Tales from the Trail

Romney’s strong debate draws cheers and relief from Republicans in Congress

Mitt Romney’s strong debate performance eased concerns by fellow Republicans in Congress that his recent struggles could be a problem for all of them on Election Day.

“His first debate was very important – and he delivered,” said Congressman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a member of the House Republican leadership.

“He established himself as a person who can be president of the United States – and that will make everyone feel positive,” said Republican Senator Mike Johanns.

“This is our first good morning since our convention,” said Republican Congressman Tom Cole. “We’re buoyant.”

Romney raised Republicans’ spirits – and lowered those of  Democrats – with a powerful showing on Wednesday in his first of three nationally televised debates against President Barack Obama.

Democrats wrap up their convention, tell us what you think…

rtr21sox.jpgThe last balloon has popped, the last piece confetti has fluttered to the ground and the last word has been spoken by Democrats who wrapped up their nominating convention Thursday.

Did presidential hopeful Barack Obama win over doubters, was he able to spell out enough details about his plans if elected, and did his attacks trying to tie rival Republican John McCain to the Bush administration work?

Let us know your thoughts and what you want to see from the Republicans in St. Paul next week.

Inside the Tent: Winning trust on the Middle East

In the hours before Barack Obama‘s acceptance speech at Invesco Field in Denver, Yoel Lefkowitz talks about what he wants to hear the candidate, and what it will take to win the support of Brooklyn’s Hasidic community.

Reuters Inside the Tent has more than 40 delegates and other attendees in Denver and St. Paul, equipped with video cameras to capture the conventions from the ground up. Adam Pasick is the U.S Consumer Media Editor for Reuters.com.

Click here for a full list of contributors at the Democratic National Convention. We’ll be moving to St. Paul for the Republican National Convention next week.

Al Jazeera reception less than Golden in Colorado

DENVER – The English-language channel of the Arabic news network Al Jazeera is getting a Colorado reception as frosty as a cold Coors Light.

coors.jpgAl Jazeera English is broadcasting from Golden, Colo., home of the Coors Brewing Company , as part of its coverage of the Democratic National Convention, as well as from the Pepsi Center and Invesco Field.

The broadcasts from small-town Colorado are intended to show their international audience a slice of Americana, according to political program editor Julian Ingle. Only one satellite provider and a handful of cable companies carry Al Jazeera English in the United States, but the network is available in 120 million homes in 80 countries.

Inside the Tent: Clinton’s supporters in Denver

The following video was made by Huffington Post’s Off the Bus, a partner in the Reuters Inside the Tent project. YouTube Preview Image

The video was created by Hunter Weeks, who worked with Off The Bus reporters Dawn Teo, Nathaniel Bach, M.S. Bellows, Jr. and Kelly Nuxoll.

Inside the Tent has more than 40 delegates and other attendees in Denver and St. Paul, equipped with video cameras to capture the conventions from the ground up. TK is not a Reuters employee and any opinions expressed are TK own.

Greek gods, a birthday billboard and other Denver nuggets

And the Obama campaign thought their biggest worry was getting the right mix of substance and style in tonight’s big speech. Not so much.

rtr21rli.jpgThe task now seems to be either: a) recapturing the attention of 15,000 journalists busy Googling the difference between Doric and Ionic columns, or b) attacking McCain’s lack of global experience because his campaign is mixing up the Romans and Greeks.
Someone should have put a primer on Classical Architecture and History in the DNC convention guide.

The controversy of course is the unveiling of preparations for Obama’s speech at Denver’s massive football stadium, Invesco Field, which has been transformed into what the McCain campaign has called “The Temple of Obama.”

Ever the writer, Obama took hands-on role in preparing big speech

DENVER – Democrat Barack Obama spent long hours crafting the speech in which he will make history by formally accepting his party’s presidential nomination.

The White House contender looked to past nominee acceptance speeches for ideas, including those of Bill Clinton in 1992, Ronald Reagan in 1980 and John F. Kennedy in 1960, according to Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod.

speak.jpgObama worked largely by himself on the first draft, writing it out long-hand on legal pads and then typing it into a computer for review by his top aides.

Be careful when talking age with old Joe about young Barack

biden3.jpg DENVER — Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden, 65, admits he’s getting a little touchy about the fact that he’s so much older than running mate Barack Obama , 47.

“If I hear one more time he was 11 years old when I went to the Senate, I’m going to smack somebody,” Biden joked, drawing laughter and applause at a breakfast meeting with convention delegates from Biden’s native state of Pennsylvania.

A smiling Biden, first elected to the Senate 35 years ago, noted there are just four senators in the 100-member chamber with more senority than him.

Inside the Tent: Pedicab confessions

Pedicab driver Laura Caldwell shares her stories from the Democratic National Convention: Military helicopters, armored golf carts, and teenage anarchists with the utmost respect for traffic laws. This video was shot by fellow pedicab operator Teri Robnett, a contributor to Reuters Inside the Tent.

Inside the Tent has more than 40 delegates and other attendees in Denver and St. Paul, equipped with video cameras to capture the conventions from the ground up. Robnett is not a Reuters employee and any opinions expressed are her own.

Click here for a full list of contributors at the Democratic National Convention. We’ll be moving to St. Paul for the Republican National Convention next week.

Inside the Tent: Does life imitate the West Wing?

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark talks to Laurence O’Donnell, a political pundit as well as producer and writer on “The West Wing,” about how the nominating conventions can only be truly appreciated by watching them on TV.

Newmark is a contributor to Inside the Tent, which has more than 40 delegates and other attendees in Denver and St. Paul, equipped with video cameras to capture the conventions from the ground up. He is not a Reuters employee and any opinions expressed are his own.

Click here for a full list of contributors at the Democratic National Convention. We’ll be moving to St. Paul for the Republican National Convention next week.