There has been a lot of buzz about the fact that one prime speaking slot at the GOP convention has been left open. The party has released a detailed schedule for all three nights that identifies every speaker, every video, every prayer, every song. But there is just one exception: a speaker on Thursday evening is listed as “to be announced.” Here is a screen shot of that part of the schedule. As you can see, the only speakers who follow the mystery guest are Marco Rubio, introducing Mitt Romney, and Romney himself. That will likely place the “to be announced” speaker within the one hour that will be broadcast by the television networks.
So the speech is obviously expected to be a big deal. Who can it be? Romney’s aides say they don’t know. The obvious speakers, from Chris Christie to Tim Pawlenty to Condoleezza Rice, already have slots. George W. Bush is appearing by video, and Dick Cheney has said he isn’t attending.
Many have speculated that it could be Sarah Palin, who otherwise is not scheduled to speak. I think the chance of that happening is zero. There is no way Romney wants to give reporters the opportunity to make their coverage of the convention’s climactic evening all about Sarah.
So who will it be? My guess is that it will be a prominent Democrat who announces his support for Romney. How prominent? I don’t have any candidates in mind, but I’m sure it will be someone who carries more weight than Charlie Crist, the discredited party switcher who will be highlighted by the Democrats in Charlotte.