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Of Duct Tape, Honor, Brats, and Dreams


Back home in Charlotte! I’m sorry I wasn’t able to post updates Thursday and Friday, but I had a bit of a technological problem in Tampa.

Wednesday may have been my favorite day at the RNC. Wednesday morning the NC delegation was honored to have Sen. Marco Rubio speak during breakfast. He stressed that during this election, the most important impact we can have is through personal conversations with others. How true! Talking with our neighbors, co-workers at the water cooler, friends, and family will provide the best opportunity to make a difference–more so than TV ads, the media, or mailers.

During the Wednesday morning breakfast, we also had the opportunity to hear from Josh Romney. He is the image of his father in both looks and mannerisms. He was one of many speakers whom we would hear that would give us a look at the Mitt Romney behind the polished campaign ads and speeches. Just a son talking about his father. One story he told was about being on their tour bus back in January; they were traveling through cold Iowa, on an older bus with an improperly fitting light bulb. This bulb was blinding when standing in a particular spot, so Mitt took a piece of foil and duct taped it to block the light. When they finally got a proper light bulb, he taped the foil and tape to the wall. When asked why he did that, he replied that “we might need that foil and tape later”. He said, “my dad says he’s frugal. I say he’s cheap”.

In downtown Tampa an area was built just for the RNC called Liberty Plaza. Two large tents, a cigar tent, and a Verizon charging station (very helpful!). A few of us decided to head over there around noon on Wednesday. When we got there, we found that Sen. Santorum’s film, “Our Sacred Honor” would be playing. We didn’t have tickets for the show, but they let us in anyhow. What a great film! It was a great walk-through of our founding documents, differences between the American and French Revolutions, and the intention of some of our Founding Father’s words and deeds. I highly recommend checking it out. More info about the film can be found here and here. After the film, I got a picture with Sen. Santorum!

After the film we wandered over to the other tent, where we heard the Wisconsin delegation was going to have a Brats and Beer party at 3:30. We walked over around 3pm, and went right in. Once the party got going some folks asked where we were from (I guess our seersucker and bow ties indicated we weren’t from Milwaukee). Apparently we were supposed to have credentials to get into this shin-dig. However, they didn’t mind us being there, and we sat at a table full of wonderful Wisconsinites. We discussed the Scott Walker recall election, Paul Ryan, and how they got out the vote and defeated union interests. Throughout the party there was a German Polka band playing, in lederhosen and dirndls . They really connected with our table, so they kept grabbing folks from our table for polka dances and other festive German dances. Yours truly cannot dance. I especially cannot dance the polka. At one point, one of the folks from my table from Wisconsin spotted Gov. Scott Walker. “I know Governor Walker; would you guys like to meet him?” Would we?! I gave him a NC delegation pin, and told him that North Carolina stands with Wisconsin. He happily accepted the pin, and said he’d put it on his Harley Davidson vest. He also stressed the importance of electing Pat McCrory as our next Governor. I told him we are working hard to accomplish that.

Jason Kitchel, Andy Lancaster, Gov. Scott Walker, Me, Erin Karriker

Paul Ryan addressing the Wisconsin delegation. On Wisconsin! On Paul Ryan!

The evening RNC session began at 7pm, and we were treated to a number of excellent speeches. I am sure you probably watched most of them, so I won’t give you a play by play of what they each said. I believed the two highlights of the evening were Dr. Condoleeza Rice and Paul Ryan. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Rice, and I really liked her line that she was thankful for parents who made a little girl who was born with nothing dream that she could grow up to be President of the United States, and serve as Secretary State. I believe that was the line which inspired this excited cheer from me:

Paul Ryan’s speech was out of this world. Hard hitting, and heart-felt, he did a great job of firing up the crowd. I’ll be honest, he had the crowd eating from the palm of his hand. There is no doubt that he brings energy and excitement to the ticket. He’s going to tear Vice President Biden up in the VP debate!

NC Speaker of the House Thom Tillis and Me

Once the speeches were over, all of the Southern delegations headed over to Raymond James Stadium for the Taste of the South party. What a well-organized event. There were a dozen food stations, and each table had food representative of a Southern State. I stuffed myself silly on crab cakes, shrimp and grits, barbeque, and more. Everyone who had a hand in organizing that event deserves an award!

Taste of the South

Wednesday was an incredible day of networking, music, great speeches, and excitement! I could not have been more impressed with the quality of events, and the great speakers. One thing I should note–everyone in Tampa was incredibly friendly. Folks could not have been more accommodating, nor welcoming. Security was ever-present, but equally friendly. I never felt unsafe, or that attendees were in any way in harm’s way. My hat is off to the host committee and organizers!

Tomorrow I’ll post up an update for Thursday!

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