Las Vegas Sun

December 18, 2014

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A lot different than Denver

(A team of Sun reporters is at the Republican National Convention this week in St. Paul.)

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A few closing thoughts as the evening here begins to close:

The convention clearly came alive tonight after the slow start this week, showing the Republicans still know how to party.

But this was hardly the show that the nation saw in Denver. Republicans employed much more modest stagecraft – for example, no synchronized sign waving the Democrats used to great effect, swapping out placards specially made for each speaker (“Hillary” and “Michelle”). Instead, the crowd here waved a hodge-podge of slogans (“Prosperity,” “Service,”) alongside dozens of homemade-looking (but maybe still official) signs (“Hockey Moms 4 Palin.”) It gave a more folksy, populist feel, if not what you expect from a party known for such messaging discipline.

On the other hand, the spontaneous “drill, baby, drill” chants from the crowd showed that messaging still works. Republicans have been pushing for more oil drilling all summer, and the party base is on point.

At least two protesters appeared to be hauled from arena after getting surprisingly close to the stage. Code Pink, it seemed to be, judging by the hot pink.

Nevada state Republican Party chairman Sue Lowden, in casting the state’s 34 votes during to nominate McCain, made a point of burying the controversy with the Ron Paul supporters that have dogged the delegation. She told the floor: “It’s a unanimous vote.”

Lastly, Sen. Harry Reid isn’t about to back away from a fight, even with the VP pick. This response comes from Reid’s spokesman Jim Manley after Sarah Palin attacked the senator in her speech tonight:

“Anyone who knows Senator Reid knows he never backs down when he's fighting for what's right and that he always stands up to John McCain when he is wrong,” Reid’s spokesman said.

“Shrill and sarcastic political attacks may fire up the Republican base, but they don't change the fact that a McCain-Palin administration would mean four more years of failed bush-Cheney policies."

We’ll be back tomorrow for the big night, wondering — will it draw just as big of a crowd?

Until then, be sure to check out our stories and photos from the convention in Thursday's Sun.

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