Yesterday afternoon, I arrived in Tampa for the first day of the Republican National Convention. I made a quick stop at my hotel then headed downtown to the Tampa Convention Center. Outside, I saw groups of Ron Paul supporters waving “Ron Paul 2012” signs and handing out pamphlets that say they want to "restore the Constitution."
There is a lot of action on the streets. People sell "Mitt for President" buttons and pass out information on every block. The most noticeable thing is the security. I passed officers from the Sheriff’s Office, the National Guard and Secret Service along the way. It was a long walk from my drop-off point to the convention center, and when I finally got there I had to go through a security checkpoint, just like at the airport yesterday on my way to Florida.
There are so many colorful people here. If a person is not wearing a suit and tie, he’s dressed in something eye-catching like a shirt made to look like the Texas flag. Delegates from Wisconsin wear hats that look like giant wedges of cheese. Red, white and blue outfits are really popular. Many people wear buttons supporting Mitt Romney. I saw one button that said "Republicans Rock!"
On the first full day of the convention, there were many speakers. They addressed the crowd at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The most anticipated of the night was Mrs. Ann Romney, wife of Mitt Romney. She spoke about how she supports the women and moms of America. Unexpectedly, at the end of her remarks, her husband came on stage, stood by his wife’s side and waved at the crowd. People were cheering loudly and the delegates from Colorado waved their cowboy hats in the air.
After Mrs. Romney spoke there was a video introducing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. In his speech, he talked about growing up in New Jersey with his "lovable" father and "tough as nails" mother. Christie said his mother taught him that "when you have to choose between being loved and being respected" he should choose respect. He thinks leaders should do what is right for the country instead of what makes them popular. The crowd here loved what he had to say.
The speeches ended late. It was after midnight when I finally got back to my hotel. I’m looking forward to more excitement at the convention today. Keep up with my reports at timeforkids.com/election12.