Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Politics, Protests and Tourism Mingle at Convention

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Politics, Protests and Tourism Mingle at Convention

Article excerpt

CLEVELAND * National political conventions, it turns out, are part politics, part tourism.

We've spent the past 24 hours exploring northeastern Ohio in several outings. Tuesday morning, we took a scenic train ride along the Cuyahoga River. Tuesday night it was a dinner cruise in the harbor around Cleveland. Wednesday morning, we took a chartered bus trip to Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

For rank-and-file delegates, the convention has already developed a kind of rhythm: state business over breakfast, the national gathering at night, and stretching our legs and getting to know the place in between.

At Tuesday's breakfast meeting, the delegation heard from Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and our own U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, R- Salem.

They talked about their experience at previous conventions useful for the 75 percent or so of us who have never been to one before and stressed the need for party unity, not just nationally, but at home. It was a strategy meeting with shades of a pep rally, as they reminded us that working hard for down-ticket Republicans in Missouri is going to be crucial in November.

As we traveled to the nightly meeting at the convention center Tuesday evening, we saw a different kind of rally.

A security issue stopped our bus about eight blocks from the Quicken Loans Arena, and we had to walk the rest of the way right past a knot of protesters. In truth, there was more media than protesters, along with police on horseback and other security, so there was little danger of violence as we walked by. …

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