Amy Maciejowski of Woodbridge is among 14 Quinnipiac University students who are in Florida at the Republican National Convention. She'll be updating this blog to give Patch readers a firsthand account about what's going on in Tampa (including the hurricane...)
I don’t think anyone has let Downtown Tampa know that we are expecting a hurricane. All the events for tomorrow have been postponed in light of the impending Isaac, but Downtown Tampa is still bustling with delegates and armies alike. After having to go an hour north to Busch Gardens to pick up my media credentials, I could already see the clouds rolling in and the wind picking up. Hoping that I wouldn’t get caught in the eye of the hurricane on my travels, I rushed back and made it downtown to check out the Convention Center. To my surprise, there were no boarded up stores, in fact merchandise from “The White House Gear” was still outside. MSNBC was still broadcasting live from their station, as well as Fox, workers were eating at Hooters, and delegates were touring and shopping. The air-conditioned walkway was standing and decorated with blue, red, and white lights.
Even though all the official RNC events were cancelled for tomorrow, it didn’t seem to faze anyone that had a job to do. All the Media in the Convention Center was setting up, and already filing stories. Mostly, the event has shifted to a multi-faceted opportunity to report on both a possible disaster and a Convention. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Everything seemed as it should be, but what is the saying: “calm before the storm”?
Earlier on Sunday, there were whispers that GOP officials would consider holding events on Friday, but the new schedule released does not include events for Friday. Instead, some of the speakers who were not headliners would no longer be able to speak. As my boss for the Voice of America mentioned, it’s a blessing in disguise for the party because now with a tighter schedule, they have even more control over who will and will not speak.
Tomorrow, there still will be an “official” call to order and the start of the Debt Clock (a clock which measures the amount of debt the country is currently facing) that will last about 10 minutes. The real threat is not so much for what is going on Downtown but there are many delegations (like the Iowa Delegation) staying at hotels that are right on the beach. Not only that, but it takes roughly 50 minutes in order to get to the Convention Center. While the Hurricane is projected to veer off the coast, hopefully there will be no need to evacuate the Delegations, how far away could they go next?
Work goes on, despite the threat! I will be heading to the Convention Center bright and early tomorrow morning (hopefully bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, not bleary-eyed and drenched).