KEYSTONE PACHYDERM: Pennsylvania Delegation, RNC, Chicago, 1912
THE CAUCUS: It took resources, coordination and lots of volunteers, but the McCain campaign managed to push back the dreaded split-screen between St. Paul and Hurricane Gustav and save the Republican convention from a flood of bad Katrina memories.
Organizers turned the political event into a pageant of penance and patriotic redemption, a chance to don sackcloth and ashes and get the disaster relief effort right this time. Viewers did not see Republican fat cats in limos or delegates in funny hats knocking back shots. In a convention hall so solemnly lighted it looked like a state funeral, the event became a fervent, flag-waving Hurricane Gustav fund-raiser led by Laura Bush and Cindy McCain. (One that, unfortunately, conflicted with the final hour of the annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.)
The storm even provided shelter for John McCain’s presumptive running mate: the McCain campaign released the news that Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, was pregnant just as television reporters in brightly colored slickers were swaying under lashing Louisiana rain and wind, shouting to be heard. For most of the day, the news about the Palins’ unwed pregnant teenager ran as a brief crawl beneath the latest hurricane images: swollen levees and toppled stop signs. MORE