NPR logo RNC Backstage Pass: On The Ground In St. Paul

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 Republican National Convention (RNC) in St. Paul, Minn. Getty Images hide caption

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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?

Stay?

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?

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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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