Tales from the Trail

Inside the Tent: South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford feels pretty good about John McCain‘s chances in his state.

“If we gotta worry about South Carolina, go ahead and fold up the tent — the whole match is over,” he tells Inside the Tent contributor John Steward. “No worries in South Carolina, and if they come, we got real problems.”

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. Steward is not a Reuters employee and any opinions expressed are his own.

Click here for a full list of contributors at the Republican National Convention.

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Inside the Tent: Ron Silver talks about terrorism

Director and actor Ron Silver talks about his support for the Bush administration’s response to the attacks of Sept. 11 in New York and Washington and why the issue of terrorism remains important to him now. This video was shot by Inside the Tent contributor John Steward.

Reuters Inside the Tent equipped more than 40 delegates and other attendees in St. Paul and the Democratic National Convention last week in Denver with video cameras to capture the conventions from the ground up. Steward is not an employee of Reuters, and any views expressed are his own.

Click here for a full list of contributors.

Click here for more Inside the Tent blogs.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 election coverage.

These little piggies went to St. Paul

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By Lea Radick and Ashley Sears

ST. PAUL – Take a walk through downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, while the Republican National Convention is in town and you can expect to see roving bands of policemen with riot gear, keeping the peace.

What you might not expect to see is a dozen or so police posing with two fuzzy pink pigs.

The police and the pork were all smiles for a camera-wielding crowd Wednesday morning – the third day of the GOP convention – after one of the passing cops suggested they pose with the pigs for a photo.

Inside the Tent: Reactions to Sarah Palin’s speech

Sarah Palin touted her small-town roots and lashed out at Democrat Barack Obama during a highly anticipated speech to the Republican convention on Wednesday, ridiculing her critics as out-of-touch elitists who do not understand everyday life in America.

Here are some reactions from inside the convention center in St. Paul:

Liz Tait and Molly White, Texas

“Soccer moms are gonna put her in the White House!”

Bob McAfee, Pennsylvania

“She’s a winner and we need a winner.”

Anne Conrad, Tennessee

“She’s a woman who has dealt with real issues in her family, her state, and her job, and she’s addressed them with strength, out of courage, and really following her convictions.”

Tony Manheim, New York

“I thought she gave a great speech and I’m rethinking my initial reactions.”

Inside the Tent: Ralph Reed

Republican strategist Ralph Reed talks about what John McCain can do to get out the vote among social conservatives — starting with his pick of Sarah Palin as the vice presidential nominee. This video was shot by Inside the Tent contributor John Steward.

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. Steward is not a Reuters employee and any opinions expressed are his own.

Click here for a full list of contributors at the Republican National Convention.

Which way to the convention?

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.

Inside the Tent: Rally for the Republic

Former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul drew thousands of supporters to his “Rally for the Republic” event this week in Minneapolis,  across the river from the mainstream Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Jennifer Riley from North Dakota, who attended the rally and the Republican convention, talks about the differences between the two gatherings, and the emerging struggle between the “classic conservatives” and “neo-conservatives.” This video was shot by Inside the Tent contributor Ginny Saville, who is a Ron Paul supporter.

Reuters Inside the Tent equipped more than 40 delegates and other attendees in St. Paul and the Democratic National Convention last week in Denver with video cameras to capture the conventions from the ground up. Saville is not an employee of Reuters, and any views expressed are her own.

Pepper spray again perfumes St. Paul streets

The invigorating scent of pepper spray perfumed downtown St. Paul again on Tuesday.

Police used percussion grenades, tear gas and pepper spray to push protesters out of downtown at the end of an otherwise peaceful march for poor people that drew more than 1,000 participants.protest.jpg

The event largely avoided the chaos that engulfed the area on Monday, when bands of black-clad anarchists smashed store windows and threw rocks and bottles at police.

Faith on full display at Republican convention

ST. PAUL – Faith was on full display at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night with prayers from a pastor and tunes belted out by a Christian pop star.

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Miles McPherson, a senior pastor of The Rock Church in San Diego and former professional football player, evoked patriotism and faith while leading the convention in prayer:

Thank-you God for always being there for us. And thank you for making America the greatest country in the world. We pray these things in Jesus’ name,” he said to warm cheers from the crowd.

Police, protesters clash near convention

ST. PAUL – Police in riot gear used pepper spray and smoke bombs against a few hundred violent protesters on Monday, and at least a dozen were arrested outside the arena where the Republican party opened its presidential convention.

In the video above, a police officer lobs a smoke bomb in the direction of the camera.

Officers on horseback, motorcycles and bicycles chased down a group of rock- and bottle-throwing protesters that had broken off from a larger, largely peaceful, march by as many as 10,000 people. The smaller group smashed police car windows and a Macy’s storefront, and a few threw glass bottles at police.