RNC Backstage Pass: On The Ground In St. Paul

  Workers prepare for the Louisiana delgation at the Xcel Energy Center on the first day of the Repu

Workers prepare for the Louisiana delgation at the Xcel Energy Center on the first day of the Republican National Convention (RNC) in St. Paul, Minn. Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Getty Images

So producer Rolando Arrieta and I made it to St. Paul last night. On the one hand, we're happy to be here, and on the other wondering if we're in the right place — and I don't mean our convention workplace which is fabulous.
(Thank you Minnesota Public Radio, American Public Media; thank you NPR technical staff. Great building, great views, working equipment. Love you.... Except for the chairs. I can't say enough about how uncomfortable these chairs are. They are like the kind you'd sit on at a tent revival. But anyway ...)

Here's the issue: huge hurricane bearing down on the Gulf. At times it was a Cat 4 (Katrina was a 5). Now it's down to a Cat 2 for now. ... So, what are we doing here?


Go? If go, go where? ... New Orleans? It's under mandatory evacuation order.

Mississippi, Houston?

For now we have made the decision to stay put. There's still a story here, and there's going to be a story here:

Just who is Sarah Palin? And why is she the VP nominee, and how does she affect the dynamics of the race?

What does it mean to have a woman on the ticket? One way or the other, history will be made — we'll either have the first African-American President or the first woman VP.

I asked GOP strategist Sara Taylor, former White House Political Director for George W. Bush, why a "Hillary Democrat" would ever vote for this ticket?

... Pro-Iraq war, pro-ANWAR drilling, anti-abortion rights, anti-gay rights. Taylor made the argument that people vote on more than one issue (some people, anyway), and that they vote on character. And you know what? She has a point.

The argument is being made that people can "relate" to Sarah Palin and the GOP ticket in a way that they will not relate to the Democrats.

What does that mean?

Now, if anything is grist for a blog convo, that would seem to be it. So have at it!

More On Keeping It 'Real'

Did you check me out Friday night on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher"?

(One word: cold. That show's studio set was so COLD. I thought my teeth were chattering — were they chattering? Other than that, why can't that makeup artist, Brenda, come home with me so I can look that good everyday? But I digress, again.)

Some of you have already sent me notes. One of you took issue with my comparing Sarah Palin with Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. You pointed out that he served as mayor of Richmond, a city councilman, and as Lt. Governor; unlike Palin.

A fair point.

Another of you felt I should have gone stronger on the point that her presence undercuts the McCain argument that it's all about "experience" because, if so, what's she doing there?

Fair point, but I thought others made it.

Anyway, don't just talk to ME. Share your thoughts with the world, via the blog. Blog IT OUT.

Rolando and I will check in later. It's a very truncated evening, as we discussed ...



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I'm in the midst of Gustav. Luckily, we still have power though a lot of people around the state don't. The wind is really high and we have a lot of rain. Things in my neck of the woods are okay for now, but only time will tell.

Sent by ernise | 1:35 PM | 9-1-2008

Sarah Palin's stand against abortion leads me to ask why she had the prenatal tests that revealed Downs Syndrome in the fetus she was carrying. Amniocentesis carries a risk of spontaneous abortion. Why have the tests, why take that risk, if you are not going to do anything about the results no matter what?

Sent by Joyce | 2:37 PM | 9-1-2008

I can not relate to a woman who will giggle at cancer. I was appalled to hear this clip where Sara Palin laughs when a talk radio announcer calls one of her political rivals "a b**** and a cancer". The woman referred to is a cancer survivor.


The Anchorage Daily news reported this on January 25th, 2008 http://www.adn.com/opinion/story/293639.html

Sent by deena larsen | 3:47 PM | 9-1-2008

Thanks ...you were a voice of reason and reality.
Too bad I couldn't find a way to podcast "tell me more".

Sent by Gerry King | 2:47 AM | 9-2-2008

Gerry --

Wait, there's hope!

TMM's podcast is very much alive and available to you for the asking ... and, it's FREE. Learn more and subscribe by clicking here.

Thanks for blogging.


Sent by Lee Hill, TMM | 11:24 PM | 9-2-2008

Why isn't anyone talking about Sarah Palin's ties to the Alaskan Independence Party (AIP), an organization pushing for Alaska's independence or revision back to a territory vice being a State? This organization would prefer having Alaska associated with Canada instead of the United State of America! The info was posted on her Wikipedia page until it "mysteriously" disappeared this afternoon! But there are other sources. There are several video clips on YouTube. She gave the AIP an extremely enthusiastic welcome speech for the start of their 2008 convention. There's also a video clip where the AIP President says that Palin was a former member. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwvPNXYrIyI (also view the clips under "Related Videos"). How can a person who supports her State's desire to succeed from the USA be considered qualified to be our nation's VP or potentially the President? This is very scary!!! G

Sent by Gerald | 3:00 AM | 9-3-2008