So, when I saw Christie Vilsack this morning at the Iowa Delegation’s breakfast here in Beantown, I asked her the question on the minds of, oh, at least two of my friends: Why didn’t you take Matt Paul’s advice? For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Paul, he is the Governor’s press secretary who has a dashing sense of style and dishes it out to those who ask. Governor Tom Vilsakc, who I happened to chat with before his wife (and who seeks Mr. Paul’s advice), let loose with the detail that Mr. Paul had recommended another wardrobe option.
Mrs. Vilsack confirmed that during our brief conversation. Mrs. V said she has a nice “conservative suit” but opted to wear the bubble-gum pink suit with the white polka dots because she wanted attire with an attitude (I’m alliterating for my own amusement here; she told me she wanted to wear “something with attitude” but I couldn’t resist the double a, but I am coming clean now).
So, Mrs. Vilsack said she wanted an outfit with attitude because of the week she’s had. As you may have heard or read, the Boston Herald unearthed a column Mrs. V wrote in favor of making English the Official Language. I won’t go into detail, as it’s covered elsewhere and I’m getting carpal tunnel on this laptop which is perched on the top of the desk in my room here at the Marriott Long Wharf. Or is that Long Whart Marriott.
In addition to the alliteration confession, I must also reveal that the very generous Gordon Fischer, chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, let me ride with him to the Fleet Center this evening. I did glean news items during this trip, so it was a working trip. Fischer and all the other state party chairmen have hired drivers, and the Fischers gave their driver, who moved here from China, a gift bag of stuff from the convention, including the canvas carry-all with the convention logo on its side and a box of the Kraft Mac & Cheese created just for this convention.
So, Gordon jumped in the car and quipped to the driver that “this is my other wife” in explanation for the new woman accompanying him to the convention hall. Mrs. Fischer, I believe, gave her credentials for this evening to another Iowan. A brief discussion about Utah ensued, as often happens when multiple wives come up in conversation.
Once we reached the perimeter (I’m sorry, I have to use that word. No other came quickly to mind so I’m using it even though real people don’t use the word “perimeter” in conversation — just math teachers and cops. Does the sum of the perimeter equal something?) well, once we reached the perimeter of the Fleet Center we wound our way through the barricades, and the hecklers, and the metal detectors. Once inside, the cramped conditions are apparent. Mr. Fischer waded into the hall and passed messages to Iowans in the delegation I wanted to chat with since I don’t have a pass that allows me onto the floor, just into the Fleet Center and the corridors around the hall.
One of the Iowans I wanted to chat with was Patrick Johnson of Clinton. He may wind up on “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central — and seemed unconcerned he may wind up looking silly or even stupid. The gag/gig ended with two of the comedians who are “reporters” on the show singing a duet of “The Star Spangled Banner”…Johnson says he jumped to his feet and put his hand over his heart because he wanted to be respectful. He also says it appears to him the comedians had rehearsed the song a few times. I failed to ask if they hit the high notes or if the two did a Roseanne to help nail the high notes. Bad reporter!
I was chatting with Todd Dorman today, Lee Enterprises Des Moines Bureau Chief, and he allowed as how (note use of southwest Iowa saying “allowed as how”) the reporters he’s talked with who are covering the convention seem to be teetering toward suicide, but unable to jump because of all the barbed wire on the top of the fences on the bridges.
I am not suicidal, partly because I made a concerted effort to go to a restaurant (Legal Sea Food), sit down, order from a menu and eat something like a vegetable. I did have to sit at the lunch counter, but the party of three who joined alongside proved to be lovely and happened to be related to Maya Angelou and were in town to hang out with her.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned that lunch. It was the only meal I’ve had today, but yes, friends, I did order the salmon. I considered ordering the scrod, just because I’ve never eaten it and it would be fun to say “I’ll have the scrod” and “I ate some good scrod in Boston” but the allure of the salmon was too much for me to resist. And in affirmation of my fine dining choice, the Angelou relatives exclaimed “Oh, that looks good,” when my plate arrived, and they weren’t talking about the brocoli.
I should probably divert back to news items, so let me share that Delaware Senator Joe Biden showed up to speak to the Iowa Delegation about the same time the folks in NE Iowa go out to milk the cows, which means he was waaaay too early. So he hung out with Governor Vilsack for a while to drink some coffee. Then, when he did talk, he talked about 20 minutes. Quoted an Irish poet. I tried to take notes. He’s said most of it all before, on t.v. ’cause he’s always on t.v.
The Governor got a little verclempt (spelling?) this morning when he was talking about his wife’s appearance last night at the convention. He was thanking the Iowans for being nice to her yesterday in the midst of the controversy and in the midst of a very stressful gig. Listening back to the tape, his voice cracked, then he backed away from the microphone for 4.6 seconds. Then, he started talking again.
State Rep. Mary Mascher, a delegate at this convention, tells me Peter Jennings (she thinks it was him) interviewed University of Iowa student and fellow delegate Megan Heneke, the young woman who grew up in Spirit Lake and is leader of Iowa Young Democrats now. Mascher says Heneke did well. Heneke told me Sunday she wants to run for office someday. Perhaps she could use the footage with Jennings in her campaign commercials.
They’re doing the roll call of the states now, and it’s driving me crazy. It is not “two-hundred-and-twenty” votes. AND is to be used where the decimal point is in a number. Therefore, cast your “two-hundred-twenty” votes, please. High school math teacher Carolyn Dillenberg drilled that into us. Maybe I should try to answer that math question about perimeters now…