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Republican convention 2016: What to watch Tuesday

A more "likable" Trump?
A more "likable" Trump? 08:02

Tuesday is the day Donald Trump is expected to drop the "presumptive" from his title and formally become the Republican nominee.

With one night of primetime Republican convention speeches done, the second day is expected to feature the Trump campaign's economic message--and we'll see some national GOP leaders taking the stage on Trump's behalf.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on as you watch the speeches tonight:

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A general view shows the main stage at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. - RTSIM1T REUTERS

1.) Focus on the economy: "Make America Work Again"

After Monday's national security focus, Tuesday's theme is "Make America Work Again," largely a criticism of the economic stewardship of the Obama administration. The convention program provides a bit of an idea of what to expect from the lineup of speakers: "The Obama years have delivered anemic economic growth, the lowest labor-force participation rate in 38 years, and job-killing regulations and legislation like Obamacare."

The ways in which Tuesday's program attacks President Obama's record will likely be a preview of the Trump campaign's general-election argument against Hillary Clinton. The speakers will work to tie her to Mr. Obama, saying a Clinton presidency "would merely be an Obama third term that would deliver the same poor results," according to the program.

2.) GOP Unity: McConnell, Ryan, McCarthy

In a nod to Republican unity, Tuesday is the night when a trio of top Republican congressional leaders will take the stage in Cleveland: House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

All three men have said they will support Trump's candidacy, but have not shied away from criticizing him on issues like his proposed Muslim immigration ban and his comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel's Mexican heritage.

Will these congressional GOPers praise Trump Tuesday night? And how strong are their calls for setting aside differences in the interest of Republican unity? What Ryan, McConnell and McCarthy say--or don't--will say a lot about how united the party stands at the end of this week.

3.) Chris Christie's speech

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The New Jersey governor, who was given a prime speaking slot at Mitt Romney's GOP convention in 2012, will this time appear Tuesday evening instead to little fanfare. Christie was shortlisted but ultimately not chosen as Trump's running mate--and according to the Weekly Standard, he was reportedly "livid" Trump passed him over. He admitted to CBS News' Gayle King that he was "disappointed" to have lost out on the vice presidential nod.

Back in 2012, Christie famously delivered the keynote address with a heavy focus on his personal biography, uttering Romney's name just seven times compared to the word "I" more than three dozen. It will be interesting to see how Trump-centric his comments Tuesday are.

4.) A family affair

Monday night was Melania Trump's time in the spotlight; Tuesday's lineup is proof that Cleveland is definitely a family affair for Donald Trump.

Up tonight, according to the schedule for this evening's speakers: Donald Trump Jr., as well as Tiffany Trump, Trump's youngest daughter. She just graduated from college, so unlike her older siblings, she hasn't been a frequent presence on the campaign trail. Tuesday will be her big entree as a surrogate for her father.

5.) Will Clinton scandals pop up?

Trump has made no secret of the fact that he's willing to bring up past scandals of the Clinton family: as a candidate, he's made reference to everything from Bill Clinton's sexual indiscretions to the death of Clinton aide Vince Foster.

There's been no indication that the ghosts of the 1990s are on the program this week--but if those Clinton scandals are likely to come up at the convention, Tuesday might be the night. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who helped manage the House's impeachment trial for Bill Clinton back in 1998, is speaking, as is Arkansas' attorney general, Leslie Rutledge.

That said, Hutchinson told the Washington Post Monday that he wasn't looking to revisit the past. "No, no, no," he said, asked whether he was planning to discuss the Monica Lewinsky scandal on stage. "That was covered once in our history. We don't need to cover it again."

6.) What happens outside? Does Cleveland burn or stay calm?

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Demonstrators from various groups, including "End Poverty NOW! March for Economic Justice," march in protest during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Adrees Latif - RTSILS3

At least on the first day, the protests outside the convention site looked--by Trump standards--fairly tame. There was activity, but none of the violence organizers feared could break out.

But Tuesday is the day Trump will be formally nominated as the Republican Party's candidate this fall, and that could prompt some of the more disruption-oriented protesters to come out in full force. As is the case all week, Trump's penchant for drawing protests--combined with the fact that Ohio is an open-carry state--means it's worth keeping an eye on the action outside the convention hall.

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