Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel spoke to the Iowa delegation this morning, and he was immediately met by the glee Iowa delegate Joni Scotter shows at every turn. (Last night, Leon Moseley told Joni to settle down after she effusively thanked New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as he made his way out of the Broadway theater where he had just welcomed delegates from Iowa and 10 other states. “Save your strength, Joni, you won’t last the whole week,” Steve Roberts, RNC committeeman from Iowa, told her.) Scotter clapped and hooted when Hagel mentioned Nebraska’s football team because she had a son who graduated from Nebraska. “Get that woman another drink!” Hagel said, to laughter. I’m sure he meant coffee or orange juice. It was 8:30 in the morning.
Hagel used a big word this morning: imprimatur. Look it up yourself; I’m not tellin’ ya what it means. And for all you radio people out there, Hagel’s first real job after he came back from Vietnam was at an Omaha radio station. He holds a degree from the Brown Institute, as does Radio Iowa’s very own sports guru, Todd Kimm.
As for when I laughed out loud this morning, I have to admit it was when Dave Roederer, the Bush/Cheney Iowa campaign chair, said “You all know, I hope, that we’re here to renominate the president.” No one jumped up in surprise, so the news must have reached all the Iowans here.
Roederer also announced Chuck Larson has an empty chair in the convention hall, and it’s marked with a yellow ribbon. In case you’ve missed that news, Larson has been and continues to be on active duty in Iraq.
Reverend Morris Hurd began this morning’s Iowa delegate meeting with prayer, especially for the “young protestors who seem so confused.” I have to admit to being confused myself by the protestors who were naked, protesting for more federal funding of AIDS research. I thought safe sex involved, well, NOT getting completely naked. Those protestors were arrested and charged with over exposure, I think.
The Honorable Paul D. Pate (the D stands for Danny; the E in Terry E. Branstad didn’t stand for anything, it was just an initial) gave each delegate a goodie bag that included a bunch of stuff from Cedar Rapids businesses (the reason I referred to him as “The Honorable” is because he’s the mayor of Cedar Rapids). So, the delegates (and reporters, I must add, so I’ve got to pay Pate for the goodies) were given lip balm from Raining Rose, snacks from Quaker Oats and General Mills, the latest issue of the “Corridor Business Journal” — a business paper for Cedar Rapids, a lapel pin from Rockwell Collins, a prepaid McLeod USA phone card worth 60 minutes and (my favorite) a CRANDIC Rail Line engineers cap. I don’t know what CRANDIC is, but I am going to find out. I’m told Jim Nussle handed out goodie bags, too, but haven’t been able to research the contents of those. Oh, and Pate included a NY t-shirt and postcard, which his wife probably bought in bulk at one of those Times Square businesses that advertises 4 t-shirts for $!0. I’m not suggesting it’s a cheap t-shirt, I’m just saying Iowans are discount shoppers.
Verizon hosted an ice cream social for Senator Charles Grassley this afternoon at the very posh Plaza Hotel. Sources say Haagen Daas ice cream was served, and Grassley says they ran out of vanilla. They had little nibbles of fancy food, too, but Barbara Grassley says the veggies weren’t as big a seller as the ice cream. Grassley did say the serving sizes were small, so that helps explain why he had three bowls. The reception lasted a couple of hours and has become a tradition at these conventions.
Oh, and a final few words about the police presence here in the Big City. As I walked out of the Sheraton Manhattan this morning to cross the street to the Sheraton New York (a bigger hotel where the IA delegation’s meeting was held), a jack-booted SWAT guy with a black helmet and an AK-47 casually walked by in the opposite direction. And this afternoon, a police dog and his master were in the hotel lobby again. And last night I got a summons from the hallway outside my door “Security. This is Security. Is anyone inside this room?” My hotel room door doesn’t completely shut sometimes, and a guard patrolling the halls discovered the door ajar. He had someone from maintenance check the door. I’m making sure it shuts now.
Iowa’s Gov is in New York City, too, the lead voice for the Democratic Party’s attack –I mean response– machine for the convention. His media events are scheduled at a mid-day time when I’m busy filing for Radio Iowa, so I’m not going to be covering Vilsack’s daily attacks (and I didn’t cover the repubs’ attacks on the dems in Boston, either). I may catch up with Vilsack later this week and ask him if repeating the same thing over and over to reporters from throughout the country is like basic training for a White House run. (I’m told he does interview after interview by satellite uplink after the daily “news conference” here in NYC, and repeats the message over and over.)
I could go on and on, and repeat some of what I’ve said before, but that would be wrong. I’ll log off now and listen to McCain & Guiliani.