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Are convention speeches getting you into the U.S. election?

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The U.S. national political conventions - the Democrats this week and the Republicans last week - mark the official beginning of the American general election season, although it may seem like it's been going on for quite some time already.

While these conventions were originally intended to count delegate votes and determine who would be the parties' candidates for president and vice-president, this hasn't been the case since the late 1970s.

Now, the conventions are an occasion for the parties to present a united front to American voters and take advantage of the media coverage to push their vision for the country.

The convention speeches, once a means to sway delegates to one nominee or another, are now seen as a way to introduce candidates to the voting public or to swing votes their way.

 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)The Republicans' vice-presidential candidate, Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan, gave the first of the candidates' speeches Aug. 29 in Tampa, Fla. In his address, he accepted the "calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us."

"After four years of getting the runaround, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney," said Ryan of the Republican presidential candidate.

Romney's speech Aug. 30 focused on his personal story - his family, his Mormon faith, his business successes. He contrasted his approach to Barack Obama's.

"President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. My promise... is to help you and your family," he said.

 Bill Cliton formally nominates Barack Obama as candidate for president at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Wednesday. (AP)

At the Democratic convention Wednesday night, former president Bill Clinton delivered the party's official nomination address for Obama and gave an impassioned pitch for Americans to "renew Obama's contract."

"I want to nominate a man who is cool on the outside but who burns for America on the inside," he said.

Clinton also defended Obama's record on the economy.

"No president, not me, not any of my predecessors, no one could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years," said Clinton. 

The night before, First Lady Michelle Obama capped a night of speeches with a mix of personal stories and policy positions.

"Barack knows the American Dream because he's lived it," she said.

Do the convention speeches get you more interested in the election south of the border? Or are you a political junkie who's been following the race for months now? Or, perhaps, you'd just as soon see the election over with. Let us know what you think!

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

Tags: Community, Politics, POV, U.S.

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