I arrived in Minneapolis yesterday for the convention. Smooth flight, easy shuttles, and very friendly people both here in our host cities and from around the country. Those watching the convention coverage at home already You've likely heard about Gov Palin's daughter and her circumstances. The feeling here is that this is a family matter and not deserving of the media grilling it is getting. You also know that First Lady Laura Bush and soon-to-be-first-lady Cindy McCain made great speeches. You also know that the RNC decided to cancel the evenings actitivies in light of the gulf coast crisis. So instead, how about a sneak peak at to what happens behind the scenes what things are like in and around the convention?
Protestors - not as many as they might make it seem like on TV. There were a few small groups scattered on a few street corners, but there was only one Ron Paul group that became particularly violent and force had to be used. Local police were prepared and in good force. In fact, some young demonstrators were actually asking delegates where the parties were.
Organization - very well done by the RNC and by our own State Party led by Peter Torkildsen and Rob Willington. We're meeting as a delegation each morning, arriving together and on time for the sessions.
Venue - Xcel Energy Center - perhaps a bit smaller than some previous venues, but simple, impressive stage and good seating for all. Easy to get around and we're all having fun meeting people from other states. A fellow delegate and I went around to our native states of NJ and PA and met the party chairmans and even former Gov. Tom Kean who has MA roots!
Host City - Minneapolis and St Paul are indeed the twin cities located across the river from one another but learning they distinct in their own right. Both however are clean, very metropolitan in terms of restaurants and tourist attractions. Haven't explored them all just yet, but impressed with our welcome so far.
In lieu of the convention activities for the evening, we attended a reception for the American Red Cross that benefited those along the gulf coast. We thought that was a fitting way to spend our time. No matter how caught up in the political activities of the day,we still remember as the convention theme reminds us "Country First."