Sunday, September 2, 2012

GOP Convention 2012!

*WARNING!*  You shouldn't scroll down and read this blog post IF:
1) you aren't a Republican
2) you don't like Red, White, and Blue
3) you like big government and want to raise taxes.  Boo!
4) you don't like to look at a LOT of photos and I mean, A LOT!
5) you don't like America!
6) you aren't a huge Mitt fan! or
7) you aren't voting for the Romney/Ryan ticket in November!
Just saying... I warned you!
I've never been a politically active person, but 6 years ago
 my friend, Pam Peterson and I started on a journey together, 
fundraising and campaigning for Mitt Romney,
 which led us to the GOP convention this past week.  
And what an incredible and unforgettable week it was!!
A picture taken of the host committee at a fundraiser in Sacramento
 that Pam chaired last time around when Romney ran for president in 2008!
And no, that is not a life size cutout of Mitt Romney! 
 Ha! Ha!  Kind of looks like it, right?!  
We arrived in Tampa on Saturday afternoon and quickly hurried over to join in on
 the first California delegation activity, a welcoming party "Beach Blanket Party" at our hotel.
It was a beautiful night, gorgeous setting on the beach, delicious food, 
and we met many of our fellow California delegates and friends.
 This is what we woke up to the next morning! 
Fortunately, church service was held in our hotel so we didn't have to go out in the storm.
Following church, we went to registered and ran into our dear friends
 from dental school days, Rob and Sherrie Bell. What fun it was to reconnect!
That night we attended the GOP Convention Welcome Event held at the Tropicana Field.
Greeting us at the door were these friendly lady buccaneers...
and a performer from Cirque du Soliel.
The convention was in Tampa but our hotel was in St. Petersburg 
so we had to get a picture here.
There was lots of yummy food!
I had to get this photo for my pig loving Brooke,
and my roasted pig lover Mark!
There was some great entertainment!
And we made lots of new friends!
This cute young man is an intern working for the GOP campaign.
He and his friend came and sat at our table and we ended up talking to them all night.
As we got up to leave, he was so sweet and said,
 "I don't know what the rules are but can I get a picture with you two ladies!"
He was adorable and of course, we obliged!
One thing that I really enjoyed about traveling with Pam is that she enjoys taking pictures just as much as I do.
So when we got back to our hotel late that night and saw this podium at the landing of the stairs,
 obviously set up, ready for the festivities taking place the next morning,
Pam and I knew that we had to take advantage of this prop and stage a fun patriotic photo!
Meg Whitman, former CEO of HP, how ran for Governor of California,
spoke to the California delegation in our hotel lobby.
We also heard from Governor Chris Christie.  He was awesome!
I really love his no nonsense, no apology, say it like it is attitude! 
 It was so fun to hear him speak!
Because of hurricane Isaac, the first day of the convention was postponed.
So after the morning rally with Chris Christie and Meg Whitman, 
the rest of the day was kind of chill, hanging around the hotel.
The sun came out and it looked like we had weathered the storm
 so decided to go for a walk to the local CVS to grab some munchies and get some exercise.
Fortunately, we packed our umbrellas as we headed out the door.
We hadn't even gotten off the hotel property when the clouds rolled in,
the wind started to blow hard and it started raining cats and dogs.
But we were determined so we decided to brave the storm.
It was definitely an adventure and we survived our "walk in the rain" but our umbrellas did not!  
Luckily, that was the worst that we experienced of the storm
 and didn't need the umbrellas the rest of the week!
That night we went to a dinner for the California delegates at the hotel.
Here we are getting ready with our Romney/Ryan signs for the next day!
Early Tuesday morning, the California delegation breakfast was amazing!
We heard from Radio talk hosts Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt...
and Speaker of the House, John Boehner...
And finally, California Congressman Darrel Issa!
They all did an amazing job and were so entertaining!
Hurricane Isaac didn't create too much havoc in Tampa except it disrupted the convention schedule.
 They postponed the Monday evening session to Tuesday afternoon, 
which turned Tuesday into a long day at the convention center. 
We met in the hotel lobby around noon to catch our bus that would take us to the convention center.
We waited and waited and none of the busses came so they announced that the delegates, 
which Pam was, (I came as Pam's guest) had first priority on the buses
 because the delegates needed to be in their seats when they took the state roll call vote.
I really wanted to get the afternoon session because Congressman Jason Chaffettz, Brett's uncle, 
was scheduled to speak and I really wanted to hear him.
My friend, Danean Smith, overheard a group of ladies talking about getting a taxi together 
and the next thing I know we hopped into their van and off we went to the convention.
