TAMPA, Fla. — Huzzah! Good afternoon from the Tampa Bay Times Forum, home of the 2012 Republican National Convention. It’s been kind of a weird, patchy day weather-wise here (an odd mix of sunshine and tornado warnings?) but looks like Isaac is shooting past us — we’re praying for those who are still in the storm’s path, but things are on schedule to get underway here tomorrow afternoon, when the official nominations and speakers will get started. Unfortunate that we’re missing out on a full day of the planned festivities, but you can check out the revised schedule here, and here’s a quick glimpse of the arena, bird’s-eye-view style:

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And one more with a little action, for good measure:

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There was just a quick official session inside the arena this afternoon, with delegates milling around and filing into their seats for the convention’s opener. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus gaveled the convention in: “It is my privilege to proclaim the 2012 Republican National Convention in session and called to order. …We want to draw your attention to the unprecedented fiscal recklessness of the Obama administration.”

Observe: In one corner, we’ve got the national debt clock (well on it’s way to $16 trillion, yipee)…

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And in the other, a clock that’s going to display the federal debt we’ve accrued, just from the start of the convention. Good idea, right?

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Priebus smacked the gavel not even an hour ago, and the clock has already hit $119 million. Again… yipee. All the more reason to get revved up for the convention’s proceedings — and it looks like they’re definitely ready to have some fun!

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