1. Florida Politics

RNC's private events feature big acts like Kid Rock, Journey, plus powerful politicians

Published Aug. 29, 2012

With the Republican National Convention in full swing, here's a little voyeuristic view into the lifestyles of the Republicans and their supporters who are in town for the Grand Old Party's convention.


1 OAK nightclub: Curtis Hixon Park has a pop-up nightclub that was built specially — and temporarily — for the RNC featuring private concerts, as well as cigar, Scotch and video game lounges.

Free yoga: The Huffington Post is offering yoga to delegates and media at the RNC "instead of grabbing a Red Bull and burgers between sessions." Look for the Oasis, a serene scene set up Monday through Thursday among the Channelside district chaos.

Watch the pundits: MSNBC has set up shop at Howl at the Moon, including the set of Chris Matthews' Hardball. They were urging folks to come on down with the offer of "free food." Many broadcast bigwigs will be in town, with Today anchor Matt Lauer, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams and semi retired anchor Tom Brokaw on NBC; Scott Pelley, Norah O'Donnell, Bob Schieffer and Charlie Rose here for CBS; and Diane Sawyer, George Stephanopoulos, Terry Moran and Jake Tapper on hand for ABC.

Big donors: Politico reports that the Romney campaign has designated two waterfront hotels, the Westin Tampa Harbour Island and the Vinoy Resort in downtown St. Petersburg — for its big donors (those who have committed to raising $250,000 or more). They will have briefings in VIP lounges during the day with Jeb Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Tim Pawlenty, Jeb Bush and other big names, and entertainment by the Oak Ridge Boys and Don Felder, lead guitarist of The Eagles.


Conversations with the Next Generation

Chelsea Clinton and George P. Bush are among the guests of this town hall event at the Improv in Ybor City, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Invite only.

Kid Rock

The lovable bad boy will be reeling and rocking at Liberty Plaza. The bad news? You're not getting in to this shindig without an invitation. But the Kid tends to be pretty loud so hang around as close as you can.

Sara Evans

One of the hottest shindigs of the week, co-sponsored by the Lifetime Network, Cindy McCain and daughter Meghan, has country singer Sara Evans as well as Sen. John McCain at the Glazer Children's Museum. This one has been a talker because originally Willie Nelson was slated to headline this big Got Your Six party at the RNC. Then Willie dropped out and Randy Travis was replacing him. Then that whole naked arrest thing happened to Travis so hip-hopper Wyclef Jean was brought in. Well on Friday 'Clef dropped out too. So you lose a rapper; gain a former presidential nominee. Not a bad swap! Got Your 6 is a nonpartisan organization that helps the military reintegrate into civilian life. For more information, go to

Mav Bash

Maverick PAC, the George P. Bush-founded group targeting conservative young professionals, had to cancel its Mav Baseball game with members of Congress at Steinbrenner Field. But at 10 that night there is a party featuring son-o-Jeb George P., Pam Bondi, Connie Mack IV, Jeff Atwater, Adam Putnam and Austin Scott of Georgia at the Florida Museum of Photographic Art in Tampa.

Huffington Post Jobs Panel

A panel moderated by Tom Brokaw will discuss bipartisan solutions to the jobs crisis with an invitation-only luncheon at Tampa's Cuban Club. Panelists will include Ohio Gov. John Kasich and conservative political commentator Laura Ingraham. The public can check out the job-creation exhibition set up afterward Wednesday at the Cuban Club to showcase social entrepreneurs, small businesses, and "innovative ideas that provide skills and training to create jobs," at 2010 N Avenida Republica De Cuba, Ybor City.

Home Runs for Happy Kids

At every RNC since 1996, the House and Senate Energy and Commerce committees has held a charity baseball bash where they and corporate sponsors get to mix and mingle. With the Rays out of town to play the Rangers, this private party at the Trop from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. will offer a chance to take batting practice, do some fielding and mingle with politicians from the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate's Commerce and Transportation and Energy and Natural Resources committees. Proceeds will benefit the Tampa Bay Rays Baseball Foundation, which supports community organizations that help children and families. Tickets for this party start at $2,500 ("The Sports Fan"), which comes with 10 general admission tickets but no batting practice, and top out at $50,000 ("The Grand Slam Package"), which includes top billing for the event, plus 50 tickets for batting practice as well as 100 general admission tickets.



The '80s balladeers have a VIP-only show that's expected to cap a week of entertainment at Liberty Plaza, a swank party zone proposed for the southeast corner of Whiting and Morgan streets, a few blocks from the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Zac Brown Band

The American Petroleum Industry hosts a Fueling the Future party with Zac Brown Band. The Grammy-winning country group, who sold out the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre in January, will perform at a cruise ship terminal at the Port of Tampa during an event organized by the American Petroleum Institute. The nonpartisan event is part of API's Vote4Energy campaign, designed to urge leaders to invest in alternatives to foreign oil, including natural gas, nuclear energy and biofuels.