We fit 8 crazy ladies in a 7 seater van!
Our poor taxi driver quickly found that having that many women in one van was probably a really bad idea:)!
He was trying to get us as close to the convention center as possible
 so that we didn't have to walk too far in that humidity,
but a few of the passengers thought that they knew a better route
 or a faster way and weren't afraid to tell him.
At one point, he stopped the van and I thought he was going to kick us out!
I begged him not to because we were blocks from the convention center, 
and an afternoon thunderstorm was passing by and none of us had an umbrella!
We all agreed to let him be in charge 
and do his best to get us as close as he could and that is exactly what he did.
We arrived at our destination and met up with Pam and a group of California delegates on the first bus.
The rest of the California delegates were stuck back at the hotel, still waiting for a bus.
I was so glad that I hopped in that taxi van!
We were so happy to finally be at the convention center!
Once we past through security and made it inside, Pam found her seat on the floor...
and Danean and I got comfortable in our seats right above the California delegation.
We enjoyed the afternoon speeches, especially Jason's!
It was so fun to personally know someone that took the GOP convention stage!
He did such a great job and I was so proud of him!
The two of us were so enjoying the event, quite relaxed and comfy in our seats
 when things changed quickly, just before the evening session started,
 it was announced that they needed some of the alternate delegates 
on the floor for the roll call vote... NOW!  
Right then, my good friend, Richard Costigan, our district Whip, grabbed me
 and told me to join him because one of the our delegates didn't show
 and I was to take his place on the floor.
WHAT?!!  And just like that I was on the floor at the GOP Convention...
and I had no idea what I had just gotten myself into but I was excited!!
I made my way on the floor to my seat with all the other California delegates...
sitting next to Mr. Richard Costigan!  I really enjoyed spending the week with this guy!
You can see the little smirk on his face!   He's laughing at me because right at that moment...
 a bunch of the Ron Paul supporters from Texas start yelling, "Point of order!" over and over and over causing quite a ruckus and they were right next to me!!
and two rows behind us were another large group of Ron Paul delegates from Minnesota, 
(if you remember, Ron Paul won the state of Minnesota) who joined in.
The press came running over and stuck their cameras in our faces, 
trying to get photos of the Ron Paul supporters.
We spent the next while holding up "Go Mitt!" signs, trying to distract the media
 and show our support for Romney/Ryan. It got a little intense and crazy for awhile!
Time for the roll call to begin with American Samoa 
and I had to get a photo of  them casting their 9 votes for Mitt!
And here is former Gov. Pete Wilson casting all 172 votes for Mitt!
After the vote, I turned around and there was Michelle Bachmann
 sitting with the Minnesota delegation, just two rows behind me.  
She is so tiny and darling!
Those crazy Texans wore matching shirts and cowboy hats, Wrangler jeans and looked awesome!
Kinda made me want to move to Texas just so I could wear the shirt and cowboy hat!
Me and my new friend, former New Hampshire senator Pat, 
holding up our hand painted "We built it!" signs.
The Oakley boys entertained us.
So many people from the media and important political figures were roaming the aisles right next to us.
Here is Martha McCallum from FoxNews.  She is absolutely gorgeous!
Governor Pete Wilson
Carl Cameron from FoxNews.
Pam actually chatted with Carl and shared some personal stories about Mitt with him.
Former Governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour.
One of the best things about being on the floor was the view that the California delegation had of the VIP box 
where the Romney's and other VIPs sat during the convention.
They were only about 10 feet away from us!
I had a hard time concentrating on the speaker (and so did everyone else around me) 
because we just wanted to watch the family and VIPs.
Here is Tagg Romney and for Ambassador to the UN, Jon Bolton.
Republican candidate for Utah Congress and Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Mia Love
was the first speaker in the evening session.
She was awesome!  Click here to hear her whole speech.
Seriously loved Mia Love...
and her husband, who was sitting in the VIP box during her speech!!
He's the one standing up in the center of the photo.
Loved the Texans and the excitement and energy that they brought to the convention 
but mostly loved their awesome outfits!  
You know that "everything is bigger and better in Texas!"
The Oakley Boys entertained us that evening.
The Debt Clock on Tuesday night.
Finally it was time for the anticipated Ann Romney speech.
She looked absolutely gorgeous!
And I loved when she shook her finger!
Stunning.  Simply stunning!
Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite parts of her speech.

