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POLITICO Playbook: Scenes from Republican National Convention

Granite State 'guest' shortens his rnc to 0 days

Steve Duprey, the New Hampshire GOP committeeman, headed out of town before the Republican National Convention even began. Most delegations continued with their welcome events, despite the delay in the convention's start. But Duprey, who was in town all last week for rules committee meetings, used the lull as an excuse to skedaddle to sunny Manchester, leaving his passes to guests who didn't have them. New Hampshire was being punished, under party rules, for moving up its primary. So Duprey — who normally would have been a delegate, had been demoted to "honored guest." Duprey said one lesson of the compressed schedule is that in the future, the convention should be shorter, to start with. "You can do the business and the messaging in three days," he said. "Plan the first day as a party day."

COMING ATTRACTIONS: When Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus gavels in the convention at 2 p.m. today — a formality that will last less than five minutes, since the program has been postponed — he also will launch a second national-debt clock in the hall. This one will start at zero so that by the end of the convention, the party can show how much the debt has increased during the festivities.

THE GIANT, WHITE LETTERS on one wall of the Tampa Bay Times Forum spell "CHANGE" — a shameless appropriation of President Barack Obama's '08 theme. Viewed from one of the camera platforms across the hall, however, a Kentucky delegation sign blocks the hook in the "G," making it appear to spell "CHANCE."

GOOGLE will open a media lounge — dominated by Google red, yellow, blue and green — that includes a "cell-cierge" where you can drop off your phone to get charged and get coffee from Tampa's Buddy Brew, and perhaps the most useful swag ever — ponchos.

THE MICHIGAN DELEGATION hotel, Embassy Suites, is within sight of the convention hall, a small lesson in campaign politics. Mitt Romney is trying to turn his home state into a swing state, so delegates got red-carpet treatment. Four years ago in St. Paul, Minn., Wolverine State delegates were banished to the suburbs and had to take a 25-minute bus ride downtown. The state was being penalized by GOP officials by moving its primary earlier than party rules allowed.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE FOUR YEARS MAKE: Meghan McCain emails POLITICO's Ben White to say that she is in town but keeping a low profile — until she co-hosts a Lifetime Television party on Wednesday night.

SPOTTED:

• A rehearsal in the convention hall for a tribute to the late astronaut Neil Armstrong. The backdrop looks like the night sky, studded with photos of Armstrong throughout his life. It was fast work: His death was first reported Saturday afternoon.

• A newspaper drought at the Romney staff's headquarters hotel, Tampa Marriott Waterside. On Saturday, guests had a wide choice of papers, including the New York Post. On Sunday, with the security perimeter in place, only the Tampa Bay Times managed to deliver to the hotel.

• Stray copies of Romney's book, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, lying around the lobbies of the hotels housing top GOP donors, after the books were given as gifts.

FLASHBACK: The "Talk of the Town" column, in the issue of the New Yorker out tomorrow: "After the 1992 convention, the columnist Molly Ivins wrote that Pat Buchanan's speech 'probably sounded better in the original German.' "

POLITICO's Jonathan Martin, Jake Sherman and Kathryn A. Wolfe contributed.

POLITICO Playbook: Scenes from Republican National Convention 08/26/12 [Last modified: Sunday, August 26, 2012 11:55pm]
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