Convention diary, part 3: Mitt is it | AspenTimes.com

Convention diary, part 3: Mitt is it

Frieda Wallison
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

TAMPA, Fla. – It’s official! The 2012 Republican National Convention just nominated Mitt Romney for president of the United States and Paul Ryan for vice president. The roll call of the states was completed with Romney receiving 2,061 votes. He needed 1,144 votes for the nomination, and New Jersey put him over the top. Ryan was nominated by acclamation.

(To “acclaim” is also to use the voice in an expression of goodwill or to approve. “Nomination by acclamation” is an oral vote by which, instead of proclaiming their vote by traditional ballot or raised hands, people indicate their approval by making noise.)

Although there was no question about the outcome, the sense of anticipation built as each state announced its vote. The media flash mob raced from state to state recording the often-flowery statements that preceded the announcement of the vote of each state. Our Colorado party chairman, Ryan Call, announced Colorado’s vote – 28 for Romney and eight abstentions – after making a strong case for Colorado’s natural attractions. The state party chairman was assisted by 21-year-old Luke Kirk, of Durango, one of the youngest delegates at the convention. I was standing directly behind both as Colorado’s vote was announced, and it was truly a great honor to be there.

The biggest ovation during the roll call of the states was for Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, who announced that state’s vote. It’s clear that Walker, the keynote speaker at the Pitkin County Republicans Lincoln Day dinner in July, is a favorite of the convention delegates.

Following the roll call, the entire convention erupted in a big demonstration in support of the results, and I joined in, dancing in the aisle with my Mitt sign to a rousing beat from the “Saturday Night Live” band. The Colorado delegation has a prime spot on the floor, just to the left of the podium (right if you watch on television) and near the band. We get the full impact of the terrific music.

You can’t miss the Colorado delegation on television: We’re arrayed in red Western shirts and straw cowboy hats. Today, we’ll be wearing white shirts – makes the wardrobe selection easy.

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The scene in the convention hall, the Tampa Bay Times Forum, conveys all the glitz and excitement involved in national conventions. There are more than 4,000 delegates, an almost equal number of alternates and many guests, all seemingly outnumbered by media people toting cameras and buttonholing delegates for interviews. Red, white and blue neon signs and strobe lights illuminate the hall, giant television screens project the action, and a huge debt clock ticks away.

The convention opened with the traditional formalities. Following the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, of New York, gave the opening prayer. A number of short speeches from candidates running for Congress and Senate followed. After adoption of several committee reports, nominating speeches for Romney began, and the roll call of states for the nomination quickly followed. All of this took place before the afternoon news on television.

A highlight of this evening’s agenda will be speeches from Ann Romney, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, of Pennsylvania. We’ll probably be here late into the evening, and then, if we’re not completely exhausted, there’s a concert by Trace Adkins to attend. The buses will take us back to our delegation hotel at 1 a.m.

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