  "It's true -- it's true that Mitt's been successful at each
new challenge he has taken on.  You know what, it actually
amazes me to see his history of success being attacked.  Are
those really the values that made our country great?"
   We, the audience yelled, "No!"
   She continued, "As a mom of five boys, do we want to to raise our
children to be afraid of success?"
   The audience yelled, "No!"
   Ann asks, "Do we send our children out in the world with the
advice try to do OK?"
   The audience again yelled, "No!"
   Ann asks, "And let's be honest.  If the last four years had
been more successful, do we really think there would be this
attack on Mitt Romney's success?"
   Once again we yell, "No!"
   And then she says, "Of course not.  Mitt would be the first to tell
you that he is the most fortunate man in the world.  He had two
loving parents who gave him strong values and taught him the
value of work.  He had the chance to get the education his
father never had.  But, as his partner on this amazing journey,
I can tell you Mitt Romney was not handed success.  He built it."

The crowd went wild and the lady next to me says, 
"Wow!  She just won the election for us!"  It was awesome!
And then the two finger raising moment when she said this:

 "This is a man who will wake up every day with the
determination to solve the problems that others say cannot be
solved, to fix what others say is beyond repair, this is the man
who will work harder than anyone so that we can work a little
less hard.
   I can't tell you what will happen over the next four years.
But I can only stand here tonight as a wife and a mother and a
grandmother, an American, and make you this solemn commitment.
   This man will not fail!"


Again, the crowd went wild, cheering and shaking signs, and yelling, "We love Ann!"
Once she finished, Mitt came on stage and the crowd went crazy!
Mitt!  Mitt!  Mitt! Mitt!
His proud kids and Condi Rice were cheering along with the crowd.
I love this photo of Mary Romney looking at her husband, Craig, 
after the speech and beaming with pride!
Then it was Chris Christie turn to don the stage.
We all kind of felt bad for him because how can you follow an act like Ann!?
But he did a good job.  Although I think that I enjoyed him more the day before 
when he just spoke off the cuff at the California delegation breakfast.
During Chris Christie's speech, I noticed that people were turning around 
and sure enough, 
Mitt and Ann had joined the kids down at the box which was right behind us.
I snapped a couple of pictures and look at this one!!!
Does Mitt look presidential or what?!!!
I love the way the lighting turned out on this photo!
I didn't even photoshop it at all!  I think they were all just glowing after Ann's speech!
We had to get a photo by the California sign at the end of the evening.
What a night to remember!
Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would participate
 in the vote for Mitt Romney for our Republican nominee!
 Wednesday day afternoon, we attended a lunch out on the beach 
and ran into this patriotic gal, who was all dressed up for the convention.
I can't believe how patriotic and passionate she was, wearing long sleeves and red tights
and she had to be miserable because it was so hot and humid!
It was such a beautiful day and the beach was gorgeous!
Too bad we were way to busy and never made it out there to sunbathe.
Luckily we did have this nice lunch out there and enjoyed the view!
As I shared earlier, it was fun to be with our dear friends, the Bell's.
We met Rob and Sherrie when we moved to San Francisco for dental school.
They lived in our same building in married student housing and went to the same congregation at church.
Sherrie and I were both active members of the dental wives auxiliary club.
Mark and I watched their son, Robbie, when they went out of town one weekend.
Since we were too poor to buy a Christmas tree one year, 
Rob and Sherrie bought one for us and left it on our doorstep.
But we lived in different parts of the state and haven't seen each other in 19 years.
So it was wonderful to reconnect and it was as if no time had gone by!
It was really such an added bonus to be able to hang out with them all week.
Here is our fellow California delegate who had the most patriotic cowboy boots!
We had to get a picture with him and those boots!
 Then I found this cute Texan sporting this cute Texan outfit 
and insisted on getting a photo for my dear Texan friend, Mary Ann Osborn,
who had requested that I get a photo with one of the Texas delegates 
and a photo of me wearing a Texan cowboy hat!
Mary Ann, this Instagram is for you!!
Neil Cavuto from Fox News was reporting right next to us.
Just as the evenings festivities were about to begin,
this nice lady in the blue dress came and sat down right next to me.
We both looked at each other and were like, "Wow!  It's like red, white and blue!  We ought to take a picture!"
And her husband was like, "Give me your phone and I'll take it!"
Come to find out, he was (or maybe is) our good friend, Howard McKeon's, dad, Congressman Buck McKeon's, chief of staff.
Small world!
The Debt clock displayed at the convention!
 Pam and I in our seats on the floor during Ron Portman's speech.
Love the video of two of my favorite women, Barbara and Laura Bush.
Click here to see the video.
Chris Wallace was standing right next to us in the aisle giving a report
when he caught me snapping a photo of him!
Favorite quote from Tim Pawlenty's speech:


