Inside the Big Tent Monday the theme was differing measures of success — the police and protesters see the demonstrations a little differently.
Protesters blame bad weather, police for poor turnout
The Times' report on Monday's surprisingly meager Coalition to March on the RNC:
About 5,000 demonstrators were expected.
But by midmorning, as Tampa felt some minor effects from Tropical Storm Isaac, the number of protesters out at Perry Harvey Sr. Park didn't reach 500. There were as many journalists as there were protesters.
"We all know the weather has affected the turnout of this march," said organizer Mick Kelly. "We have a turnout that's a little bit lower — okay, a lot lower — than we were expecting."
The city's conclusion: "The March on the RNC ended successfully."
The weather was crummy. Fine. It's good there wasn't some massive, violent fracas, but how committed are people to the cause if something less than a tropical storm scared so many of them away? In some sense it's kind of disappointing.
"They've militarized Tampa. The chilling effect has succeeded," Cara Jennings, a voter outreach organizer from Palm Beach County, told the AP.
On my walk in the afternoon from the Times' office in Tampa down to the convention center, I did see a large number of officers. I don't think that was the issue.
My favorite fact of the day ... so far
Those music students from Tampa's Gaither High who helped blow up those 120,000 red, white and blue balloons that'll drop from the ceiling of the Tampa Bay Times Forum come Thursday night? They made 50 bucks each, from the balloon company, and now they're giving that money to the school's chorus department.
Top 5 best quotes in Florida's best paper
1. "Money is what makes politics," said Akshay "A.K." Desai, one of Florida's top GOP fundraisers and finance chairman of the state Republican Party. "We have to raise dollars to get our voice out to the public, and, essentially, you get the message out by having the finances to be able to have advertisements on TV."
2. Charlie Crist: "I haven't changed. The Republican Party has changed."
3. "The real significant debate that is going on today is not between the Democrats and the Republicans," said Craig Westover, 62, a Ron Paul delegate to the RNC from Minnesota. "It is about the debate going on within the Republican Party."
4. Donald Trump: "I hope that they're tough as hell and mean as hell and fight fire with fire."
5. "Stay informed of the facts," said Herman Cain. "Because stupid people are ruining America."
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Slate's John Dickerson on the furniture at the Times Forum:
"Everything on the stage has had the same applied black-walnut wood surface poured over it — the lectern, the stairs, and the desk, which looks like it needs a receptionist to welcome you for your weekend at the mountain lodge."