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GOP convention to feature Ron Paul tribute

Daily themes will focus on economy, and fellow Mormons will discuss Romney.

The Republican National Convention on Tuesday will feature a video testimonial to former presidential candidate Ron Paul, a nod to the libertarian icon’s influence on the GOP.

During a Friday conference call with reporters, Mitt Romney campaign strategist Russ Schriefer also revealed the themes of each day of the convention:

  • Monday will focus on the idea, “We can do better,” a criticism of President Obama’s tenure.
  • Tuesday will channel the campaign’s new motto, “We built this,” a not-so-subtle jab at Obama’s suggestion earlier in the campaign that entrepreneurs weren’t solely responsible for their success in business.
  • Wednesday will focus on the middle class.
  • Thursday will culminate with the overall theme of Romney’s campaign, “We believe in America.”

Thursday also will include appearances from members of Romney’s church to talk about him -- an unusual move for a political candidate who rarely discusses his Mormon faith despite the significant role it has played in his life. It will also feature appearances, according to the campaign, from 15 Olympians, a nod to Romney’s role in leading the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Schriefer said that Paul's aides initially approached the Romney campaign with the idea of paying tribute to the Texas lawmaker, and the Romney campaign agreed to a series of testimonials from Paul's colleagues. Schriefer said that despite Paul’s primary challenge against Romney -- one that continued as recently as this week while the two campaigns fought over delegates -- the two men still respect each other.

“Governor Romney and Congressman Paul, while they certainly disagree on many issues, they certainly have had -- if you watched the debates this year -- a lot of mutual respect between the two of them,” he said.

Reports have indicated that the Romney campaign might move Ann Romney's speech from Monday to Tuesday night after the television networks decided not to broadcast coverage on the convention’s first day. But Schrieffer said the campaign is “still optimistic” that the networks will change their minds, and he held out the possibility that Ann Romney could still speak on Monday.

Even if the networks have decided to broadcast only three nights, he said, one of them could cover Monday and skip one of the other nights. “I’m optimistic that the right thing will be done,” he said.

Romney will be officially nominated early on Monday evening, Schriefer said.