ST. PAUL -- And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
The Republican National Convention is back with a full schedule as muggy, wet weather sinks in on the Twin Cities. California delegates have a full day planned. In fact, I'm not sure I can keep up with them; there's a "Bloody Mary Brunch" this morning on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, and the day goes all the way until a soiree that runs until 2:00 a.m. Wow.
My day began early, tagging along with Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay and close confidant of Sen. John McCain. Whitman, as you might know, is the subject of an awful lot of buzz in California political circles; more on her coming up in tomorrow's reporting.
That Makes Two Against Taxes: The budget stalemate back in Sacramento may have kept some legislators and Governor Schwarzenegger away from the big party here in Minnesota, but it's certainly on the minds of the California Republicans who are here. And today, the only Republican holding statewide office other than the guv said he opposes Schwarzenegger's bid for a tax increase to help close the $15 billion budget gap.
Steve Poizner, the state's insurance commissioner and a man considering a 2010 gubernatorial race, said the sales tax increase put on the table by the current guv is a bad idea.
"I don't support a tax increase as part of the package," Poizner said in an interview this morning here at the delegation hotel. "It would depress the economy. Wrong move."
When pressed, Poizner expressed a view that sounds similar to those from legislative Republicans -- a solution that relies, in part, on more spending cuts and some kind of borrowing. "We simply can't impose new taxes on Californians right now." That being said, the insurance commissioner did endorse Schwarzenegger's intent to find a long-term solution to the state's budget woes.
You can hear his full comments below.
On Monday, former Governor Pete Wilson said essentially the same thing on the sales tax proposal. "I don't support it," he told reporters. "One of the starting points for [current lawmakers] might be to go back to what the spending was at the end of 98 and look at how it spiked way past growth in population and inflation. And then start to make some cuts."
Wilson's comments are below, beginning with my question on the governor's sales tax plan.
11:59 pm -- The convention day has ended, and so a few random tidbits to round out the day.
Palin Fan Strikes Back: Sentiment on the convention floor in favor of Gov. Sarah Palin is running strong, as evident by this delegate's self-made hat she wore Tuesday night (not a CA delegate). Most delegates I spoke to believe Palin's been getting a raw deal from the press, though some privately still worry that the veep vetting process was not all it could've been.
My Exclusive: Yes, I managed to snag some private time with the man from Arizona. Funny, though, I couldn't get him to comment on anything.
Sorry I Missed You. Love, Arnold: The state delegation and guests ended Tuesday night with a post-convention bash at the Nicollet Island Pavillion in Minneapolis. The party was festive with food and drink. And the conventioneers all were offered a gift on the way out, courtesy of the guv and the Motion Picture Association of America: free DVDs of various movies. Of course, there were the Schwarzenegger classics like Terminator 3, Twins, and Conan The Barbarian. There were also some newer flicks, like Transformers and Live Free or Die Hard. Some were even high definition DVDs... but with a hitch: they were "HD-DVD" format, which as you know, was phased out by Toshiba earlier this year. Rummage sale, anyone?
As always, more photos on our special KQED RNC Flickr page.