Monday, September 01, 2008

Marathon Pundit at the Republican National Convention

Blogging from the Xcel Center, St. Paul, Minnesota.

First of all, my hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with those people living on the Gulf Coast. As you undoubtedly know, Hurricane Gustav is pummeling the Gulf Coast as I write this post.

The Republican National Convention expanded its media base to include me. So far, I don't have much Illinois news, but I imagine that will change. When I tell people where I'm from, the retort I get is surprisingly, not, "You're from Obama's state?" but instead, "Oh, Chicago...Cubs fan."

I listened to the Republican National Convention Center daily media conference call this morning. I was unable to post earlier, as my wi-fi connection at my hotel was weak.

Most of what was discussed was of course the hurricane, and the efforts directed from the Twin Cites to assisting those living on the Gulf Coast, including fundraising parties organized--all of them of course at the last minute.

The call took place at 10:00am local time, about two hours later news broke that Sarah Palin's 17 year-old daughter, Bristol, is five months pregnant. Although I have media credentials, I found out the news the same way I would have back in Morton Grove, Illinois--via an e-mail breaking news update on my Blackberry.

I was 50 yards away from the Xcel Center, where of course the Republican National Convention is being held.

Right now I'm in the Media Filing Center inside the arena. Not only do credentialed media members receive ethernet hook ups, there are power strips under each table--losing battery strength on my lap top is not a concern.

There are six television sets on the wall to my right. As the news cycle is split today--convention coverage and Gustav coverage--so are the TVs. Three of them are showing the Fox News Channel and the effects of Gustav, the other three are tuned to C-SPAN and the proceedings on the floor in the next room.

On my left is a Russian journalist, typing away in Cyrillic letters.

What am I hearing in St. Paul? Well, lots of murmuring about Bristol Palin--along the lines of "Didja hear?," and of course conversation about Gustav, "What d'ya hear?"

I have my car here. Anne Leary of Backyard Conservative and I drove into the city together, and we parked in a lot next to the Crown Plaza Hotel, where the Texas delegation is being housed. Despite the ominous news from the Gulf Coast, they're a festive group--they are Texans--and they're easily spotted by their cowboy hats and denim shirts. I was walking on Kellogg Boulevard with Anne and a couple of Texas delegates when I had my first celebrity sighting--Megyn Kelly of Fox News.

Weather is also a topic of people walking the streets of St. Paul. It's hot and humid here, 88 degrees, but it feels worse.

I'm going to try to sneak another post in, but I want to be in the convention hall when Laura Bush speaks at 4:45pm. That's Central Time. It is so nice that the Central Time Zone is finally the center of things. We now have this moment, and Conan O'Brien's annual New Year's Eve tribute to this under-appreciated demarcation. It's not much, but we'll take it.

This is our time to shine! Both the time zone and the Republican Party.

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