Monday, September 01, 2008

Day One of the Republican National Convention

"Ironman" Brant Bell and I left Franklin at 4:10 AM Sunday morning. I had stayed up very late finishing my book on Barack Obama. I picked up 50 copies from the printer late Saturday night, and after about an hour of sleep, headed out in the wee dark hours to meet Brant for our trip to Minneapolis.

Brant and I are friends and almost neighbors, the only two at-large delegates commmitted to Mitt Romney. Our plan was to drive the 885 miles from Franklin, Tennessee to Minneapolis, Minnesota in one day, arriving in time for the 6 pm Delegate Welcome party.

The GPS system said we could do it in 12 hours and 45 minutes. With "Ironman" Brant driving the entire way ( I slept intermittently )and with a grand total of 18 minutes and 42 seconds of the trip devoted to two brief stops to gas up the car, we arrived at the front desk of the Bloomington, Minnesota Ramada Inn at 4:55 PM, EXACTLY 12 hours and 45 minutes from the moment we left Nashville.

The delegate party was held at the Civic Fest, where I made my way to the booth of Michael Green, Bookseller. Michael had set up a small author table, where David Feddoroso, author of the best-selling "Case Against Obama" was already selling his book. Michael cleared a spot for me on the table next to David, dropped off my book, and boom, there I was selling books ! I sold and signed 9 books in an hour. David beat be my about 25 sold books, but he was quite gracious in sharing the venue.

Up early this morning, I zipped over to the Fox News tent, where I gave Chris Wallace my book. I forgot to give him the 20 second "elevator speech", as he introduced his lovely wife to me, and we talked about their oldest attending Rhodes College (great school) in Memphis this fall, while my oldest is attending Pepperdine (great school).

I shook hands with Britt Hume, who is much taller and much thinner than I had imagined, then scooted out of the tent before I had worn out my welcome.

Back at the convention I chatted with Brian Wilson of Fox News at the FoxNews Convention Broadcast booth, which is right next to where we in the Tennessee delegation are sitting. I gave Brian my elevator speech on the book and he seemed politely.... not quite as impressed with what I had uncovered as I was, so perhaps not giving the elevator speech to Chris Wallace wasn't such a great loss after all.

The convention convened and we went through a few motions in a workman like fashion, then took a one hour break.

During the break I scooted out again, this time to Radio Row, where I tracked down Nashville's own Phil Valentine. Sidekick Johnny B was not there, but brother Mark Valentine was. I gave Phil my book and my elevator speech. He nodded politely, but the phone hasn't rung yet for an interview. I bumped into Al Hunt, formerly of the Capital Gang, and he completely blew me off. Not yet discouraged, I said hello to Todd Palin, formerly of the Hotline, and he was quite friendly and engaging. He's with NBC now, and I gave him a copy of the book as well. No call from Todd yet either !

After the break, the convention reconvened and we heard from Laura Bush and Cindy McCain, who were great, and the Gulf Coast Governors talked about the hurricane relief effort, quite effectively I might add. Right after the convention was dismissed for the day, the first Lady and Mrs. McCain came right over to the Fox News booth, and Brant got some great pictures of Greta Van Sustern interviewing them.

Leaving the convention, I spotted radio talk show host Michael Medved, and gave him both the book and the elevator speech. He was not especially approachable. It was one of those situations where you're walking with someone, and they're talking to you, but really aren't interested in what you're saying. I tried to explain to him the main thrust of the new revelation-- that Barack Obama's mother had left his father when he was seven months old and moved back to Seattle, got an apartment for just herself and her son, and attended the University of Washington as a full time student. Medved was missing my point on this, kept saying, yes, you know they were from Mercer Island.

"Yes," I said, "they were from Mercer Island before they moved to Honolulu. But the point is that Stanley Ann Dunham moved back to Seattle in March of 1962 alone except for young Obama while her parents and her husband remained in Hawaii. Obama Senior left the islands in June, 1962, before Stanley Ann returned to the islands. Then he attended Harvard in September, 1962, when Barack was one year old."

Medved never seemed to catch the point.

Back at the hotel around 6, we got an a bus to a party hosted by Medtronics for several state delegations. While there, we heard from Governor Tim Pawlenty, and I had a chance to speak once again to E-Bay's Meg Whitman, future Governor of California. She's worth $1.7 billion, and is very humble, engaging, gracious, and smart. She recalled our previous meeting, when she spoke at Junior Achievement in Nashville back in March.

Tomorrow morning at 8 am, Mike Huckabee will speak to a joint meeting of the Tennessee and Alaska delegations. I've received the official ok to sell my books before and after this event, so we'll see how that turns out !

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