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Rules fight could be highlight of convention's first day

What to look for Monday at the GOP convention:

A big-name breakfast: New York delegates will begin their work with a breakfast Monday featuring two big names and a national security theme that will foreshadow the convention’s evening message.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., will speak at the breakfast at the Renaissance Hotel. Both were considered potential candidates for vice president with Donald Trump, and both are expected to echo the candidate’s call for a tougher American position in world affairs.

When this pair speaks, you can be sure they are speaking for the candidate.

Drama on the floor? The convention’s proceedings will kick off at 1 p.m. Monday with what’s usually a routine business: approval of the convention rules.

But this year it might not be routine. “Dump Trump” forces have been looking for ways to use the rules issue to once again state their point: that Trump is, in their view, a poor nominee for the party. They almost certainly won’t have the numbers to win any floor fight, but the fight could be fascinating.

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 17:  Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) visits the Quicken Loans Arena ahead of the Republican National Convention on July 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The RNC is set for July 18-21 at the arena.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, visits Quicken Loans Arena ahead of the Republican National Convention. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The first of the wanna-be’s. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas will deliver a speech on a night devoted to national security issues – and it also might be a night devoted to the start of the Cotton 2020 presidential campaign.

The young, telegenic senator is one of a host of Republicans likely to look at a 2020 campaign if Trump loses, and Monday night’s speech is his chance to introduce himself to America.

Benghazi redux: The convention’s foreign policy night is scheduled to focus quite narrowly on one issue: the 2012 terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the four deaths that resulted there. Two survivors of the attack – Mark Geist and John Tiegen – are scheduled to speak, as is Pat Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, a foreign service officer who died in the attack.

Upstaters gaining stature? The 2016 convention could mean new stature in the party for two top upstate Republican chairmen.

Party insiders say Erie County’s Nicholas A. Langworthy and Onondaga’s Thomas V. Dadey Jr. emerged as early Trump supporters and will play roles in Trump’s New York campaign – a difficult assignment. But they could begin assuming greater partywide roles beginning Monday in Cleveland.

email: jzremski@buffnews.com; rmccarthy@buffnews.com

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