Three speakers earlier in the evening shared touching, personal stories about how Mitt Romney helped their families when he was pastor of their congregation (This was “convention-speak.” They always said “pastor” instead of “bishop”, and “congregation” instead of “ward.”). Unfortunately, all of this was before the national TV networks tuned into the prime time hour of the convention.
Likewise, a very solid biographical video of Romney was shown before the switch to prime time. (If you missed it, you can catch it here on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_cGyPwt5UI )
Then as the nation tuned in, in came Clint Eastwood. Many of my fellow conservatives around the country are trying to spin the unscripted appearance by the 82 year-old Hollywood star, but I’ll tell you what I thought sitting there live. He was rambling, he was inaudible much of the time, he was “off message”, and he was cringe worthy. It is like when that drunk uncle stands up to propose a toast at a wedding and you just sit there uncomfortably because you don’t know what will come out next.
Eastwood was also very funny and a huge hit with the delegate crowd inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum. But his appearance should have been placed earlier in the evening, NOT the first thing the prime time national audience saw. The Eastwood shtick really broke up the positive build-up that began with Romney’s past parishioners, then the warm and fuzzy intro video, and that could have culminated with Marco Rubio’s great speech and Romney himself (who did a terrific job, in my opinion, that night).
One funny aside from Thursday night was the interaction between some New Hampshire alternate delegates seated near me and the CNN gang. Seated right below us was CNN’s Piers Morgan and Wolf Blitzer. A large and loud older gentleman seated near me told a few of us, “Wolf Blitzer did not stand up for the pledge of allegiance or national anthem last night,” he said incredulously, “and if he does it again tonight, I’m calling him on it!”
So as the evening program begun, we all rose for the pledge, except Piers and Wolf, who remained seated flipping through their Blackberries. The man from New Hampshire near me was getting angry, and when the Star Spangled Banner began he couldn’t take it anymore. “Stand up, Wolf!” he yelled down. “Stand up! This is your country’s anthem! Stand up, Wolf!”
CNN’s camera man looked up and held up a hand to our section. “Easy man!” he said. But my large New Hampshire delegate was unrestrained. “Don’t give me the hand! Stand up, Wolf!” And eventually Wolf and Piers whispered to each other and then stood up and turned around and faced the flag.
Many in our section began clapping at this small victory of patriotic Republicans over the embodiment of the cable news media elite. Next to Piers and Wolf was the Fox News crew who smiled up at us and gave a thumbs up.
And speaking of fun: Many of you may be familiar with the Top 40 hit “Call Me Maybe” by young Canadian sensation Carly Rae Jepsen. This catchy ditty has spawned numerous covers and parodies in recent months. Some of my favorites include:
-U.S. Swim Team lip sync: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPIA7mpm1wU
-Cookie Monster’s parody: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qTIGg3I5y8
-Star Wars version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBM7i84BThE
-Obama singing “Call Me Maybe”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hX1YVzdnpEc
Thus inspired, I had fun going around Tampa filming many of the Utah delegation for a Republican National Convention version of “Call Me Maybe”. I apologize for being a little pushy at times to get a good clip, and I apologize to those who I filmed that through technical or other reasons did not make the final cut. But I am grateful to all of the good sports staring in this, and especially grateful to Utah Policy’s Bryan Schott who spent many, many hours back in Salt Lake editing my raw footage into a very fun piece.
So thanks again for enjoying The Red Kool-Aid Stand from Tampa, and enjoy the Utah GOP version of “Call Me Maybe.”