::I just read this (somebody shoot me)::
President planning NYC extravaganza
White House goal is unprecedented convention theater
“And now, direct from Ground Zero, heeeeeeere’s the president!”
Well, that’s not exactly how President Bush is likely to be introduced when he gives his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention on Sept. 2, but it might be something equally dramatic and theatrical.
According to sources privy to convention planners’ discussions, the 2004 GOP conclave at New York’s Madison Square Garden will be unlike any previous quadrennial gathering of either party. In fact, not all of the main events will be held at the Garden, sources involved in planning the Aug. 31-Sept. 2 convention said.
“The entire format and actual physical setup could be radically different,” one GOP insider commented. “They might not even have a podium, or maybe a rotating podium or even a stage that comes up from underground. It would be like a theater in the round, with off-site events that are part of the convention.”
The source, a veteran official of past GOP conventions, said the 50,000 delegates, dignitaries and guests would watch off-site events on giant TV screens. “Now, we’ll go to the deck of the USS Intrepid as the U.S. Marine Corps Band plays the National Anthem,” he said, pretending that he was playing the part of the convention chairman.
“Or, and this is a real possibility, we could see President Bush giving his acceptance speech at Ground Zero,” he added. “It’s clearly a venue they’re considering.”
Another GOP source said Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other Gotham officials pressed convention planners to come up with creative ideas to counter the negative publicity stemming from a proposal by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) to house delegates on a luxury cruise ship in New York Harbor.
DeLay’s proposal drew fire from many New Yorkers, including key Republicans, who felt it damaged the party’s image and would hurt the city’s hotel and restaurant industry.
A spokesperson for William Harris, the former Alabama GOP chairman who is chief executive of the convention, said yesterday that Harris didn’t want to discuss any details of the convention, including the possibility that some events would be held outside Madison Square Garden.
Harris told The New York Times Tuesday that he would like to hold some events in the city’s neighborhoods, “where his candidate could benefit by seeming to embrace the ethnic diversity that is New York.”
But with President Bush’s nomination assured, and little chance that Vice President Cheney will be replaced as his running mate, Karl Rove and the Republican National Committee are definitely looking for ways to generate some excitement to hold the attention of a worldwide TV audience and get the Bush-Cheney campaign off to a running start.