• E-mail Rick!
Sept. 1, 2004 9:14 a.m.
Apparently, Democrats generate heat and Republicans are really cool. Our live shot position at the FleetCenter in Boston, home to the DNC in July, was always warm and often sweltering, especially at night when the arena was full. With the lights on, it wasn’t a skybox, it was a sweatbox. Here at Madison Square Garden, it’s just the opposite. If our upper-level suite was any colder, we could store ice cream here and it wouldn’t melt. Not that I’m complaining. Aside from not sweating, the cold helps keep us awake. We start our shift every morning around 3 a.m.
It’s very quiet here in the wee hours…and, unfortunately, not very exciting. I love the hoopla of big events and love covering campaigns and conventions, but with no morning session, we’re missing the big speeches and energy on the floor. There are advantages, though. It’s easier to get through the security checkpoints because the lines are short or nonexistent, and we often see the big name speakers in the building making appearances on the network morning shows. I spoke to Rudy Giuliani yesterday, said "Hi" to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg today, and had a quick chat with Lynne Cheney, who was doing an interview for "FOX & Friends" in the booth next door. She told me she always gets a little nervous when she speaks to big crowds, but is excited about introducing her husband to the convention tonight. I also saw another Lynn yesterday — Lynn Swann, former all-pro wide receiver with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was on the floor doing the rounds, including a spot on "Studio B." He doesn’t have an official role here, as far as I know, but is a big Republican and a nice guy.
Freedom of speech is an amazing thing, and I’m glad there are people who care enough about the issues to shout about it in the streets. But credibility is important, and it’s hard to take anyone seriously when they wear pig masks, try to cross police lines or assault officers. There were 970 arrests last night, including the guy suspected of punching and kicking a plainclothes police detective during a protest a few blocks from Madison Square Garden. Most of the demonstrators are peaceful, not using their passion for a cause as an excuse to break the law, but some in the crowd are troublemakers, plain and simple. Guys (and some girls) who arm themselves with smoke bombs, ball bearings, and other tools of disruption are looking and hoping for confrontations with police. I’ve been in the streets with these people before, in Miami, Quebec City, and elsewhere, and have always been impressed with how much restraint the cops have. I don’t know if I could be as patient and understanding when people are screaming in my face and throwing things to hurt me and my colleagues. Once at a near-riot outside a WTO meeting, I watched a guy pick up a brick-sized paving stone and hurl it at riot police who let it bounce off a shield and didn’t fire back. It hasn’t gotten that ugly here yet, and I hope it doesn’t.
Love your work BTW. I met Bo at a Dole rally a few years back. In short, she is phenomenal. Make sure you do. Good luck.
Rick: You never fail to interest and entertain me. You are truly the finest reporter in the nation. I loved watching you during the War with the Marines and I love reading your blog about the convention. Stay the course.
Hello fellow rambler. I myself can relate since I too am known to ramble. Well looking forward to seeing you reporting throughout the week at the RNC on "Studio B" with your buddy Shep.
My wife and I want to thank you for your magnificent reporting on the road to Bagdad. You are a great example of a warrior and newsman! Keep safe!! Two fans.