Saturday late afternoon:
The Tampa Airport was jammed with arriving delegates, alternates, and guests. There were bands playing, welcome tables erected, volunteers stationed and exit doors adorned with "Welcome to Tampa RNC 2012." Clearly, the potential for a storm has not cut the spirit of the occasion.
Washington is a blue (democrat) state and this is a red event. Many of us have postulated that our delegations distance to the Tampa Bay Times Forum is directly correlated to the color and political make-up of our state. Our delegation is 25 miles away in Clearwater!
The Tampa Yacht Club was the location of our brunch. It was a great time to meet Republican people, party people, from around our state. As I write, we are on a bus going to Davis Island, touring the area, and learning the pirate history of this part of our country. I love the fact that Ft. McDill is located here. I like that idea because I like the area. And, there is the possibility of Capt. John and his family being stationed here. How cool would that be to have a place to stay while visiting?
We are in Tampa now. The guide just said, "If you look closely, you will see some of the snipers on the top of the buildings." I am not sure if that was suppose to be comforting! many of the D/T venues are closed for security reasons. The Hillsboro River is being patrolled by security. No other boats will be allowed on the river while we are here. The boats are small, with blue flashing lights. We just passed an eight horse mounted police patrol. There are units of State Patrol National Guard, and local police. We are told the security has been up for a couple of weeks. The college is closed. The courts are closed....
The upside for Tampa comes with the publicity and the dollars spent by 50,000 visitors!