Before I write another line about the delegates here, I must spend some time talking about my fellow Iowa reporters in New York City. The first thing you need to know is Rod Boshart of the Cedar Rapids Gazette saved my life. We were walking to the Broadway show “Bombay Dreams” and I, of course, was decked out in a fashionable dress and some very attractive, just purchased in Chicago, Nine West black sandals. As Rod walked alongside on the sidewalk, one of the heels of my shoe got caught in the steam grate, and I started tipping forward. My head turned to the THREE cops who were standing a mere foot away, as I said something like “I’m going to fall.” Not one of “New York’s Finest” moved a muscle. Rod, though, jumped to my rescue. Not only did he steady me on my feet, he tugged the shoe out of the grate and helped reshod my foot. If it had been raining, I’m sure he would have thrown his cape on the street so I wouldn’t get my feet wet in a puddle (and there’s nothing worse than wet feet when you’re wearing sandals, friends).
You must also hear about the work respite of today, a one and a half hour mid-day detour to a paradise called a restaurant. It’s where you get to sit down at a table, look at a menu, have food served to you on china and get your water glass refilled repeatedly. Anyway, this paradise was reached after a half hour cab ride to Greenwich Village. This oasis of hot food and linen table cloths was the Villa Mosconi Restaurant. Mr. Peter Mosconi joined me and Charlotte Eby of the Waterloo Courier as we sat in the restaurant’s garden area, eating our salad. Mosconi came to the US when he was a teenager, with his father on a steam boat owned and operated by the Italian government. We asked Mosconi about Guiliani, and he was effusive. He recounted his own experience of 9/11; he could see the flaming towers from the garden area where we were eating. His reverence for Guiliani was apparent, but Mosconi expressed doubts that an Italian American could become president “although he was born here.” Mosconi briefly left us to attend to a phone call, then returned to tell of his boyhood home in northern Italy, at the foot of the alps, and he was fascinated with our own stories of the Floods of ’93.
Then, back to work for us. Senator Charles Grassley held a news conference to complain about some of those 527s. You can read the news elsewhere on the website. What was interesting to me was how animated Grassley got. So I asked him why he was getting so animated, pounding the lectern and raising his voice. “Don’t read too much into antics, just take me at my words, not necessarily at my gestures,” Grassley said, then he took a sip of water. “I suppose it’s fair to say that I’m a little incensed.”
President Bush was in Alleman, Iowa, today, and the only news to reach me here is another verbal mis-step Bush made. He referred to Iowa as the “hinterlands” before correcting himself and calling it the “heartland.” Bush made a verbal mis-step of a different sort earlier this week when he said something about the war on terror, and it all reminds me of one of my favorite Bush events ever. It was a “right choices” event in northwest Iowa, and I think I was standing in the Orance City high school gymnasium when one of the students asked then-candidate George Bush to talk about a wrong choice he’d made and what he learned from it. Bush explained that when he was in college, he tried to “liberate” a Christmas wreath from a bank with some college chums and got caught by the cops. He said his mistake was drinking too much and thinking he was “invisible” — I think he meant invincible, but I was never sure. Perhaps they had drinks at Yale that make one feel invisible. I’d like to order the drink that makes me feel 20 pounds lighter.
And speaking of the perfect Cosmo, did you hear Barbara Bush, the twin, say this of her grandmother, Barbara Bush, the former First Lady: “She thinks ‘Sex in the City’ is something married people do but never talk about.”
Tomorrow, I shall tell you about finding the “Hello, Deli” near our hotel, as well as brief you on the other people on my hotel floor.