Hofstra student offers her take on the RNC

September 4, 2008 10:13:24 AM PDT
I didn't get to witness a protest, but things were definetly a lot crazier on the second day of the convention. Passes to get into the Xcel Energy center were a lot harder than the day before. The other students and I waited around for about five hours with nothing to show for it. While I waited I was able to attend a forum on education in the United States. In a way, it brought Republicans and Democrats together. Newt Gingrich was there, as well as Reverend Al Sharpton. The both agreed that a change in the educational system is needed in order to secure a better future for America. I was able to get a picture with Al Sharpton, but Newt Gingrich made it to the elevator before I could chase him down. Finally, at 6:30 we were able to get passes. We missed the shuttles to get to the arena so we flagged down a taxi. If there is one great thing about the people of Minnesota, it's that they really are the nicest people I've ever met. While I was talking to the other students in the taxi, the driver over heard me say that my cell phone was about to die. He immediately offered his cell phone car charger if it was compatible. Unfortunately, I wasn't, but it was still a very friendly gesture.

Once we got to the gates, security was obviously higher than the day before. Every pocket was searched and my umbrella was even confiscated, though I was promised I could pick it up on my way out. There were a lot more people than Monday too. I wasn't even able to wander as much as I did before. Trying to get to the floor was out of the question, so I was limited to my seat and the halls of the main floor of the arena.

While I was trying to take a breather from all my walking (I'm never going to wear heels again...at least not for the rest of the week), the kindest gentleman started up a conversation with me. He was Ken Leonard, a Texas delegate. He brought out what looked like a pack of dollar bills, but ripped one out. Turns out, it was his business card! It was a ten million dollar bill with Ronald Reagan pictured on it, and Mr. Leonard's information stamped to left of Reagan. (only in Texas, I guess) I asked him why the Texas delegates were always so color coordinated and always matched. His response..."That's because a woman is in charge!" And said it with enthusiasm, adding that she keeps them in line.

On our way out, I went straight for my umbrella--only to realize that they threw them all out!! The officers we nice about it and showed us which garbage can they threw them in. They said we could take one from the top. And what broke college student would pass on a free umbrella? So we did, and amazingly one of the other girls I was with found her umbrella waiting for her at the top of the pile. I was upset that I no longer had my favorite purple umbrella, but a nice new red one wasn't bad.

We also ran into some fun New York delegates. While waiting for the shuttles, they sang some songs to pass the time and chanted for McCain and Palin, which was a great way to end the evening. Tomorrow, I really am going to search from some protests. Security is so tight thats it's impossible to get near the venue, but I'm determined to see what's going on outside of the arena.

Monday Blog

Day one of the Republican National Convention proved to be much better than I anticipated. With the threat of Hurricane Gustauv, it was almost a sure thing that the entire convention was going to be canceled. Every event that I knew of was already canceled the night before. However, when I woke up, Gustauv had weakened a bit, and the show was still on. Although there was some confusion and the schedule was altered due to Gustauv, there were still a lot of people that made their way to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

The Minnesota natives were just about the friendliest people I have ever met. As we all walked off the shuttle bus and made our way to the arena, one by one we were greeted with a "Welcome to Minnesota!" or a "Hello! How are are you doing today? Where are you traveling from?" It was very welcoming.

After getting inside the arena, we headed to floor to talk to anyone and everyone we could. It was mostly delegates on the floor and they were delighted to share their story and tell us why they are voting for McCain. Alaskan delegates were elated over the fact that Palin has been chosen as McCain's VP pick, but saddened that it meant she may no longer bevthe Governor of Alaska. Louisiana delegates spoke of the heartbreak of not being home when their state was in such a time of need, but prided themselves in knowing that the right evacuation precautions had been taken.

To begin the ceremony Miss Montana sang the national anthem. I was able to speak with her later on. Not only did she not know who she was going to vote for, but she also voted for John Kerry in the previous election. I only found it interesting because she was singing at Republican National Convention. However, she did speak very highly of Palin. She is ecstatic to see the former Miss Alaska on the ticket. She said it just goes to show that the Miss American Pageant generates great role models and women leaders.

First Lady Laura Bush and Cindy MaCain also spoke at the end of the day. They concentrated on hurricane relief funds and ways to help out hurricane victims.

At the end of the day, I thought I was pretty successful with talking to as many people as I could and getting the feel of what its like to be a real reporter. Though, tomorrow I hope I get to see some action...maybe a protest or two.