The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions

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The Rockefeller Center is happy to bring you first-hand coverage from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions this year by Ester Cross '15.

The first day of the GOP convention passed largely without incident in Tampa, FL as Hurricane Isaac missed the city and all major convention events were rescheduled to Tuesday.

At a morning press conference, Russ Schriefer, strategist for the Romney campaign, unveiled plans for the first day of the convention, discussed Hurricane Isaac and insinuated that a Donald Trump appearance at the convention may yet be possible. For more information, see my coverage of the press conference on the Talk Radio News website.

Later in the day, I went in search of GOP protestors who called themselves the 99 percenters. I met the Wisconsin delegation of the 99 percenters fortuitously outside my hotel room in Ybor City and began to track them as they were joined by protestors from around the country to demonstrate against Mitt Romney and the GOP party platform. Nearly 150 demonstrators protested at the headquarters of Bloomin’ Brands, a portfolio company of Bain Capital, against the company’s labor laws and issues of wealth disparity. See more photos here, my coverage of the event for Talk Radio News, and even a video from the protest itself.

The most surprising event of the day for me was seeing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of my native Los Angeles being interviewed in the Tampa Bay Convention Center. Villaraigosa spoke about his fiscal accomplishments in Los Angeles and expressed his support for “America first” policies that transcend party lines. What struck me most about his appearance at the RNC was the fact that it represented an offensive tactic on the part of the Obama campaign to keep Democratic leaders in the spotlight even while Romney and the Republicans dominate the news cycle this week.

Los Angeles City Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaking to press in the Tampa Bay Convention Center where the media is housed. Villraigosa is the chairman of the Democratic National Convention.

As the convention gears up on Tuesday, Romney and running mate Paul Ryan will receive their party’s nomination.

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences