Which way to the convention?

September 3, 2008

rtr21sbp.jpgA reception in Minneapolis Tuesday night for Indian Americans who support Republican presidential candidate John McCain went well: the food was tasty, the drinks flowed, and everyone touted McCain’s informal support of the U.S.-India civil nuclear accord.

But then people tried to get to the Republican National Convention.

“We thought it was in Minneapolis, so we decided to stay at the Hilton here. Now it’s very hard to go back and forth,” said Sambhu Banik, an attendee at the last five Republican conventions.

Like many others, Banik mistook the billing of this year’s convention, in Minneapolis-St. Paul, to mean Minneapolis. In fact, almost all official proceedings are taking place at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, 10 miles and at least a $20 cab ride away.

The Twin Cities made a combined bid for the RNC because neither Minneapolis nor St. Paul could hold such large crowds on their own, making this the first political convention hosted simultaneously by two cities. They have a long-running sibling rivalry, and the compromise “Minneapolis-St. Paul” billing has left some St. Paul residents feeling “punked but good,” in the words of RubĂ©n Rosario, a columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Back at the Indo-American dinner, a few of the attendees chose not to make the trek back to St. Paul for the evening convention speeches. Banik said he catches whatever rides he can.

“I’m really popular because I’m the only one with a car,” said fellow attendee Rudy Pamintuan.

The travel logistics haven’t dampened Banik’s enthusiasm for McCain. The situation could even bring him closer to the candidate, who is booked into the very same hotel.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

– Photo credit: Reuters/Joe Skipper


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Interesting. Of-course St. Paul is famous for its literary, (and cultural?), figures including Fitzgerald. Perhaps the writers in the convention would be more familiar with the nuances of the twin cities.

Posted by Ram Rao | Report as abusive

It’s encouraging to read about Indian-Americans doing their bit for the process, even if it is for the other party.

Great job, keep it up. Thnx.

Posted by Zainab | Report as abusive

Do you know who paid for the reception? Was it the RNC?

Posted by Fidelis Bozo | Report as abusive

That’s a good campaign motto for the Republicans: “Punked but good.”

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive