Tales from the Trail

Game On: Republican convention ends, tell us your thoughts…

rtx8f6n.jpgThe Republican convention is over, a whirlwind event interrupted by a hurricane hitting the Gulf Coast and energized by the pick of a woman vice presidential candidate. And with it comes the home stretch of the (seemingly interminable) 2008 presidential election.

Did presidential hopeful John McCain finally win over the conservative base by picking the conservative Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his No. 2? Does he run the risk of alienating the independents drawn to him in the past with her selection? Did he lay out enough policy specifics to refute charges by rival Democratic candidate Barack Obama that details were lacking?

What else do voters want and need to hear now that the conventions are over?  Game on, bring on the debates!

(And yes, it’s OK to admit that you skipped the pre-game warmup to McCain to catch the NFL season opener between the Washington Redskins and New York Giants…) 

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- Photo credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

Inside the Tent: On the verge of violent protests

Sarah Miller of Eagan, Minnesota, a single mom and college student, talks about goals of protesters at the Republican National Convention, and the likelihood of further violence as the convention draws to a close.

After this video was filmed on Thursday afternoon, several hundred anti-war protestors had hoped to march to the convention hall to confront Republicans, but were blocked by police clad in riot gear on a bridge several blocks away.

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.

102 arrested in Minneapolis after rock show

A standoff between rock fans and police led to 102 arrests Wednesday night when fired-up concertgoers took to the streets after a Rage Against the Machine show.

Several hundred fans of the band, whose songs include “Take the Power Back,” and “Bullet in the Head,” marched through downtown Minneapolis after the band finished its set at the Target Center arena.

The show ended at roughly the same time as the third night of the Republican convention across the Mississippi River in St. Paul. Fans of the politically radical band mixed with exuberant Republicans headed to exclusive parties where they toasted vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s speech.

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.

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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.

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.


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.

Inside the Tent: Women voters on Sarah Palin

John McCain ‘s selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate was the latest twist in an election year that has had no shortage of surprises — especially after Palin announced in the midst of the Republican National Convention that her 17-year-old daughter was pregnant.

Inside the Tent talked to four women in St. Paul — a Democrat, an independent, and two Republicans — about Palin’s impact on the GOP ticket . What impact do you think Palin will have? Submit your answer in the comments section.

Sandra Ross: “Some of the Hillary supporters, they’re aren’t convinced yet, but they’re leaning toward her because they feel a woman should be in a strong leadership position.”