If you've been keeping up with our political posts and videos here on The Stir over the last two weeks, you know that things have been a little crazy around here!
Our Moms Matter crew went to the Republican and Democratic conventions, where we interviewed legislators, cabinet members, celebrities, delegates, and everyday moms. We also held mom panels at each convention, both of which were televised on HLN. And we wrote about it (and will be writing more this week) here on The Stir.
The conventions officially launched the election season for millions of Americans, so we decided to ask our political bloggers this week which convention was best and why. And while I can already guess each of our bloggers' answers, I'm sure their posts will lead to plenty of interesting (and hopefully civil) discussion.
In the meantime, though, which convention was your favorite? Let us know in the comments of this post!
From my perspective, each convention had its merits and drawbacks.
The Republican convention had an insider-y feel from start to finish. The perimeter of the convention was heavily guarded by armed troops and, as a result, downtown Tampa was deserted except for delegates, politicians, "honored guests," and media. The lack of diversity in this group was palpable -- yes, I am a middle class white person, but on a personal level, by the end of the week, I was sick and tired of being surrounded by middle class white people. That's something I had never thought much about before GOP convention week!
On the upside, as a reporter, the ease of getting from location to location was wonderful. The fact that the only people there were people with official convention business made coverage a breeze. HLN graciously shared its camera platform with us on the floor of the convention, so we had an incredible view of the speeches. And it was truly amazing to see some of these speeches in person. Ann Romney was charming and came across as someone you'd want to know, Clint Eastwood was entertaining and bizarre, and Mitt Romney gave, I thought, the best speech of his candidacy. And the balloon/confetti drop was one of the coolest things I've ever seen in my life.
The Democratic convention was a totally different experience. It opened with a family-friendly festival that set the tone for the entire week. The public was a big part of this convention -- all week long, thousands of people milled around outside the arena and convention center, from families to protesters to street vendors to curious onlookers. The diversity of the crowd was markedly different from the crowd at the GOP convention. But while I loved the inclusiveness, it made for a much more disorganized and crowded convention. It was very difficult to get from place to place and the arena was so crowded that at times, I worried for my safety. On the night of President Obama's speech, the arena was actually locked down because of overcrowding, and our photographers very nearly missed the president's speech! Good times, people. Good times.
Once again, the speeches themselves were stellar. Michelle Obama gave, I thought, the best speech of both conventions. Gabby Giffords made me cry when she gave the pledge of allegiance. John Kerry was a surprise hit. President Obama's speech, though solid, was not his best. I've seen him speak three times now this year, and I have to say, I think his speech at a campaign stop in Jacksonville was far more passionate and charismatic than his convention speech. Check out our coverage of the Jacksonville speech here and see for yourself.
That's my take on both conventions and I'm eager to read what our political bloggers have to say about them. In the meantime, what are your thoughts?