A few of the potential GOP presidential candidates of 2008 are meeting with Iowans at the Republican National Convention in New York City. Yesterday morning, Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel spoke to the Iowans who’re in the Big Apple. This morning, former New York Mayor Rudy Guilliani will appear before the Iowa delegation. Iowa Republican Party executive director Gentry Collins says these potential presidential candidates of 2008 have to walk a tightrope.
“You’re talking about a group of people who have aspirations for 2008, but I think that they for a variety of reasons, including the fact that our party is focused on re-electing the president, need to be careful about being too upfront about what their ambitions may or may not be,” Collins says. “It forces every body to get this job done before they starting focusing on the next one.”
As a result, Collins says none of the presidential wannabes of the future has been overtly courting Iowans at the convention. Inside the tight confines of Madison Square Garden, there is one empty chair in the Iowa delegation’s seating on the convention floor, a spot reserved for Iowa Republican Party chairman Chuck Larson. Larson is on active duty in Iraq, and convention managers have placed a yellow ribbon on Larson’s empty chair.
“A very nice touch,” says Dave Roederer, the Bush/Cheney Iowa campaign chair.
State Senator Larry McKibben of Marshalltown and his wife have been photographing some of the protests at this convention. McKibben says he’ll give the snaps to his next door neighbor – Marshalltown’s police chief – to show him how they handle things in the big city.