"There’s one other thing I want to leave you with tonight. It’s important for America to know that Mitt Romney is not only a great leader, he’s also a remarkable person. He’s smart, gracious and wise. And he has this infectious good cheer about him – something I appreciate and something America needs.
Mitt Romney never quits moving. When he sees a problem, he goes after it and finds the solution.
It’s that can-do spirit, combined with a lifetime of service and success that convinced me to support him. And it’s that can-do spirit that we need in the White House, leading America now."
And I just couldn't help myself, still creeping the Romney's on Wednesday night.
And Governor Wilson sat about three seats away from me 
so I snapped a photo of him chatting it up with a friend.
Favorite quote from Mike Huckabee's speech,

" I want to clear the air about something that has been said.
People wonder whether guys like me, an evangelical, would only support a fellow evangelical?
Let me say to you tonight, I care far less as to where Mitt Romney takes his family to church, 
than I do about where he takes this country."
I couldn't wait to hear from Condoleezza Rice and I wasn't dissapointed.
No teleprompter, just some notes and boy, did she deliver!!!
She spoke about how America needs to lead in the world and said,

"I know that it feels as if we have carried these burdens long
enough.  But we can only know that there is no choice, because
one of two things will happen if we don't lead. Either no one
will lead and there will be chaos, or someone will fill the
vacuum who does not share our values.
   My fellow Americans, we do not have a choice.  We cannot be
reluctant to lead and you cannot lead from behind."


The crowd loved it!
What an amazing lady!
Condi, talking about Romney and Ryan...

"Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan understand this reality.  Our
well- being at home and our leadership abroad are inextricably
linked.  They know what to do."

And then it was Paul Ryan's turn to speak.
My favorite quotes from is speech were:

"When Governor Romney asked me to join the ticket, I said, "Let's get this done" – and that is exactly, what we're going to do."
"Ladies and gentlemen, these past four years we have suffered no shortage of words in the White House. What's missing is leadership in the White House. And the story that Barack Obama does tell, forever shifting blame to the last administration, is getting old. The man assumed office almost four years ago – isn't it about time he assumed responsibility?"
I'm still creeping... and took this lovely photo of Ann and Janna during Paul Ryan's speech.
Isn't she precious?!  The way she is looking at her husband on stage,
so proud and happy, with tears in her eyes!  Seriously love this photo of her!
And the crowd loved when he said,

"We're a full generation apart, Governor Romney and I. And, in some ways, we're a little different. There are the songs on his iPod, which I've heard on the campaign bus and on many hotel elevators. He actually urged me to play some of these songs at campaign rallies. I said, I hope it's not a deal-breaker Mitt, but my playlist starts with AC/DC, and ends with Zeppelin.
A generation apart. That makes us different, but not in any of the things that matter. Mitt Romney and I both grew up in the heartland, and we know what places like Wisconsin and Michigan look like when times are good, when people are working, when families are doing more than just getting by. And we both know it can be that way again.
We've had very different careers – mine mainly in public service, his mostly in the private sector. He helped start businesses and turn around failing ones. By the way, being successful in business – that's a good thing."
Pam spied the Romney grandkids in the luxury box up above
 and snapped these precious photos!
Absolutely adorable!
Five time Olympic medalist, Kim Rhode, Olympic Speed skating champion, Derek Parra, 
and Michael Eruzione, captain of the 1980 hockey "Miracle on Ice" team,
 addressed the convention.  They each told of their personal stories about Mitt Romney
 and told why they believe that he is the right person to lead this country. 
It was powerful and so touching, especially Derek Parra! 
 He told how he was chosen to carry in the 9/11 flag at the Salt Lake Olympics
 and how he developed a friendship with Mitt 
and then lived with the Romney family after the Olympics.  What??!!
Craig Romney spoke in Spanish for the first half of his speech.
Craig's darling wife, Mary, and adorable son, listening to the speech.
It was so fun to watch their reaction!  Isn't Mary lovely?!!
We would watch and listen to the speeches 
and then I would hurry and turn and watch the Romney family reaction.
It was so much fun and we felt like we had the best seats in the house!
Jeb Bush spoke about improving education.
The Romney family greeting some friends.
Then the anticipated speech by Clint Eastwood.
Favorite quote from Clint... 

