As the GOP convenes in Tampa for the 2012 Republican National Convention, the news media and blogosphere is alight with emotional discussions on how the campaigns are 'playing the race card', how the LGBT community is changing America, and how Hispanics are the key to victory in November.

The pandering, slandering, lying and begging are all at fever pitch.

This live blog -- a shared effort among HuffPost Gay Voices, HuffPost Black Voices, and HuffPost Latino Voices -- will highlight the issues, personalities, propaganda and truths that speak to these communities, to our communities, throughout the 2012 RNC.

We hope you'll join us and share your comments below.

live blog

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@ KarlFrisch : Romney endorsed anti-gay discrimination AND religious bigotry in speech. Support LGBT candidates in 2012: http://t.co/O2oLcCMY #GOP2012

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@ baratunde : Final #negrospotting count at #GOP2012 = 237. Maybe 60 of those were delegates or verifiable GOP

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@ Ron_Christie : Exactly what @MittRomney needs to do tonight: drawing stark contrasts between Obama's record and Romney's vision. #tcot #lnyhbt #gop2012

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@ zachdcarter : So Rubio excludes nonbelievers from America's ideals, and accuses Obama of "divide and conquer." #RNC2012

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@ HuffPostPol : RT @gov: @MarcoRubio fueling 8,000+ Tweets per minute, easily topping @PaulRyanVP peak of 6,669 TPM last night. #GOP2012

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@ chucktodd : Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Craig Romney have all slipped some Spanish in their remarks tonight.

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@ TheDailyEdge : BREAKING: Marco Rubio arrested by Sheriff Joe Arpaio #GOP2012

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So, according to Marco Rubio, simply being born in the U.S. made him better...

Does that mean that those who were not born in the U.S., like his parents, are worse than everyone else born in the U.S.?

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Here are the remarks Marco Rubio plans to deliver this evening at the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida:

In 1980, I watched my first Republican Convention with my grandfather.

He was born to a farming family in rural Cuba. Childhood polio left him permanently disabled.

Because he couldn’t work the farm, his family sent him to school, and he became the only one in the family who could read.

As a boy, I would sit on our porch and listen to his stories about history, politics and baseball while he puffed on one of his three daily Padron cigars.

I don’t recall everything we talked about, but the one thing I remember, is the one thing he wanted me to never forget. The dreams he had when he was young became impossible to achieve.

But because I was an American, there was no limit to how far I could go.

For those of us who were born and raised in this country, it’s easy to forget how special America is. But my grandfather understood how different America is from the rest of world.

Tonight, you’ll hear from another man who understands what makes America exceptional.

Mitt Romney knows America’s prosperity didn’t happen because our government simply spent more. It happened because our people used their own money to open a business.

And when they succeed, they hire more people, who then invest or spend their money in the economy, helping others start a business and create jobs.

Mitt Romney’s success in business is well known. But he’s more than that.

He’s a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. A generous member of his community and church.

Everywhere he's been, he's volunteered his time and talent to make things better for those around him.

We are blessed that soon, he will be the President of the United States.

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@ elonjames : Am I the only one who didn't appreciate the whole "Oprah was crying" and the crowd roared? Did they not realize it was historic? #GOP2012

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@ washingtonpost : Clint Eastwood just walked onto stage of #GOP2012. Watch live video: http://t.co/dj4aOKMi

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@ EWErickson : Dear Republicans, I thought we'd all agreed to not do embarrassing white people dances at #GOP2012

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HuffPost's Elise Foley reports:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Spanish-speaking son, Craig, gave a pitch for his father to Latino voters on Thursday, becoming emotional when he spoke about his grandfathers who immigrated to the United States.

"It’s easy to forget that the story of my father’s success begins with the story of two immigrants--," he said, becoming emotional. "-- my grandfathers -- who came to this country with little more than hope in the opportunity of America."

Click here to read more.

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@ baratunde : I can't wait until we see the emotional video praising high frequency trading algorithms. So touching. #GOP2012

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On The HuffPost Politics live blog:

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ray Fernandez, a former employee of Wesley Jessen Vision Inc., will take the stage Thursday night at the Republican convention and thank Mitt Romney for turning around his company. When it went public, Fernandez got a healthy payout, he'll say, enabling him to start a business.

Romney was still at Bain when it purchased the company in 1994, though he spent most of that year running against Ted Kennedy for Senate.

But when Bain sold Wesley in 2001, the move that led to Fernandez' payout, Romney was supposedly retired from the company, an example of Romney taking credit for Bain accomplishments after 1999, while declining to take responsibility for any of its controversial business practices.

In Feb. 2000, Romney signed documents related to a deal with Wesley, which HuffPost previously cited in making the case that he did not actually leave the company in 1999.

-- Ryan Grim

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@ Ali_Gharib : RT @sarahposner: How many of the people listening to Jeb Bush bemoan lack of science education don't believe in evolution? #GOP2012

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@ MSignorile : Rep. Aaron Schock, who voted against DADT repeal, said it is "ridiculous and inappropriate" to ask if he is gay.... #RNC #GOP2012

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There is the Martinez. The Rubio. The Fortuño. The Cruz.

