An early view from Tampa

In addition to the usual speech videos and coverage, we thought we’d bring you a little taste of the goings on behind the scenes in Tampa this week. The first thing you’ll want to know is that it’s hot. And humid. (Who could have guessed holding a convention in Tampa in August could result in that?) The biggest complaint I hear – primarily – from female delegates and politicos is… frizzed hair.

The second thing to know is that the security is… off the hook. From the outside of the blocked off perimeter in the city to actually getting in to the media filing center I counted seven security stops. Four of these involved people inspecting your credentials and ID and three went further with metal detectors, scanners for bags and – in once case – bomb sniffing dogs. Helicopters circle the area constantly and law enforcement officials ranging from the local sheriffs to the Secret Service patrol the area in packs on foot, on bikes or in vehicles.


After leaving the media center there is a relatively short walk to the actual convention hall. But on the way there is another security stop, complete with scanners and metal detectors. But once you get inside the scene is very impressive. The hall is done up wonderfully and the view is great from most all levels.


All of the major media outlets are represented, but Fox News really seems to have snagged the ideal location. So if you’re watching the coverage there, here’s where the hosts are actually working, as seen from up in the cheap seats.


Oh, and as you may have heard, in keeping with one of the major themes of both the convention and the Romney campaign, there is a debt clock running continuously, showing how much more debt Washington is running up just since the beginning of the convention.


Also, the RNC has announced another respectful element to the schedule this year.

The first day of the 2012 Republican National Convention will include a moment
to remember and honor some of the Republican leaders who died since the 2008 Republican
convention in Minneapolis. The names of many of the deceased will scroll on a convention
video screen.

Among those who will be remembered and whose names will be read are:

Paul Harvey Aurandt (AZ)
Hattie Bickmore (ME)
Dave Bitner (FL)
Andrew Breitbart (CA)
William Perry Clements, Jr. (TX)
Edward Derwinski (IL)
Kenneth Guinn (NV)
Alexander Haig, Jr. (PA)
Mark Hatfield (OR)
Harold Guy Hunt (AL)
William Janklow (SD)
Jack Kemp (NY)
Robert Mosbacher, Sr. (TX)
Charles Percy (IL)
William Bart Saxbe (OH)
Ted Stevens (AK)
Peter Terpeluk, Jr. (PA)
Malcolm Wallop (WY)

As I file this report, the afternoon session is kicking off and the RNC chair is revving up the crowd. We’ll be bringing you more coverage as the week goes on. Enjoy!