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.
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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.