Then there’s the other Hispanic causing a stir this week at the Republican National Convention: The Bush.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush , who will address the convention and televised audience Thursday, may not have any real Latino blood in his veins, but his relationship with Hispanics has been a close one for years. So much so, that he is often lumped in with other “Latino leaders” and “Hispanic Republicans” as if he was one of them.

Read more here.

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@ JoeSudbay : RT @TUSK81: Oh, great. The Latino tribute up now. Vote for GOP so Mitt can veto the DREAM Act! #GOP2012 #RNC2012

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@ jonathanweisman : “You can’t win Latino votes with imagery,” Matthew Dowd, Bush's strategist. “All I have seen is imagery without substantive outreach.”

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Are effectively showing the Hispanic roots and listing all the firsts that the GOP has achieved.

And the video includes Mexican Mitt ;-)

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@ THEHermanCain : I would consider a cabinet post if it was a position in which I could have maximum impact. Energy Sec,,? #FNCtownhall @BretBaier @Gov #TCOT

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@ QueerjohnPA : Pro-Gay Marriage, Pro-Choice, Libertarian Clint Eastwood Is Anti-Hollywood RNC's Surprise Speaker http://t.co/diDGY7Bc via @gaycivilrights

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@ washingtonpost : Craig Romney, a former missionary in Chile, will deliver part of his #GOP2012 speech in Spanish: http://t.co/VGYOmYqB

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Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) told reporters on Thursday that it was "reprehensible" for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to say, as he didearlier this week, that Republicans wanted to "trot out a brown face" to appeal to Latino voters.

"So I guess if you’re a brown face and you’re a Democrat it’s acceptable," West, who is black, said, according to the Daily Caller. "If you’re a brown face and you’re not a Democrat, you get castigated as a token [minority]."

“We don’t need that,” West continued.

West is one of only two black Republicans in the House of Representatives, and the other member, Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) spoke at the convention earlier this week.

Minority politicians are disproportionately represented in the Republican National Convention speaker list. Villaraigosa, who also serves as chairman of the Democratic National Convention, called the lineup "window dressing," pointing out that strong majorities of Latino and black voters and politicians are Democrats.

But Republicans repeatedly said Wednesday that the schedule wasn't meant to showcase Latino or black politicians per se, but instead to feature rising stars of the party such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. "They're not token Hispanics, they are full-fledged Republicans," Ana Navarro, who advised Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Latino outreach during his 2008 campaign, said Wednesday.

-- Elise Foley

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Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is running as a pro-small business candidate.

But KCBS discovered that merchants who normally sell their wares at events like this week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa have been barred from the site by the Romney campaign, which is looking to maximize its own revenues.

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The CNN camerawoman who was pelted with peanuts by attendees at the Republican National Convention said that the incident was disheartening, and that it should serve as a wake-up call to black people.

"I hate that it happened, but I'm not surprised at all," Patricia Carroll said to Journal-isms. "This is Florida, and I'm from the Deep South. You come to places like this, you can count the black people on your hand. They see us doing things they don't think I should do."

On Tuesday, two attendees were removed from the arena after they threw peanuts at Carroll, while saying to her, "This is how we feed the animals."

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WASHINGTON — A federal court has ruled against a Texas law that would require voters to present photo IDs to election officials before being allowed to cast ballots in November.

A three-judge panel in Washington ruled Thursday that the law imposes "strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor" and noted that racial minorities in Texas are more likely to live in poverty.

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This summer, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney courted, and sometimes stumbled in his pursuit of, Latino voters.

Romney's Spanish-language ads took a battering in the critical month before the Republican National Convention. Hyper-literal translation left one key TV spot that aimed to raise questions about the economic health of ordinary Americans asking "Van bien?" The phrase amounted to a sort of Spanish-for-cyborgs way of saying what most Spanish-speakers would express as, "¿Las cosas están bien?"

Then, in mid-August, while describing himself as a fan of tropical fruits on a Miami radio station, Romney mistakenly used a Cuban slang word for vagina. The very same day, the former Massachusetts governor visited a well-known Miami fresh juice stand with Tea Party Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and drew a cheering crowd. But before the day's end, reporters discovered a problem: In the late 1990s, Reinaldo Bermudez, the owner of El Palacio De Los Jugos, or The Juice Palace, plead guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and spent time in prison, according to public records.

Collectively the incidents were just what a candidate in Romney's position -- 30 to 40 points behind President Obama with Latino voters in most polls -- doesn't need.

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Although several black politicians have had prominent speaking gigs at the convention already -- former Rep. Artur Davis and Mayor Mia Love of Saratoga Springs, Utah, on Tuesday, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday -- it's a sharp contrast to the makeup of the actual convention floor. David Bositis, a researcher at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, found that only 2 percent of the convention delegates were black, according to the Washington Post.

Ashley Bell, a tall, amiable young attorney from Georgia, was one of them. (A former Democrat -- he even spoke at the 2004 Democratic Convention -- Bell switched parties after President Barack Obama's health care law passed with a mandate requiring that people buy health insurance.) Bell said that part of the reason there were so few visible blacks on the convention floor was because of how delegates are allocated.

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