Wanted to make sure to write and tell you what a rush it is to be on the convention floor in Tampa. Reporters can check out "floor passes" for up to an hour and a half at a time, and I've gotten as close as 25 feet from the main stage for several speeches. From that vantage point, it's amazing what you notice -- for instance, I realized during Ann Romney's speech that some of the Secret Service members who were with her during Illinois' March primary are still on the same job.
The Illinois delegation is about 50 to 75 feet from the right side of the podium, surrounded by delegates from New Jersey, Idaho and Wisconsin -- some of whom wear cheesehead hats.
Thrilling as the convention itself is, the busing situation has been a bit of a headache.
After the convention lets out late at night, delegates, reporters and others are shuttled to a stadium to traipse through a maze of buses looking for the one to the right hotel, which for Illinois delegates is another 45-minute ride away. On the bright side, it brings lots of opportunity for conversation. Found myself talking with a Montana delegate last night about congressional campaigns in his state -- with just one congressman, a district campaign is inevitably a statewide race! Illinois has 18 congressional districts, with those in the suburbs each covering just a handful of townships.
Off to file stories -- more tomorrow.