ST. PAUL -- Tonight, she'll finally speak for herself.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been virtually hidden during the first two days of the Republican National Convention. Unlike Sen. Joe Biden, the Democratic veep nominee who was often seen laughing and applauding while sitting in the audience in Denver, Palin has been invisible. That's obviously a reaction to the intense media spotlight that was switched on by revelations of her teenage daughter's pregnancy.
Delegates are angry. At Palin? Nope. At the media? Absolutely.
"The New York Times doing three front page stories on her children? " said Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River) shortly after Tuesday night's convention business. "I think [that's] beyond the pale. But I think the American people will react against that."
And he wasn't alone. That sentiment -- that reporters have pushed this story far beyond where it should be -- pulses through just about all of the die-hard Republicans inside the Xcel Center.
Palin gives her acceptance speech tonight. Also on tap: the formal nomination of both the Alaskan veep and Sen. John McCain as the GOP presidential nominee.
And some big speaking roles, too, for Californians. Most notable: former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, McCain's top economic advisor and someone at least a few California Republicans hope might make a bid for statewide office in the near future. Also scheduled to speak are Rosario Marin, former Treasurer of the U.S. and a top aide to Governor Schwarzenegger these days; and state Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria).
By the way, the three sitting GOP legislators picked to be California delegates have landed in the Twin Cities... facing lots of questions from reporters about their travel plans in light of the now record-setting state budget impasse. Those legislators: Sen. Dick Ackerman (R-Irvine), Assemblymember Bonnie Garcia (R-Cathedral City), and Assemblymember Van Tran (R-Garden Grove).
Ackerman's response: what budget?
"As soon as we have something to vote on, I'll be there," said Ackerman. "We're not going to be voting on [the GOP budget plan] until Friday or Monday." Ackerman, you may remember, was until recently the leader of Republicans in the state Senate... and perhaps feeling as though the budget is now in someone else's hands, decided to slip away for the convention fun.
Meantime, a little behind the scenes footage of life here at the Xcel Center...
Where are the protesters that are making news? Ummm, not close:
And as you see those signs all pop up in the audience tonight, keep in mind that it doesn't all just happen by accident:
11:59 pm: Well, it was quite the evening, with the conventioneers loving the red meat thrown to them from the podium by Gov. Sarah Palin. California delegates riding back to their hotel tonight especially like Palin's adlib about the difference between a "hockey mom" and a pit bull... the hockey mom wears lipstick. And they were riled up a different way about their feeling that the "liberal media" panned Palin's speech.
Meantime... a few photos:
Do you think he'd really need a Teleprompter if asked to speak from the podium?
GOP delegates arriving on Wednesday night found these little slips of paper on their seats giving them some pretty specific instructions. Too specific, perhaps? That last chant on the list is really hard to get right.
The big video wall behind Gov. Sarah Palin flashed all kinds of scenic American vistas as she spoke. But this one seemed especially interesting for us Californians. The Santa Monica Pier is a great place to be... but it's also a city solidly in the camp of Democrats. Couldn't they have picked Disneyland? At least it's in GOP friendly Anaheim.
And a photo not taken tonight... of actor Stephen Baldwin, one of the only celebrities spotted at GOPalooza. Baldwin was chowing down at one of the concession stands and charging his iPhone at the same time in an outlet next to a nearby women's restroom. I picked up the camera, but was intimidated by the large mobster-looking guy sitting next to Baldwin and giving me the evil eye.
As always, more photos on our KQED Flickr page.