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RNC Day 3: Cruz booed, Pence nominated

Trump will make acceptance speech Thursday night

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(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND –  

On the penultimate night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz wouldn’t endorse billionaire Donald Trump’s nomination for president, a move that elicited jeers and boos from the crowd.

"Don't stay home in November. … Vote your conscience," Cruz told delegates, implying that those who distrust Trump did not have to vote for him, but should back other Republicans in down-ballot races.

As the convention realized Cruz had come to bury Trump and not praise him, Cruz struggled to finish his address amid a seething, angry chorus of boos, jeers and chants of "Trump, Trump."

Trump advocates major foreign policy switch

As the night concluded, the New York Times published an interview with Trump in which the candidate broke sharply with decades of U.S. foreign policy. Most notably, Trump suggested that the U.S. wouldn't defend NATO allies against Russian aggression.

Trump has repeatedly said most of NATO's 28 member countries are not making a large enough financial contribution and that "the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves."

Trump rejected years of U.S. military and foreign policy -- including troop deployment and advocating for civil liberties -- and argued instead for global retrenchment, frequently framing his argument in economic terms.

Pence accepts nomination for vice president

Meanwhile, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence accepted the party’s nomination for vice president. Pence worked to unite Republicans around Trump, billing him as a latter day Ronald Reagan.

"You have nominated a man for president who never quits, who never backs down, a fighter, a winner. Until now, he has had to do it all by himself against all odds -- but this week, with this united party, he has got back up," Pence said.

Pence has close ties to the GOP establishment and with conservatives. He was picked by Trump specifically to bring the party together after a fractious primary process.

Four adult children stay close

Trump’s four adult children were close throughout the night. When the audio-visual system malfunctioned during Eric Trump's speech, his brother Donald Trump Jr. was there to greet him with a low-five.

During Cruz’s remarks, the children – Eric, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Tiffany -- remained stoic. Midway through the speech, they shifted in their five chairs leaving one open in the middle for their father, who was set to enter the arena. Together, the five delivered Cruz a cold stare-down.

Walker was flat; Ingraham electric

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had a prime speaking slot but delivered a flat speech, especially when compared to the drama around Cruz and a fiery oratory from Laura Ingraham, the radio talker who had ginned up the crowd shortly before Walker took the stage.

Ingraham ripped the media at the convention: "To all my friends up there in the press, you all know why in your heart Donald Trump won the Republican nomination. You know it. You know why he won it? Because he dared to call out the phonies, the frauds and the corruption that has gone unexposed and uncovered for too long."

Important speech, ‘yuuuuge’ audience

The final night of the convention, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET, is Trump's night.

He'll deliver a speech that'll be closely watched both inside the arena and on television everywhere. The big question: Will he play to the enthusiastically partisan crowd in person, or will he stick to a script and try to expand his appeal to a broader audience?

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will appear at what could be the end of his six-year tenure as party chair.

Leading into Trump will be his daughter, Ivanka.