After hearing the news of Hurricane Gustav and the subsequent cancellation of most of day one at the Republican National Convention, including scheduled speeches by President Bush and Vice President Cheney, I knew today would a bit different.
Morning and Protests
After a disappointing lunch, Calvin and I headed into St. Paul to the MySpace Cafe to borrow some WiFi and wait for the convention to start. On the way to St. Paul, we were forced to take a bit of a detour when an entire highway exit, the very exist we needed to take, was blocked off by a group of protesters who had chained themselves across the street in an apparent attempt to block traffic. Well, mission accomplished. I guess they were protesting cars? I’m a fan of public transportation, but that’s not the way to go about it.
I am really impressed with these two twin cities. It is a bit weird to have two cities so close. I guess it’s not so different from New York City and Newark or Philadelphia and Camden, except these two cities are much closer in proportion, while my examples are major cities and their children offshoots.
But anyway, both of the cities were of impeccable cleanliness. The traffic was minimal, except directly around the convention. Despite an insane highway naming convention (seriously what the hell is with a highway called 35E North?), these cities seem like great places to live… in August. I just have to remember that damn snow for eight months out of the year.
Once we made our way into St. Paul proper, we headed over to the MySpace Cafe to meet up with some MySpace folks, including their citizen journalism winner, Sara Pat. Apparently the MySpace folks were instrumental in helping Killfile, Viki and Miss Dev at the DNC access events and coverage their standard NBC-issued credentials were just not good for. So far they’ve been just as helpful to us as well.
While we were hanging around in at the MySpace convention waiting for The OttO Show to meet us, the protest reached our area. Police lined the streets, we heard rumors that gas was used at one point, and the protesters eventually passed us by. Calvin was able to snap some photos. On our way to the convention center, we noticed a few smashed windows here and there, but otherwise the damage was minimal, and it seemed the except for a rash few, the protesters were peaceful and pleasant.
Getting into the convention was surprisingly hassle free, at least compared to the airport security I had to deal with the day before. On my way in I stopped to regroup with Calvin and OttO, when the crowd started cheering and an older gentleman walked briskly by shaking a few hands. A few moment later and I was pretty sure that was Mitt Romney. Calvin was able to snap a quick picture and we confirmed that it was Romney.
We initially went into the media area, where we met with a local citizen journalist of various projects who performed a quick interview of OttO for his podcast I believe.
After wandering around the media area some more, we eventually made our way to the arena where the actual convention was being held. We came in at the end of Laura Bush and Cindy McCain speaking. As we took our seats a prayer was said, and the days activities were quickly ended. As some of the crowed dispersed we made our way on the convention floor to rejoin the MySpace group.
Looking to Day Two
Since most of the day one activities were canceled, the day was called early and I headed back to the hotel to write and prepare for tomorrow. Tomorrow’s activities include Ron Paul’s Rally for the Republic. I’m exciting about this event and I hope to cover it in great detail. I’m especially interested in Minnesota’s former governor, Jesse Ventura, who is scheduled to speak at the rally, and of course Ron Paul himself.