RNC Day 1: The National Sideshow

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ST. PAUL -- The first day of this 2008 Republican National Convention will likely be remembered for what didn't happen.

With a whole day of whooping and hollering and celebrating all planned and ready to go, convention organizers have pulled the plug on all but the most formal items after the serious news from Hurricane Gustav literally threw water on all of that.

And yet, there's still a party underway... just a little less obvious. Delegates from California and across the nation were out in full force last night at dozens of private parties, many thrown by influential organizations and lobbyists. As someone who briefly sneaked in to an event featuring rocker Sammy Hagar, I can tell you it was still a big celebration... and a loud one, at that.

[Check back through the day to see what's popped up]

11:15 am -- California's delegation just wrapped up its breakfast gathering... a two hour breakfast event at the host hotel in the suburbs of Bloomington, Minn. And while the marching orders nationally are to ease up on the partisanship, one prominent Californian was having none of it: former Governor Pete Wilson.

"The audacity that Barack Obama is offering to us and our children," said Wilson, "is not new. "The audacity that he is offering us, quite frankly, is socialism."

Wilson went on to describe veep candidate (and Alaska Governor) Sarah Palin as someone who has "moxie." And state GOP chairman Ron Nehring went further, calling Palin "America's Margaret Thatcher."

The events now move to the Xcel Center for a brief afternoon schedule.

2:00 pm -- Curious as to what kinds of goodies get handed out to Californians arriving for the big event?

2:15 pm -- After a bus ride into downtown St. Paul with members of the California delegation... a bus ride where, I kid you not, the driver circled around lost for at least 15 minutes, we arrived to join the throng of GOP'ers descending on the Excel Center. Unfortunately, it appears my press credential is the wrong color. I've since learned that the journalistic caste I'm in qualifies me only for a rotating floor pass, i.e. one that's shared. So I'm now making my way back around this behemoth of a building to get in line with all the other little people.

Epilogue: Well, the day has come and gone. The official business of the convention was short, and the California delegation headed out to its evening soiree, albeit one redesigned to include raising money for hurricane victims.

Photos I've added from Day 1 can be seen by clicking on the icon below. More tomorrow...

KQED.Radio's '08 Republican National Convention photoset KQED.Radio's '08 Republican National Convention photoset

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About John Myers

John Myers is senior editor of KQED's new multimedia California Politics & Government Desk.  He has covered California politics for most of the past two decades -- serving previously as Sacramento bureau chief for KQED News and, most recently, as political editor for KXTV News10 (ABC) in Sacramento. He moderated the only gubernatorial debate of 2014, and was named one of the nation's top statehouse reporters by The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @johnmyers.

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