BLOG: The final night

Inside the RNC with Diana Williams
September 4, 2008 5:41:15 PM PDT
It is the last night of the Republican National Convention, and we are in the final hours of our coverage. Tonight we will watch the speech and then witness thousands of balloons and confetti rain down on the convention floor. Then it will be time to pack up and head back to our hotel, exhausted, but done.

At every convention, there is a moment where you feel you've witnessed a bit of history. I still remember Elizabeth Dole's speech at the Republican convention in San Diego in 1996. Bob Dole was the nominee, but she stood out when she strolled off the stage and walked through the crowd as she delivered a speech about her husband. Her speech not remembered so much for what she said, but how she said it.

Last night we may have seen a bit of the same. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was a breath of fresh air for the delegates. And it wasn't just how she wore her hair, her glasses, or her suit. Part of her appeal was her ease in delivering her message. She may not have written all the words, but she made them her own.

Even with a teleprompter and hours of practice, great speaking is an art. Sarah Palin has mastered the art of timing. She didn't rush a good line last night; she let the words breathe. And she didn't rush her audience when they applauded. Her gestures were natural too. Someone down the line instructed politicians that when they use their hands to gesture, they should fold their thumb over a clenched fist. She didn't do that. She pointed her finger to make her point. And she allowed emotion and feeling to filter through as she spoke. Perhaps a bit too much sarcasm, but it showed she was actually processing what she was saying. In 1996, Liddy Dole delivered. Most here believe Palin did too. And like Dole, down the road we won't remember what she said, but we will remember how she said it.

We are working on the 11 o'clock broadcast and awaiting John McCain's speech. We'll have full coverage at 11.

September 2, 2008
Day two and we have a lot of angles to cover today. Each morning our Channel 7 team of producers and reporters meet over breakfast (mainly coffee) to hash out what we will cover.

We all have strong opinions- we all want to do more than we have time for - and we all know that what we start out covering in the a.m. could be completely different in the p.m. That's just how news gathering works.

My partner in crime this morning is Eyewitness News photographer Tony Saturno; always a smile on his face even when we can't find a parking space, are running late, and wind up at the wrong hotel.

We are heading out this morning to talk to New Jersey delegates. The convention schedule is still unfolding, but it appears things are getting back on track. Of course, this is still the a.m., the p.m. is yet to come. Don't forget to check out our reports at 5,6 and 11.

September 1, 2008
Tonight they are struggling to hold the media at bay. Minute by minute new revelations, she was cited for not having a fishing license, her husband had a DUI when he was 22 years old and she reported belonged to a fringe group in the mid 90"s that wanted Alaska to secede from the United States. It has to make you wonder, what more don't we know.

We do know that the Alaska governor has cancelled plans to attend a Tuesday event where she was to be the guest of honor and receive a right to life award. We may not see her until Wednesday night when she makes her acceptance speech.

All of us are of course asking what exactly did John McCain know and when. As for delegates, they are putting on a brave front. Earlier in the day, we went to the convention floor where delegates had gathered to handle routine business and found many had not even heard about the campaign's surprise revelation. The responses were almost uniform. No one seemed upset. I heard over and over -- this is what happens in the real world, in real life. But will real life take the Republicans even further off message. Keep watching our reports on Eyewitness News.
August 31, 2008
Conventions are made to be seen, but you may be seeing less of this Republican convention than anyone ever expected.

Conventions are known for being tightly scripted and cleverly choreographed to make the most of prime time tv coverage and now for the first time I can ever remember this Republican National Convention is completely up in the air all because of a gigantic and potentially deadly storm named Gustav.

How the Republicans handle this is vitally important and they know it.

Tonight, I will be talking with members of the new york delegation. We have already seen Louisiana delegates visibly upset about what is about to happen back home. We will have it all for you tonight on Eyewitness News at 11.

For those of us who thought this convention was going to routine, and I was one of them, it's going to be much more than we expected.

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