I don’t pretend to be a photojournalist. I rarely remember to take pictures, even when at gatherings of family or friends. Yet while in Tampa for the GOP Convention I did manage to take (or be in photos) of the following rather random events.
Sunday evening started with the threat of a hurricane and a party in a private home for BlogBash, thanks to an invite from Jason Pye. Here are two photos that show the range of the Republican establishment in attendence at that event.
Caption this one in the comments section. (Photo by Kyle Wingfield, “Special”)
After sitting out Monday, a much too long bus ride brought us to the Tampa Bay Times Forum arena on Tuesday.
Pat Tippett, Lawton Sack, and Kay Godwin
I spent about as much time with members of the media as I did with Georgia’s delegates. The folks at the AJC were exceptionally hospitable, and were kind enough to let me camp out in their digs in the Tampa Convention Center (a few blocks away from the arena, used to house the working space for the 15,000 members of the media in attendence). I grabbed the following shot when Senator Saxby Chambliss dropped in for an interview.
From the left, Daniel Malloy (AJC Washington), Senator Saxby Chambliss, Kyle Wingfield, and Jim Galloway.
WXIA’s Melissa Long and I did a live shot after Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech from the Convention floor. Problem was, we started from this 5th Floor skybox where she was anchoring a livestream for USA Today during the speech. Our sprint to the floor to hit a 11:05 satellite window was interrupted by the secret service who blocked our path for Ryan to exit. We made it with about 45 seconds to spare.
Melissa Long of WXIA/11Alive far left, with two other anchors from Gannett stations hosting a USAToday broadcast.
Neil Cavuto of Fox News had the station next to where we did the standup from the convention floor.
Erick Erickson held court and did his show from Radio Row inside the convention center.
My seats were somewhat vision obstructed. In fact, I watched most of the speakers on a giant jumbotron, as all I could see from my assigned seat were the telepromptors. Romney’s “forward thrust” stage allowed me to get a glimpse of the actual candidate as he spoke, however.
Mitt Romney and a few thousand of his closest friends.
And, of course, there was the obigatory balloon drop.
Red, White, and Blue
I didn’t have to deal with many protesters. Code Pink made it inside twice. I saw more of them lined up outside the hotel where I had to pick up my press credentials. They were gone by the time I exited. But there were also a lot of folks looking for attention:
Vermin Supreme, doing the fist bump
And then there was food. Lots and lots of food. I was able to get passes to the CNN Grill where the network entertains their own employees covering the convention and others. It was a nice place to stop in and relax amid chaos.
I managed two visits to The Columbia, a Cuban restaurant in Ybor City that has anchored the area since 1905. I also dined twice at The Colonnade, a restaurant that was happy to see us.
And has a sense of humor.
And advertises the best Grouper Sandwich in Tampa.
And, finally, this is as close as I got to Tampa’s nightlife.
Shoe Show. From The Outside. And Only The Outside #didntbringenoughones
It was a great week, and the above pics are but a small sample. Glad I went, but it also was all I could do to keep up. We’ll be at home base this week. If any of you are in Charlotte, please send your own reports.