And so it ends tonight.
Hurricane Isaac, which came into this world as Tropical Storm Isaac is once again Tropical Storm Isaac as it ravages the Gulf Coast, but only at an 8 m.p.h. clip, and, thankfully, sparing New Orleans on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
After pushing the Republican National Convention's start date back a day, Isaac graciously allowed the GOP party to carry on, giving voice to Mitt Romney's wife Ann, Utah congressional candidate Mia Love and vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
You know the drill. Scheduled events begin at the Tampa Bay Times Forum at 7 p.m. ET. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his third wife Callista speak during the 7 p.m. hour, followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 8 p.m., the so-called "mystery speaker" at 9 p.m. and, finally, the Mittster at 10 p.m.
In the meantime, if you haven't yet watched Ryan's speech, take a look at the Washington Post's social media-happy compendium to the Wisconsin boy's address before heading to our other must-reads for the day.
Josh Barro of Bloomberg cracks down some of the hypocrisies littered throughout Ryan's speech, notably attacking his criticism of Obamacare when the Ryan-written budget passed by House Republicans actually kept the president's Medicare spending cuts.
A New York Times editorial argues Ryan's speech "ducked the tough issues and blamed others for the problems."
Condileeza Rice brought foreign policy back into the RNC narrative with her speech Wednesday, touching on well-worn Republican tropes such as American exceptionalism, the pursuit of universal freedom and so on. Fred Kaplan at Slate was not impressed (and it had nothing to do with the fact Condi apparently had lipstick on her teeth):
"To watch Condoleezza Rice, the face of George W. Bush’s foreign policy, stand before a convention of cheering Republicans and condemn Barack Obama for diminishing America’s standing in the world—one can only gasp at the magnitude of chutzpah in one woman."
Politico takes a look at Koch, the billionaire industrialist, Republican puppeteer and purse behind American for Prosperity, the most powerful conservative Super PAC.
We love fashion here at the Star's RNC blog, so we feel obliged to ask: What was up with Ryan's BLUE tie? Granted, dude looked sharp, eschewing the PTA meeting khakis and pale collared shirt he usually campaigns in.
Finally, the Times sets up Romney's keynote with a lengthy profile on the man who could be president.
As usual, follow on-the-ground reporting, commentary and news analysis throughout the day from Star reporters in Tampa and Toronto: Mitch Potter; Tim Harper; Daniel Dale; Josh Tapper; Stephanie Findlay