The Republican National Convention finally gets under way on Tuesday in Tampa, Fla., with what is expected to be a fiery keynote address by outspoken New Jersey governor Chris Christie. While speeches at political conventions are more often than not predictable and pro forma, this hasn't always been the case. Here's a look back at some of the more shocking and powerful convention speeches of the past:
* 1948 Democratic National Convention - The Democrats met in Kansas City that year and easily nominated incumbent president Harry Truman. But it was a thunderous speech by Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey that sent shockwaves through the party. Humphrey urged his fellow Democrats to fully embrace the platform of the emerging civil rights era. Clearly speaking to his southern brethren in the party, Humphrey said that "the time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states' rights and to walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights."
The speech prompted a walkout by pro-segregation southern Democrats, many of whom went on to form the short-lived States Rights (or Dixiecrat) Party that nominated Strom Thurman for president the following month.
* 1976 Republican National Convention - The Republican Party gathered in Kansas City, Mo., that August, in theory, to nominate incumbent president Gerald Ford. But Ford, who had been appointed to the vice presidency when Spiro Agnew resigned, and then became president when Richard Nixon resigned, did not have an easy road to the nomination. Charismatic California governor and former actor Ronald Reagan had seriously challenged Ford during the primaries, and he and his supporters were not quite ready to concede the race when Reagan arrived in Kansas City.
Despite a lot of squabbling between the two camps, Ford managed to squeak by and get the nomination. Reagan's supporters, however, weren't finished. While standing alongside Ford at the podium, Reagan was forced to give an impromptu speech, with the recently nominated Ford standing uncomfortably next to him, in order to appease the raucous crowd.
* 1988 Democratic National Convention - Former president Bill Clinton was a then-little-known governor from Arkansas who was supposed to have the important role of introducing the nominee Michael Dukakis at the convention in Atlanta. Instead, his proposed "short" speech turned into a lengthy diatribe on policy that quickly lost the crowd. With a very audible din wafting through the crowd during the course of his speech, Clinton finally received copious amounts of applause when he uttered the phrase "in conclusion."
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