"There are a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans,Democrats, in Hollywood.  It is just that the conservativepeople by the nature of the word itself play closer to the vest.They do not go around hot dogging it."

I thought his speech was a little goofy but hey, that is Hollywood 
and he's Clint Eastwood so he gets a free pass as far as I'm concerned!
The Romney family liked Clint!
And then Marc Rubio introduced Mitt Romney and said, 

   "America is the story of everyday people who did
extraordinary things, a story woven deep into the fabric of our
society.  Their stories may never be famous, but in the lives
they lived, you will find the essence of America's greatness.
   And to make sure that America is still a place where
tomorrow is always better than yesterday, that is what our
politics should be about.  And that is what we are deciding in
this election.
   
   We decide, do we want our children to inherit our hopes and
dreams?  Or do we want to inherit our problems?  Because if Mitt
Romney believes, if we succeed in changing the direction of our
country, our children and grandchildren will be the most
prosperous generation ever, and their achievements will astonish
the world.
   
   The story of our time will be written by Americans who
haven't yet even been born.  Let us make sure the right that we
did our part. That, in the early years of this new century, we
lived in an uncertain time, but we did not allow fear to make us
abandon what made us special.
   We chose more government instead of more freedom.  We chose
the principles of our founding to solve the challenges of our
time.  We chose a special man to lead us In a special time.  We
chose Mitt Romney to lead our nation and, because we did, the
American miracle lived on for another generation to inherit.
  My fellow Republicans, my fellow Americans, I am proud to introduce to you, 
the next president of the United states of America, Mitt Romney."
 The moment that we had waited for, Mitt Romney had entered the room.  The place erupted!!!
He didn't come out on the stage but rather, he walked up and down the aisles,
shaking hands and greeting the delegates and dignitaries on the floor!
as he made his way to the stage.  It was effective and everyone loved it!
Especially his family!
 The place was packed, wall to wall people ready and anxious to hear him speak.
I loved when he described raising his five boys.  He said he and Ann would give anything 

"to break up just one more fight between the boys, or wake up in the morning and discover a pile of kids asleep in our room."
"I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed.  
The President hasn’t disappointed you because he wanted to." 

"You know there’s something wrong with the kind of job he’s done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him."
"President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet." Then, he pointedly contrasted that with his more down-to-Earth goal: "My promise...is to help you and your family."
The crowd loved it and I loved watching Ann and the family!
He looked so presidential and ready to take on Obama!
"What America needs is jobs. Lots of jobs."
And then it was time for the balloons to come down...
And here they come!!  Lots of balloons!
Lots and lots of balloons!!
Which I just found out that my friend, Cindy Kenney's cousin, Treb Heining was in charge of.
You can see a video about him and the GOP balloons if you click here.
And more balloons came down...
and then the big balloons came down...
and the Romney and Ryan families came out on the stage.
The little boys ran off the stage to grab the balloons and getting lost in all of them.
It was entertaining to watch their mothers chase after them,
going up and down the stairs, swatting the balloons away,
trying to find their child, picking them up and walking back up the stairs in their high heels, only to have the boys run after the balloons again!
They didn't seem to get too rattled by it all but it made us all giggle to watch the kids and realize that they are just like any other normal kids...
except that they are on national TV!
The balloons kept falling and I grabbed a photo of Pam...
and I tried to grab one of those large balloons.
More balloons dropped...
and more balloons...
they just kept coming...
and because we were packed in there on the floor,
there was no where for all the balloons to go...
The entire floor was covered with balloons!
We felt like we were being swallowed up by the balloons!

Pam finally grabbed my Mitt button which had a pin on it
and started popping the balloons like a crazy lady!!
And I'm glad that she did because I was kind of feeling a little claustophobic with all those balloons everywhere!
I love this photo of Pam, trying to knock away the balloons so that I could see her face and snap a photo!
The speeches were over, the balloons have dropped (and popped, thanks to Pam!)
We all joined in singing "America, the Beautiful!"
It was incredible!
And then all the state signs came down...
the party is OVER!
It was such an incredible week!
So proud to be an American!  So excited to wear red, white and blue!
So glad to be a part of the political process in some small way!
So grateful that Pam invited me to join her on this adventure!
And it's not over yet!  Go Mitt!  Romney/Ryan 2012!

1 comment :

katie m said...

Hi Mrs. Holt, it's Katie Mersereau! Glad you had a wonderful time! It looked like such fun! Mr. Costigan has worked with my dad for many years and now his son goes to Granite Bay HS!