Tracie Mauriello, covering her first political convention, is recharged, amped up and over-caffeinated
I’m recharging my batteries, literally and figuratively. I was so tired when I got back to the hotel last night that I went straight to bed without putting my phone, laptop and camera on chargers, so that was my first order of business this morning.
My colleague Jim O’Toole covered this morning's 7:30 a.m. breakfast so I could sleep late. The speaker was Chris Christie, and it would have been nice to have seen him in a more intimate setting so soon after his keynote address last night, but sleep was more important today. I’ve got a lot of long days yet ahead.
Here’s yesterday in brief:
Morning: I headed to the delegation breakfast to hear House Speaker John Boehner and Mitt Romney’s son, Josh. A group of protesters tried to disrupt the breakfast, but were stopped at the door. One of the protesters had tipped me off earlier, so I was prepared, but the delegation was not.
Late morning: Back in my room, I dashed off a blog post about the morning protest
, then got on the phone to make some preparations for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte next week. I arranged to meet with some sources there on Sunday. I also sent my payments to the Pennsylvania Democratic Party to cover my food and transportation costs so I can eat with the delegation and travel on their bus between the hotel and convention site in North Carolina. (The Republican Party did the same. It’s a great time savings to be able to pop into their hospitality suite to grab a quick bite from trays of food.)
Afternoon: I grabbed a hot dog from the hospitality suite and ate it on my way to meet photographer Steve Mellon. We headed over to a policy briefing sponsored by the Hispanic Leadership Network, where he shot video while I interviewed delegates from Puerto Rico and Nevada. We stayed long enough to hear Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno, then headed to the convention center.
We arrived just in time to hear a speech by Pennsylvania Congressional candidate Keith Rothfus. Jim was already in the Tampa Bay Times Forum and ready to write about the Rothfus speech so I got a floor pass and headed down to get reaction to the speech from the Pennsylvania delegation and to track down some information about a Pennsylvanian who made a floor motion. Jim was able to use the quotes in this story
(By the way, I forgot to post this story in yesterday’s blog entry
I wanted to file those pieces early so I could pay attention to Rick Santorum’s speech. The plan was for me to write a short and very straightforward breaking news post for Post-Gazette.com, while Jim was going to handle a longer and more contextual piece for the print edition. So, 7:00 came and went, then 8:00, and no Santorum. Was his speech nixed? Jim saw a Santorum aide in the stands and found out that there was a schedule change. The speech was to be at 9:15 p.m.
Ann Romney spoke
at 10p.m. and Chris Christi followed her.
Christie’s camp provided embargoed copies of his speech about an hour before he spoke, so I was able to get a bit of a head start on that one. Ultimately, though, I ended up pretty much writing three short breaking news pieces in an hour. I didn’t think I could write so fast. (Coffee is a wonderful thing.)
When the convention wrapped up I caught up with Rick Santorum who was still on the House floor. I got his reaction to his own speech and the others, but by the time I got back to the press stands we were really pushing up against deadline so I didn’t end up sending along the quotes. I may use them in a blog post later.
Jim was still finishing his story and I debated whether I should catch the delegation shuttle or wait for him to finish and get a ride in his rental car. I opted for the latter. It took us nearly an hour to get out of the parking garage because of all the people leaving at once. I kept thinking I should have taken the shuttle. I found out later that I made the right choice. The shuttle system last night was a mess and the Pennsylvania delegation didn’t get back to the hotel until 2:40 a.m.! That’s 2 hours and 40 minutes after the convention ended. I’m sure there’s story to be had there but I haven’t the time to write it.
I did, however, make time to unwind in the hotel bar for a bit with a few other reporters. We all agreed were were exhausted but still too amped up to sleep. It’s hard to go straight to bed after working so intensely and quickly in an environment as exciting (and loud) as a political convention.
Today’s plan in brief: Finish an enterprise story, attend a briefing to gather material for an issue piece I’ll file from Charlotte, and head to the convention center to hear speeches and file breaking news stories for our website.
For those keeping score:
Sorry, I’ve stopped keeping track.