Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Final RNC post

My apologies this took so long, but between convention, traveling and work, most of my time was gone.

Anyway, Governor Sarah Palin's speech was impressive. Most people believe she went far beyond expectations. I was sitting in the arena watching her and the prompter. On several occasions, she went "off-prompter" to make a point. Her lip-stick hockey mom joke was not on the prompter, but I understand she's told that joke several times before. I'm sure GOP strategists held their breath every time she didn't go by script. At one point when she was blaming the media, the entire floor turned around, booed and pointed at their least favorite national media outlet. MSNBC seemed to get most of the fingers. All in all, she did more than she was expected.

The next day, Senator McCain gave his address. The whole point of the convention was building up his character. There were several videos and speakers talking about what a great war hero he was. His speech addressed that as well. I was sitting on the floor with the NC delegation during his speech. A NC delegate was almost tossed because of his home made sign. It read "Beware terrorists of Sarah Palin (just ask Obama)." It wasn't the mention McCain's people wanted all over national television. Eventually, the delegate gave up the sign. McCain did what he needed to do during the speech. I've heard several of his speeches, and this was about on par.

The interesting part was how excited the NC delegates were to get back home to work on the McCain-Palin campaign. Let's see if this momentum carries through the election.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Day three....biggest day of convention

By far, this is turning out to be the most important day of the RNC. We are minutes away from hearing the speech of Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The entire world is watching the speech of this relative unknown. This could be the turning point of the entire presidential election right here. Many people have told me they are going to watch and listen. There vote could depend on how well she delivers this speech and the message she sends. We'll take a closer look at her speech tomorrow.

The NC delegation ended up spending the day relaxing at a County Club on a lake about a half hour away from Saint Paul. The scrapped the putting together of care packages because there was so much confusion.

Another interesting side note. I'm sitting here watching the RNC speeches and it astounds me how many journalists are dissing the Republican party. I don't care if you're conservative or liberal, but you better not let your opinion known. I'm sitting here listening to an entire delegation of journalists from one news station just downplay these speeches. Remarkable!

We should know by tomorrow the future direction of this election based on Palin's speech. We'll see.....

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

RNC-Day 2

Finally, had a break for two hours today. Adam Butler (photographer) and I decided we had to go check out Mall of America. Wow...that's big. I guess these folks need somewhere to go when it's so cold 6 months of the year. You betcha!

The real show finally started today. The RNC is bringing out the big guns. Former President Bush, President Bush, Sen. Lieberman. They are now just trying to showcase McCain's service and character.

Chaos pretty much reigns here. I was set up to interview SC Senator DeMint. He was a no-show. The scheduler emailed me 7 minutes before I was to meet him saying he wouldn't be available. I don't have a blackberry, so big help.

War heroes. That's the theme of the night. So far, they showed three movies. All featured Republicans doing heroic things in battle. Definite theme.

While the DNC last week was a rock show, the RNC is definitely lacking. The big entertainers out here were Jon Voight and Lynn Swann. Not the same A-listers as the DNC. Also, the production value of the video clips is no where near the DNC.

A moving moment during the beginning of the session. They listed all of the Republicans who died in the past four years. The second biggest round of applause went to the late Senator Jesse Helms from North Carolina. A polarizing figure for sure, but a man who dedicated his life for service. The biggest applause went to the late white house press secretary Tony Snow.

First Lady Laura Bush must be the most popular person left in the Republican party. She always receives the biggest round of applause and you can feel an excitement in the air when she is around. One journalist told me she's like the First Mom. "You really can't get mad at her."

More to come.

RNC convention begins?

Hello from the Twin Cities. It's day two of the convention. Adam Butler and I are here attempting to cover this convention, but it's a minute-by-minute change of plans event.

When we arrived Sunday, the NC delegation was very excited to be here. As the plane landed, we heard applause from about 10 people. We asked them if they thought Hurricane Gustav would force changes with the convention, and they said no. Little did they know.

We quickly ended up at the XCel Energy Center where we found out months of planning and script writing for the convention were being thrown out the door. As Sen. McCain put it, "it's time to take off our Republican hats and put on our American hats." The RNC tried to make the best of a bad situation.

Moving forward with the convention would have looked bad, especially on the three year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina where many felt the President didn't respond well to disaster recovery. However, following the rock concert that was the DNC last week, McCain needed to get his name and message out to the public.

Monday turned out to be relatively calm business day. The delegates did all of the "business" of the convention. Basically, unanimously passing the platform that was written over the past few months. Sen. Burr of North Carolina was the vice-chair of the committee that helped to write the platform. After that, the convention was adjourned until further notice.

Tuesday morning, confusion reigned. The NC delegation was told to go to the convention center to help put together care packages for hurricane relief. When they (and we) got there, we were told it's not until tomorrow. That just goes to show how they're putting together this convention by the seat of their pants. We were then told the evening session would go off as planned with Sen. Lieberman, Sen Thompson, President Bush (via satellite) all telling us about Sen. McCain's service to his country. Basically, the RNC couldn't let another night of prime time television go by without taking center stage. Unfortunately, another hurricane is looming off the coast of the Carolinas and could be headed our direction later this week. Honestly, this is the "perfect storm" again McCain and the Republican party.

