Have you ever wondered where the national press all hide out during these big national conventions?
Coming to the Republican National Convention has provided an interesting view of what goes on behind the scenes, not only on the political side, but with the media, too. Adjacent to the main convention arena the media has set up shop in a building divided up by the type of media, whether it’s radio, print, or television. Larger media outlets have their own rooms, while smaller units share space next to each other.
KSL News Radio, our patron for the week, is on “radio row,” a long double aisle of radio broadcasters sitting at desks with just laptops and microphones. It’s nothing fancy, but it does the job. KSL’s incomparable Doug Wright is stationed at a spot next to Geraldo Rivera (and his ostentatious mustache) and across from where Mike Huckabee sits. Throughout the day, whether because the RNC had postponed it’s activities and there was nowhere else to go or just because they wanted to be there, politicians and celebrities (well, just one celebrity that we saw–Jon Voight) roamed “radio row” talking to the talk show hosts and reporters.
For me, this was a windfall. Not even qualifying as a cub reporter, or even a novice, I made friends with a few good staffers from Senator Mike Lee’s office early on, and they were quick to lend me a helping hand to meet and talk to the other political luminaries cruising the area.
Who are a few of the folks we spoke with today, then?
- Elizabeth Emkin: Facing down incumbent Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein to represent California, Emkin says that she’s confident that the ground is shifting and California is ready to pick a candidate who will cut government regulation and lower taxes. She noted that Feinstein’s already polling at less than 45%.
- Dan Bongino: I first met Dan when he was a Secret Service Agent protecting President Bush during a fundraiser for John McCain at Mitt Romney’s place in Park City. A former New York cop, Bongino left the Secret Service to run for Senate in Maryland because of concerns about the direction the country is taking and the lack of initiative and effort to change that direction by the current incumbent. He’s a sharp guy, easy to like, and I look forward to hearing more from him. (Yes, he did serve under Obama, and no, he would not discuss it.)
- Jon Voight dropped in and walked over to shake my hand and sit down for an interview…right before someone pointed out to him that I wasn’t really anyone of consequence and that Mike Huckabee was waiting for him. I did shake his hand, though. Does that put me just two degrees away from Bradgelina?
- Senator Mike Lee: Coming back from a pit stop, Doug Wright and Lee Lonsberry handed me a microphone and informed me that I was going to interview Senator Mike Lee…in about thirty seconds. Needless to say, I asked about three softball questions (which the Senator answered with great alacrity and clarity) and found myself tongue-tied…fortunately, Doug stepped in. Mark my words–I’ll be better prepared next time for Utah’s formidable junior senator.
Senator Mitch McConnell. Yes, really. Thanks to a smooth talking contact, Senator McConnell’s press secretary allowed me the chance to ask a single question of the Senate minority leader between a pair of radio interviews. The Senator was gracious, even if his answer to my question (“What is your prediction for taking control of the Senate?”) was something safe along the lines of “Whoever has the most points at the end of the football game will be the winner (“We have a fifty-fifty chance, I think…” is how he started). It was pretty cool, I must admit, just to get the chance to ask the question.
I also caught sight of Newt Gingrich through a scrum, but there was no getting close to the glowering but “happy warrior” through the press. Not to be forgotten, my Better-half sat next to Josh Romney at breakfast (for all of forty-five seconds before he took the podium to speak) and also ran into Dan Rather, almost literally.
And this is just day one! The convention hasn’t even had a full session, yet!
- Beyond Missouri – Dan Bongino in Maryland gaining endorsements and momentum (legalinsurrection.com)
- UPDATE: RNC Announces Modified Three-Day Convention Schedule (conservativeread.com)
- GOP Senate candidate Bongino running campaign the old-fashioned way (times-news.com)
- Respect for Ron Paul Delegates at the RNC Seems Low (reason.com)