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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

RNC officially underway, final preparations for Tuesday



On stage, a main in street clothes practiced his rendition of "Proud to be an American," clearly holding back on the high notes like a seasoned musician who knows its not yet showtime. Minutes later, the lady with the soft, but authoritative voice came on the public address system and ordered everyone off the Tampa Bay Times Forum's main floor. The carpet needed to be cleaned, she said.

This is the scene the afternoon before the Republican National Convention is scheduled to get underway. Workers are sweeping the floor. Audio technicians are checking sound levels, counting into the microphone in English and French. Producers are showing RNC officials around the main stage, a high wooden platform.

Earlier today, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus officially opening the convention during a brief session that lasted no longer than 10 minutes. There were relatively few attendees who ventured inside the security perimeter today to participate, compared to the capacity crowd expected Tuesday.

The RNC played a brief video, narrated by Mitt Romney, that highlighted his campaign and was heavy on the patriotism. "We love America, we believe in America," he said. "I'm Mitt Romney, I believe in America, and I'm running for president of the United States."

The audience clapped along with the applause sound effects inserted into the video.

Read more about the opening session here.

[Last modified: Monday, August 27, 2012 3:56pm]


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