Tuesday is Bob McDonnell's big night in the spotlight in Tampa Bay for the Republican National Convention. In addition to his role as the GOP Platform Committee Chair, McDonnell will also speak during in prime time coverage of the event.
McDonnell will speak tonight at around 8:45pm. He will not be part of the network coverage of the event, but he will certainly get high profile interest on the cable news channels like MSNBC which run full convention coverage.
McDonnell has already popped up on several national broadcasts talking about the GOP's efforts as one of the party's top surrogates for Mitt Romney.
In an interview from Tampa, McDonnell told us his job tonight is to outline the success republican governors have had across the country and show that as an example of what a Mitt Rommey administration will look like.
"Mitt Romney, a former governor who dropped the unemployment rate in Massachusetts is the best person to replace Barack Obama," McDonnell said.
Early excerpts of the speech reflect that goal. McDonnell plans to weave Virginia's story as part of the overall Romney campaign theme.
"Conservative fiscal policies are working," McDonnell will say, "And so are more Americans in states with Republican governors."
He will also specifically mention Virginia "swing counties". In many of these areas the campaign is very hot and will get prime recognition in tonight's address.
"That coffee shop in Henrico; that florist in Virginia Beach....that bakery in Radford...they were all built by entrepreneurial Americans with big dreams....not a big spending government with a wide open wallet full of other people's money!"
While McDonnell is going to be front and center, his stage will not be quite as big as fellow Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) who was also elected in 2009. McDonnell told us that he talked to Chrisite earlier today and got a preview of his speech.
"(Christie will talk) about the bigger vision of the status quo and an entitlement society versus a Reagan/Romney view of an opportunity society," McDonnell said.
These speeches leading up to Thursday night are designed to build Romney up as a problem solver and a man prepared to take on President Obama and offer a viable alternative to the last four years. Each address will play an important role in helping Romney convince Americans that he is ready for the job. While the republican has tightened the polls, he is still has yet to build the necessary enthusiasm to beat out an incumbent.
Bob McDonnell is hoping he can help that process.
Extended clips from our interview can be found below: