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And it begins!

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It’s hard to believe how much has taken place, and it’s only Tuesday morning. I flew to Tampa on Friday to visit with my brother and his family (and got to see my four week old niece for the first time!) for the weekend, and then I arrived on Sunday at the NC delegation hotel in St. Petersburg. We’re staying at the Hilton Bayfront, along with the Minnesota delegation. There are four of us that are splitting a hotel room, and I’m glad we brought inflatable mattresses, because two guys in a full sized bed is, well, a little too close for comfort.

Sunday I attended the Ron Paul rally at the USF Sun Dome. It was incredible. The whole arena was packed, as well as the floor seating. As a Paul delegate, I was free to walk down to the floor, and stand close to the stage. When Ron Paul took the podium, the whole arena went wild. It was like a rock concert! A couple lines from his speech: “Some people read 1984 and thought it was a dire warning. Others read it, thought it was a business plan, and ran for Congress.” “We need to audit the Fed. We need to audit the Pentagon, too!” “People say ‘if those Paul people were in charge, bin Laden would still be alive’. Well, yeah, and so would the 3000 people died on 9/11!”

The passion of Ron Paul’s supporters is unmatched, and the GOP would be wise to be inclusive of them.

After the Paul rally in Tampa, we high-tailed it back to St. Pete to go to the GOP Welcome Event at Tropicana Field. Security was very visible, but was remarkable quick and efficient in screening folks coming into the event. My jaw hit the floor when I walked into the domed stadium. There was carpeting covering the whole field and thousands of people were there. There must have been 15 food stations, all serving something unique. Rodney Atkins performed, as well as Cirque du Soleil. The GOP did a bang-up job making everyone feel welcome. It was a great way to start the week!

Had to get a picture in the dugout!

Monday was to be the start of the convention business session, but it got postponed until today. However, we did have our morning NC delegation breakfast, and Governor Chris Christie was a featured speaker. He spoke about how important NC is to ensuring the defeat of President Obama in November. He emphasized several times that we “are a state of consequence”. I’ll tell you, the NC delegation is fired up and ready to go! Yesterday evening there was a joint party with the NC, LA, and WI delegations. The band was fantastic, and everyone had a great time meeting folks from across the country. My friend Erin Karriker took the mic and gave the toast to the NC delegation, “here’s the the land of the long-leaf pine, the summer land where the sun doth shine. Where the weak from strong and the strong grow great. Here’s to “down home” the Old North State!” This got quite a round of applause and cheers from the NC delegation.

This morning we had a fantastic breakfast with surprise guest speaker–Herman Cain! He gave an incredible speech, and emphasized that hard work and dedication is the way to capture the American Dream. Government doesn’t build that!

Right now I’m heading out the door to the convention business session. There has been a lot of talk about proposed rules changes to the RNC. Two are of particular note: one will allow the RNC to change rules in between national conventions, and the other allows presidential candidates to choose their own delegates. Both of these proposed rules changes have passionate supporters on each side. Grassroots activists are rightfully concerned that they could be left out under these new rules changes. I will go into more depth about this, and the result of the vote, in my next post. I will be voting with the minority report (which means I’m against these rules changes).

For liberty,

Matthew

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