In it, but not of it. TPM DC

CLEVELAND- The shock was still wearing off Thursday afternoon as Republican lawmakers at the convention were contending with the reality that the brightest part of their convention – the selection of conservative Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be vice president – had been overshadowed by their routinely rogue colleague Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

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A former ambassador to NATO said Thursday that Donald Trump's hesitance about supporting NATO allies against Russian aggression was "disturbing" and that his comments will cause anxiety in Europe about the United States' commitment to its allies.

"It was a shocking statement. It was reckless and deeply unwise," R. Nicholas Burns, who served as ambassador to NATO under President George W. Bush, told TPM. Burns is a career foreign service officer who served in the state department under Presidents Bill Clinton and Bush. He is now a professor at Harvard and serves as an adviser to Hillary Clinton.

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CLEVELAND – The religious right hasn’t got much play on the big stage of the GOP convention. To find the heart of the social conservative movement in Cleveland this week, you had to head to a luncheon at a steakhouse a few blocks away.

The lunch, sponsored by the Family Research Council Action and the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, served as a shadow convention of sorts. While many elected officials have shunned speaking slots at the convention, the stage at the two-hour luncheon featured three current or former governors, a senator, two U.S. representatives and a barbershop quartet. Their message, delivered in harmony: The thrice-married, dirty-mouthed New York-based reality TV star at the top of the Republican ticket has put nary a dint in their long-term political and policy agenda.

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CLEVELAND – If it were a typical Republican convention, the convention speaker might attack Hillary Clinton's position on immigration, her record on health care, her plan to grow the economy.

In 2016, the GOP is accepting a new refrain to beat their opponent: "Lock Her Up."

As the Republican Party struggles to heal itself after a divisive, year-long primary that culminated in the nomination of Donald Trump, Republicans are finding it easier to rail against Clinton than rally around their own nominee.

"I think it just creates a sense of camaraderie that people are on the same page. I don't think anybody really expects that to happen," Ben Carson told TPM.

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CLEVELAND – The attendees of the GOP convention were thrown for a loop Wednesday evening when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) finished his primetime speech without an endorsement for Donald Trump. Some delegates were willing to compliment the remarks, and a few even praised the GOP primary's second-place finisher for sticking to his guns. But many delegates felt betrayed by Cruz's gambit, which they say proved why he fell short in his effort to defeat Trump and even jeopardized his standing with the party in the future.

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Two days after giving a national convention speech that blatantly lifted language from First Lady Michelle Obama, the Trump campaign tried to put an end to the drama by releasing a mea culpa from the speechwriter apparently responsible for the double-dipped speech.

But campaign finance experts told TPM on Wednesday that rather than putting the matter to rest, the statement from Meredith McIver raises further questions about who paid the Trump Organization staffer for drafting Melania’s address. If McIver, in her capacity as a Trump Organization employee, was paid by the company to draft a campaign speech for Melania Trump, that could amount to a campaign finance violation, the experts said.

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Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) fought hard all the way through the convention to block Donald Trump from winning the Republican nomination, but Tuesday night Utah's delegates' votes went to Donald Trump anyway – and Lee still won't endorse him.

Lee said he could still eventually support Trump, but on the evening Trump was officially nominated Lee said he has still has not seen Trump prove he's the kind of constitutional conservative Lee wants him to be.

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CLEVELAND -- What happens when a die-hard, uncompromising party position is a non-issue for the candidate topping the ticket? How Republicans are treating Obamacare at the GOP convention suggests, whether Donald Trump wins or not, repeal-fever might be close to breaking.

GOP antipathy towards the Affordable Care Act has been a driving party issue in the three federal elections since its passage. But this year, condemning it is not dominating primetime convention program, or lending itself to election year-slogans. Instead, discussion of the issue was relegated to hotel conference rooms and restaurant basements where lawmakers mingled with lobbyists and policy folks gave them their take.

For conservatives who have long sought the repeal of the dreaded Obamacare, the challenge was how to keep the issue as part of the convention conversation when presumptive nominee has shown little interest in the topic.

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