WL Insider: Republican Convention, Part Deux

by John Arundel

Highlights as the party winds down.

By David H. Bass

The party's over. On Friday, delegates at the Tampa Bay Times Forum packed up and headed home. (Photo by Mallory Benedict/PBS NewsHour)

Four days into this and I still feel like I’m holed up on the set of “Cocoon,” otherwise known as Geriatric City, St. Pete.

Seems like all they do is PX-9, too. Must be a Ryan thing. This is in fact a big donor hotel and everyone seems fairly ebullient about our party’s chances this November.

Mitt, Ann and Condi made the trek out here for a brief lunchtime address. Making us satelliters feel a little more connected.

Security was tight all week in Tampa Bay. Here, the Florida National Guard man a checkpoint outside the convention center. (Photo by Jon Apalpala)

Kidding aside, they all gave superb speeches. And I don’t suppose it’s hidden any longer that the governor has a secret weapon: his wife. She’s rather affable and quite good on the stump. I expect we’ll be hearing quite a bit more from Ann Romney.

The evening events outside of the convention center have been largely palatable thus far. Pretty sure I mentioned the National Journal/Atlantic nightly events previously. And they are the nicest.

And, honestly, where else at the GOP Convention are you going to have the chance to meet the little bald guy (oops, vertically challenged depilation victim) from “Sex and the City.” Also, the nightly Magnum events have tended to keep the crowd to a minimum. And seeing Gregg Allman play last night was tres cool. And the ever relevant Daily Caller hosted a very nice entrance lounge. Cigarettes and Cigars supplied.

I guess If I were to call out the most unusual party of the week, it would have to be Rock the Vote. Pitch black, black lights and dry ice. At least I think it was dry ice.

Best bar name in Tampa? Dog Bollocks. Coming home with some T-shirts from that one.

The scene from the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum. (Photo by Mallory Benedict/PBS NewsHour)

So this brings us to finale night: The BIG speeches and we nominate the ticket. And Journey is playing just around the corner, sponsored by Creative Coalition and others.

In case anyone is interested in the music lineup for the week, it went something like this: Big Head Todd, Blues Traveler, Gregg Allman, The Commodores, Driveby Truckers, Surreal McCoys, Robert Earl Keen, Trace Adkins, Better Than Ezra, Wyclef Jean, Zac Brown Band. Apologies if I missed any.

And of course there was live music at the Warehouse parties, just couldn’t tell you who they were.

And of course, everyone was bummed Blame It On Jane had to cancel.

So, with all these events, how does one decide?

Just look for über lobbyist Nick Owens. If he’s there, it’s important.

David H. Bass is a principal with Washington, D.C.-based Raptor Strategies. He previously was deputy publisher of The Weekly Standard and The Hill newspaper, and was the launch consultant in the founding of Politico.

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