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Convention Beat: August 11, 2008 Archive

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Buddy: can you spare 100 million dimes?

Posted at 10:29 AM on August 11, 2008 by Tim Nelson (0 Comments)

It turns out that the Minneapolis-St. Paul Host Committee's assurances that the money for the Republican National Convention wasn't a problem were a little more complicated than first blush.

The Los Angeles Times' Tom Hamburger said the organizers found themselves $10 million short last month, but were rescued by Robert Wood "Woody" Johnson IV and friends. Johnson is an heir to the Johnson and Johnson fortune.

It also quotes convention official Jeff Larson, a principal at a FLS Connect, a major Republican fundraising and telemarketing operation, based in Oakdale. He's been better known more recently as Norm Coleman's landlord: it's Larson's basement Coleman rents on the cheap in D.C.

Hamburger, for those of you keeping track at home, has a connection to the RNC of his own. He was the former Washington Bureau chief for the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune.

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You may already be an RNC winner

Posted at 1:11 PM on August 11, 2008 by Tim Nelson (1 Comments)

There no small amount of debate about just how big the Republican National Convention is going to be -- particularly the public reaction outside the Xcel Energy Center.

One sign that it might not loom as large come September first: permits for the "Open Forum Stage," as St. Paul's Showmobile trailer is colloquially known, aren't even half full. (That's the catalog picture from the Wenger corporation, which makes the trailer, at left.)

Last month, the city announced a lottery for a series of 50-minute periods on stage at the corner of 6th and 7th Streets in downtown St. Paul, facing the Xcel Energey Center.

There are 48 slots available (presumably leaving 10 minutes of every hour for stage manager Matt Reinartz to give the place the once-over for the next guest). As of about 15 minutes ago, there were only 20 applications.

It shouldn't be too much of a surprise. Assistant Police Chief Matt Bostrom said a few weeks ago that a similar arrangement for George W. Bush's speech to the United Nations drew just a couple dozen people in New York City.

That leaves 1,400 minutes of fame still for the taking. You can get the information to get in, just a few feet above the ground floor, right here. Applications are due by 3 p.m. today.

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The Dwayne Hall Experience

Posted at 4:16 PM on August 11, 2008 by Tim Nelson (5 Comments)

hall.dwayne.jpgDwayne Hall is an accountant from Texarkana, Arkansas. You've likely never heard of him, but you're going to get the chance to hear a lot from him next month.

He's one of 36 people who applied for the 48 spots on the Open Forum Stage sitting in front of the Xcel Energy Center during the Republican National Convention. He'll have the stage to himself for 50 minutes.

"That's it. Man, I thought I was going to get like 5 or 10 minutes, you know," he said, after hearing he'd made the cut to speak at -- though not inside -- the 2008 Republican National Convention. "Fifty is a long time to fill, but I am a friend of Zig Ziglar's, and a graduate of Toastmasters. I've been waiting on this my whole life."

Hall said that he's planning to use his first, second and third 15 minutes of fame talking about the Constitution, the wars on drugs and in the Middle East and his own personal support for the erstwhile presidential campaign of Ron Paul.

"Of course, you know, he suspended his campaign, and I understand that. But we've still got something to say," Hall told me. "Seriously. I think our country is going in the wrong direction, and we're going to go broke trying to run the world and become an empire. We need to become an example to other people. And when you hear that vote that's 434 to 1 up there in Congress, you need to look into it. Last week there was one like that, a China resolution. Dr. Paul was the only one that was against it. He said that, since we've got Guantanamo Bay open, we're creating human rights abuses and we shouldn't be griping at China for doing the same thing."

Others, like Connie Weiland, a single mom from Maplweood, who lost her job at a downtown St. Paul deli, want to talk about her personal experience. She's part of a group called "Low Income Fellows Together" hoping to highlight the concerns of the low income outside the convention.

Some other usual suspects, like Planned Parenthood and Pro Life Action Ministries are also on the bill so far. Watch this space for further developements.

Here's the a PDF of all the applicants and their information so far.

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