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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Day in Indianapolis, and a Night in Tampa


TAMPA, Fla. - A day after being formally nominated for president, Mitt Romney left the Republican National Convention on Wednesday to address the American Legion in Indianapolis as Republicans tried to focus on national security.

Mr. Romney canceled plans to stay overnight in Indianapolis and will return to Tampa on Wednesday evening in time to watch the prime-time speeches by his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, and other party luminaries. Mr. Romney is scheduled to deliver his own speech formally accepting the nomination on Thursday evening.

While foreign policy and national security have not played major roles in the economy-focused campaign so far, Republicans hope to undermine what has been a political strength for President Obama. Mr. Romney has criticized Mr. Obama for not believing enough in the singularity of American power in the world and he has staked out rhetorically stronger positions on Russia, China and Iran. But Mr. Romney's specific policy prescriptions in most cases have been different by degree rather than fundamental changes.

The party has tapped two national security figures to address the convention in the evening. Senator John McCain of Arizona, the party's last presidential nominee, a Vietnam War hero and leading foreign-policy hawk, will kick off the prime-time speeches at 8 p.m., but will speak before the broadcast networks begin coverage. Speaking at 10 p.m., when the networks join the convention, will be former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who had a well-noticed spot near Mr. Romney on Tuesday evening.

Mr. Romney will watch the evening proceedings with his wife, Ann, from their Tampa hotel. Whether he will make other public appearances after returning from Indianapolis was not clear. “That's still in flux,” said Rich Gorka, a campaign spokesman.