain Trump's decisiveness and the efficacy of the administration's response to Covid-19. Uh, OK.) It's now abundantly clear that Trump and his political team want to send a message out of this convention that the coronavirus is mostly behind us -- thanks to Donald Trump! Unfortunately, infectious diseases don't heed the preferred messages of political conventions. And polling suggests that a majority of Americans believe that how the President handles the coronavirus is the single most important issue in the campaign. Ignoring the ongoing threat posed by coronavirus won't make it go away.

* Messaging on race: The shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has roiled the country, There are protests in the streets. The NBA players boycotted playoff games on Wednesday and were reportedly in a meeting to decide whether to simply end the season in order to focus on social activism. It was the latest thread in a series of incidents in which police officers shoot Black men across the country, and the latest spark in the powder keg of our ongoing national conversation about race in America. You wouldn't know any of this from watching the Republican convention Wednesday night. The only mention of Kenosha came in Mike Pence's speech at the end of the evening, when he said this: "Let me be clear, the violence must stop, whether in Minneapolis, Portland, or Kenosha." Not exactly engaging in the complexities of the subject or the deep-seated racial injustice that stands at the heart of all this.

* Live speeches: Donald Trump said this about the Democratic National Convention last week: "They're taping their speeches. ... You want to go to a snooze, you know when you hear, when you hear speeches taped, it's like there's nothing very exciting about it." Uh, OK. The ONLY live speech of the entire third night of the convention was the one by Mike Pence. One live speech! In 150 minutes-plus of programming! Hope you enjoyed your snooze!

* Kristi Noem: The South Dakota governor has ambitions that go beyond the boundaries of her home state. Which made the lifeless speech she gave to kick off the third night of the convention all the more baffling. Noem just read the speech off the teleprompter, with no emotion and very little energy. The only way I knew she had reached the end of her address? The sweeping music playing her out.

* Marsha Blackburn: The Tennessee senator has made a name for herself in Republican circles by her willingness to go straight at Democrats, rhetorically speaking. She more than lived up to that reputation on Wednesday night, delivering a hammer and tongs attack on the socialism that she argued Democrats support. But if you actually listened to what she said, well, it was not only ridiculously over-the-top but also just plain old fear-mongering. One example: "If the Democrats had their way, they would keep you locked in your house until you become dependent on the government for everything," she said. "That sounds a lot like Communist China to me." Whaaaaa?

* Ric Grenell: Grenell is the former ambassador to Germany and former acting Director of National Intelligence. Which is an impressive resume! But like, did he really need 15-plus minutes in prime time to speak on the convention's third night? Can you imagine any staffer on Joe Biden's Senate staff (or presidential campaign) getting so much time to speak in such a critical moment of the convention? Very odd. And Grenell's speech was fine. Just fine. Nothing more.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20784248
Hinds19894408
Harrison17493302
Rankin13316275
Jackson13099243
Madison9896210
Lee9859169
Jones8293160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7189237
Lowndes6265144
Lamar610784
Lafayette6028117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4770129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4420139
Warren4281118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403775
Neshoba3988176
Lincoln3871108
Hancock372185
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322781
Pike3181104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296876
Copiah293065
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284868
Prentiss275659
Marion265979
Wayne261341
Leake261173
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245982
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213373
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158634
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126323
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120141
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81923
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 519071

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754131487
Mobile37774798
Madison33868494
Tuscaloosa25283443
Montgomery23969565
Shelby23112238
Baldwin20638300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14286311
Morgan14140268
Etowah13664345
Marshall11957219
Houston10383278
Elmore9994200
Limestone9814147
Cullman9475188
St. Clair9429234
Lauderdale9218227
DeKalb8747181
Talladega8060171
Walker7092275
Jackson6755110
Autauga6727103
Blount6488135
Colbert6205130
Coffee5401112
Dale4768110
Russell428938
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia388074
Dallas3527149
Chambers3500122
Clarke346360
Marion3066100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256458
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224955
Hale218775
Butler212366
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171540
Washington164038
Macon154848
Clay149454
Crenshaw149357
Cleburne146041
Lamar139334
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
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Hi: 85° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 56°
Columbus
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 52°
Oxford
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54° wxIcon
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Starkville
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46° wxIcon
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Feels Like: 46°
Clouds increase a bit more on Tuesday, though there will still be plenty of sunshine at times. Temperatures will remain very warm. An isolated sprinkle or shower is possible later in the day, though rain chances are much more likely into Wednesday as a cold front passes.
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