Tuesday, September 02, 2008

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. shawn.flynn@news14.com