Monday, September 1, 2008

Day One

We started the day with a 7:30 breakfast with the Tennessee delegation. Our speakers were State GOP Chairman Robin Smith and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey.
After that event, we took the hotel shuttle over to the Mall of America.

The indoor amusement park

Some of the many escalators

The convention officially began at 2:30, but we arrived early to go through security. This white tent is one of the security tents.
The Xcel Energy Center

The huge digital screen and platform

This is the view from my seat in the club level. Melissa's seat with the other Tennessee alternates is directly across from here, right above where our delegates are sitting on the floor.
Thousands of balloons ready to drop on Thursday night All of the members of the Texas delegation dressed alike today!
You can spot the Texas seating area easily
At 2:30, RNC Chairman Mike Duncan called the convention to order. Everything that was not strictly business was cut out of today's schedule because of the hurricane hitting the Gulf Coast.
The Pledge of Allegiance A delegate making a motion
Another motion

The convention took a break for about an hour while the four committees met to discuss the party platform and other business.

Chip Saltsman, campaign manager for Mike Huckabee, is a Tennessee delegate.

We spotted John McCain's mother, Roberta, and his daughters Meghan and Bridget in the crowd! Security is very tight (we are only allowed on our seat level) so there was no way to get to speak to them. Here's a closer look.
Platform Chairman Kevin McCarthy (a Congressman from California) presents the party platform

Fox News has a live desk right below my seating area. This picture is Brit Hume on the air, hosting the evening news.
The most exciting part of the day was when First Lady Laura Bush spoke. The crowd went wild for several minutes!
She is such a lovely, gracious lady with incredible presence and poise.She spoke only about the tragedy on the Gulf Coast, and how we are all Americans, no matter which party we belong to.
Mrs. Bush then introduced videos of the Gulf Coast governors who couldn't attend the convention.

Rick Perry of Texas
Bob Riley of Alabama
Florida's Charlie Crist Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi

Mrs. Bush returned to the stage after the videos, accompanied by Cindy McCain.

They spoke about the hurricane relief efforts.

“This is a time when we take off our Republican hats and put on our American hats."

The session ended as soon as the business was completed.
We attended the MedTronic party for the Tennessee, California, Indiana, Arizona and Minnesota delegations last night. They were showcasing Minnesota chefs, musicians, and of all things, ice sculptures! The lights shining on the ice changed colors every few seconds, giving everything a strange glow.

Senator Norm Coleman addresses the crowdMinnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty made an appearance at the event, but we were enjoying the original compositions of a local pianist in another room, so we missed his speech.