The delegates seem to be enjoying themselves here. Last night at a local watering hole, about 6 delegates were chatting (and drinking). A female officer of the Minneapolis PD came over and started talking about all the abuse she is getting from protesters. How they are throwing excrement and other vile material at her (she used stronger words). How, rules against assaulting police officers were relaxed this week to allow freedom of speech. On top of it all, her boss hasn't signed off on 130 hours of overtime she's earned because the $60 million dollars the city was given to pay her salary is all gone. Still, she said it's her job to protect the public. One delegate paid her bar tab. It was a nice gesture.

We're off to Mall of America (told we had to go). Looking forward to speeches this evening. Please email me or reply with comments.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama accepts...

What a night. I mean, party affiliation it was truly a remarkable event. I'm not talking about politics. A political convention was moved a mile down the street overnight and 80,000 people in an open air football stadium.

The roars were as loud as the cheers once were for John Elway after throwing yet another touchdown. Did Obama score a touchdown? That's for the pundits and voters to decide.

The NC delegates were clearly in their element. What was extraordinary was how celebrities were mingling and sitting with the general public. We saw Susan Serandon, Anne Hathaway, Chevy Chase, Wyclef Jean, Dan Rather all sitting in the stands sitting next to everyday folks.

The historic nature added quite a buzz to the evening as Obama becomes the first major party African American nominee. It also happened on the 45th anniversary of the "I have a dream" speech.

I can't properly describe the events leading up the final day of the DNC in words. Tens of thousands of people were marching across bridges surrounding the stadium. It was like ants marching in a single file line. Every single person had to go through secret service security check points.

Every two feet Obama gear was for sale. $25 for a t-shirt. On the floor/field, it was so jam packed and insane. Definitely not fun for those who don't like close quarters.

What's funny was beyond the historic nature of the evening, a huge buzz was also surrounding the possibility of a hurricane hitting New Orleans and how that might affect the RNC.

Anyway, it was a wild and interesting week to say the least. Regardless of politics, it is truly an honor to witness history and see these important figures in person and even talk to some of them. I certainly hope we have given you a glimpse of that nad showed you NC's impact on the convention as well.

Denver is a major Raleigh. I can see how it may have once been a lot like Raleigh. THe people talk about how city leaders say no one would ride light rail and it would never work. Now it's one of the most popular modes of transportation. Could that be true in the Triangle, Greensboro, etc.?

THe people are wonderfully nice. Each night on the light rail someone new would talk to us. The light rail drivers would always remember us. The city is very clean. It's just a great place. This was my first visit but it definitely won't be my last.

It's been an honor to bring you stories from such an important event. My colleague Shawn Flynn will work to do the same in Saint Paul with the Republicans next week.

Again, watch Political Connections Friday night at 6 and Sunday morning at 11 to see a wrap of the week with extended interviews.

Until then....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

NC connections

Good morning from the big day here in Denver. It's likely going to be a mess. Transportation is a fiasco. They are asking people to show up no later than 2pm MT which is exactly 6 hours before Sen. Obama takes the stage.

We are leaving for the stadium at 11am MT if that tells you anything. We're still a little unsure how good our access is going to be. We're working on getting an interview with Lenny Julius from Emerald Isle. He's been picked to meet Obama backstage. Unfortunately, due to security issues we have to interview him BEFORE he meets Obama!

Security is here from everywhere, even NC! We've seen police and deputies from communities all over Colorado. While waiting to have our gear searched and inspected yesterday I was talking with two of the security folks and found out they are here from Fort Bragg! Military people are helping as well and they will head to Saint Paul next week. It can't be too bad. They say they just got back from their third trip to Iraq and will head back in December again.

Make sure to watch Political Connections tomorrow night (Friday) at 6pm and Sunday at 11am. We'll be doing the show from here and recapping our week with extended interviews.

I'll try to post more this afternoon on the wild event!

Until then...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

NC convention speaker bumped

So, it was a tale of two stories for two North Carolina women picked to address the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Pamela Cash-Roper of Pittsboro was scheduled to speak at 6:40 MT. Gloria Craven of Eden was scheduled to speak around 8:00 MT. Shortly before 6:00 MT we found out the two speakers were switched.

After Craven's speech we interviewed her and she was clearly nervous but very excited about the opportunity to speak in front of 20,000 people and millions potentially on television.

At 8:30pm MT we were waiting for Ms. Cash-Roper when Hillary Clinton came out on stage. They escorted Cash-Roper to us to do an interview and it was clear she had tears in her eyes. Yep, they were running over on time and she lost the opportunity to speak.

She was frustrated and sad. Imagine telling all your friends and family and then it doesn't happen.

Now, keep in mind, both women were able to introduce Barack Obama personally when he came to North Carolina and I'm guessing the campaign paid for their trips here.

Both women were chosen to tell their story of economic and health hardships.

I'll have more on their reaction to Tuesday's events later today. Based on my light rail trip back to the hotel, delegates are unsure if Clinton's speech will have any impact on her supporters.