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On GOP National Convention stage, nettlesome issues -- like gay marriage -- unmentioned

BY BETH FOUHY, ASSOCIATED PRESS

TAMPA, Fla. -- Viewers tuning into the Republican National Convention have heard Ann Romney speak lovingly of her husband and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie pledge "a new era of truth telling." What they haven't heard is talk of offshore tax havens, Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, or questions about President Barack Obama's birthplace - the kind of divisive issues that have bedeviled Mitt Romney in the weeks before formally accepting his party's presidential nomination.

Some of those were unforced errors that drew the party off message, like Akin's contention that victims of "legitimate" rape could physically resist becoming pregnant. Others, like offshore tax havens, are a reminder of Romney's wealth and refusal to release more than two years of tax returns. Mindful that the convention offers an unparalleled opportunity to introduce the former Massachusetts governor on his own terms to a broad electorate, Republicans are sticking carefully to their message that Romney will rescue an economy left in shambles by Obama's policies.

Here's a look at what has gone missing so far at the Republican convention, and clues as to why:

GAY MARRIAGE: Republicans once saw opposition to same-sex marriage as a winning issue for the party, one that helped galvanized conservative Christian voters and brought them to the polls. But this year, expect no discussion of same sex marriage onstage at the convention even though the GOP platform backs a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Polling shows a growing number of Americans now support gay nuptials, particularly younger people whose votes Romney is hoping to woo. Obama carried the youth vote overwhelmingly against Republican John McCain in 2008 but Republicans believe they can make inroads among young people discouraged by the weak economy.

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Boy, don't the Republican speeches just get more and more electrifying? Must be a convention planners dream scenario to finish with an over-the-top speaker like Mitt. Sure hopes he flashes all that "fun" that Ann Romney promised us. After all, isn't that all we look for in a president? Until then, enjoy these 10 funny photos and captions from Tampa: http://bit.ly/RsZRS5

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