Wow, we finally made it to the convention floor and the process has begun.
The convention was gaveled open for the second day but this time the actual meetings are starting, albeit under the clouds of a hurricane touching our coast.
While we have a meeting to get through and the excitement is growing we also are all cognizant of the fact that there are fellow citizens located on the northern gulf coast that are bracing for what is now officially known as Hurricane Isaac. When Florida's Lt. Governor was speaking, briefly she asked for a moment of silence for the states who were about to feel the impact of the storm. Additionally Ann Romney also recognized those in harms away. So while we are energized, it is with the thoughts of the storm in the back of our minds.
Social media has been one of the widely discussed topics as the communication through this tool has exploded since the 2008 convention in Minneapolis. The large banners in front of the arena have the twitter hashtag #GOP2012 and it is also circulating on the screens in the arena. The arena is decked out in the campaign blue along with red and white accents and "WE BUILT IT" is plastered in large letters on the side wall of the arena floor. In addition to the U.S. media, outlets the foreign press is in full force.
I spoke to a reporter from Sweden who described his country as "very interested " in American politics. He is stationed in the US and covering both conventions and will be here through the election in November. There is no shortage of cameras, microphones, and reporters looking for a story. The floor and the Maryland delegates are seated on the convention floor directly behind Puerto Rico to the left of the stage if your facing the podium.
The Texas Delegation is one of the bigger ones and they are all wearing shirts that resemble their State flag as well as their signature white cowboy hats. The Alabama Delegation led off the roll call votes where each state read aloud their votes to nominate the Romney Ryan ticket. State Chairman and former State Senator Alex Mooney unfurled the Maryland Flag while Mr Louis Pope the Maryland Republican National Committeeman announced that all of Maryland's 37 votes were for Governor Mitt Romney.
The speeches were excellent but one of the highlights in my mind was Mia Love, mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah. A Haitian-American candidate for Congress who if she wins she would be the first black Republican woman to win a seat in Congress. She spoke with passion and fervor and was very warmly received by the crowd. Many of the speeches by elected officials were followed by small business owners who carried on the theme of "We built that business". The speeches were followed many times by the recording of President Obamas quote "you didn't build it". In addition to business owners addressing the crowd from the stage there were a number of pre-recorded videos that highlighted small businesses from across the US. T
he other highlight of the evening was a speech by Ann Romney and her standing ovation was thunderous amidst a sea of signs saying "We love Ann". In fact many Delegates on the floor stood throughout her entire speech. She said she wasn't here to talk about politics but about her deep abiding love for the man she married, the guy she met at a high school dance. She highlighted her husbands success by saying it wasn't handed to him "he built it". She said "Mitt doesn't talk about how he has helped others because he considers it a privilege not a political talking point".
She closed by telling the crowd he will not fail, he will not let us down ... you can trust Mitt. A large contingent of the party faithful (including me) were looking forward to the key note speaker Governor Chris Christie (a rumored VP candidate), and he did not disappoint.
In his typical New Jersey style he was direct, and spoke from his heart. He fired up the crowd and challenged everyone with stories of his success based on Republican principles. He said if "we could do it in a blue state like New Jersey, Washington is out of excuses".
Stay tuned for more from the convention tomorrow evening as Paul Ryan takes the stage and lays out the policies and plans of a Romney Ryan administration.