Arkansas Governor And Attorney General Speak To Republican Convention

Jul 19, 2016

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking to the Republican National Convention Tuesday night in Cleveland.
Credit Republican National Convention

Arkansas's governor and attorney general went to bat for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump by smacking  Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton back-to-back Tuesday night in prime-time speaking slots at the Republican National Convention.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson told delegates Tuesday night that electing Clinton after President Barack Obama's eight years in office would "double your trouble."

"A Hillary Clinton presidency will endanger our national security. It will be the wrong direction for our economy, and it will undermine the innovation coming from the states. A trump presidency will be about the art of the possible. Donald Trump is the right leader for our time."

Hutchinson looked poised and deliberate but not enthusiastic about the message he was delivering. Rutledge, by contrast, seemed to relish both the spotlight and the speech. She was piquant from the start.

"Sometimes Hillary Clinton speaks with a New York accent, sometimes an Arkansas accent. But y'all, this is what a real Arkansas woman sounds like. Hillary might not know where she's from but Arkansans know exactly who she is."

Rutledge said that, as the first female attorney general of Arkansas, she knows something about breaking glass ceilings — likely alluding to Clinton's concession speech at the end of the 2008 Democratic primaries — but that "a historical milestone need not come at the expense of America."

Rutledge more strongly allied herself to the arc of the Clintons rise by pointing out that both she and former President Bill Clinton began their political careers as Arkansas attorneys general. That is, before the Clintons began their "careers of corruption."

Bill Clinton was Arkansas governor for 12 years before being elected to the White House in 1992.

Hutchinson mentioned Hillary Clinton by name nine times before using Trump's name. During the brief speech, he mentioned Clinton 10 times and Trump three times. Rutledge mentioned Bill or Hillary Clinton nine times before closing with four references to Trump.

In the most prosecutorial tone struck by the former federal prosecutor, Hutchinson appeared to blame Clinton for everything from modern terrorism to venal philanthropy.

"Hillary Clinton's bad judgment, as you heard last night, left us four dead Americans in Benghazi. It resulted in instability in Egypt, Syria and Lybia; the rise of ISIS; the resurgence of Russia; an emboldened North Korea; inappropriate ties between foreign governments and the Clinton Foundation, and a more dangerous world."

Rutledge, who served up still redder meat from the Republican convention floor, reminded the delegates and guests that the next Supreme Court appointment was at stake — an appointment that will almost certainly swing the disposition of the court from mostly conservative (Republican presidential picks) to mostly progressive (Democratic presidential picks) if all but a staunchly conservative jurist is picked to replace the late firebrand and originalist Antonin Scalia. 

"I know this race will shape the Supreme Court for generations. Do we want the late  [Supreme Court Justice] Antonin Scalia to be replaced by a liberal activist judge?"

The crowd shouted "no."

"Donald Trump will nominate conservative justices, who will uphold the Constitution, suppor tht rule of law, and rein in out of control federal bureaucrats.

"Frankly, frankly, Hillary needs to go to her own house and not the White House — and she can take [Supreme Court Justice] Ruth Bader Ginsburg with her."

You can watch the remakes by Hutchinson and Rutledge below.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.