Republican National Convention
Wednesday, August 02, 2000

Convention notebook

By Howard Wilkinson and Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        With the thousands of pundits, politicians and even comedians like Al Franken and Billy Crystal in Philadelphia, the best one-liner might have come from a retired Philadelphia firefighter working as a van driver for VIPs.

        While bringing U.S. Rep. Rob Portman back from a speech on Social Security reform, the van stopped at a traffic light next to a downtown Philadelphia tobacco shop, which had an old-fashioned wooden Indian outside.

        "Hey, congressman, look,” the driver said. "Al Gore's here.”


        Ohio banks have always been interested in the office of state treasurer, because that elected official is the one who invests state funds.

        So few of the Ohioans who showed up at Tuesday morning's Ohio delegation breakfast honoring the current treasurer, Joe Deters, were surprised to find it was sponsored by Cincinnati-based Fifth-Third Bank.


        John Kasich, the suburban Columbus congressman who ran a brief but energetic campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, has kept a rather low-key presence here. That is about to change.

        Mr. Kasich, the House Budget chairman who is not running for re-election to Congress this year, will address the convention tonight.

        His speech will come before that of former defense secretary Dick Cheney, the man who got the vice presidential nomination that many in the party - particularly many from Ohio - thought ought to have gone to Mr. Kasich.

        Mr. Kasich will show his thanks by hosting a luncheon for the Ohio delegation at the Hard Rock Cafe. ****

        A bus load of Kentucky delegates headed out to Atlantic City Tuesday morning for a couple of hours of gambling. The coastal city is about 50 miles from Voorhees, N.J., where the delegation is staying.

        If anybody won big they weren't talking about it on the bus ride home. Supposedly one member of the delegation won $400 on his first $1 play on a slot machine but none of the delegates would identify the lucky winner.

        Asked if he won any money at the tables or on the slots state Sen. Richie Saunders just winked, smiled and said, “I just walked around a little.”

        Some of the delegates took a tour of the Harrah's Casino and hotel and were amazed at the plush suites on the hotel's 16th floor.

        A tour guide told the delegates that the rooms - complete with whirlpool tubs, wet bars and views of the ocean and the city's boardwalk - are reserved for high-rollers who gamble $10,000 or more over a weekend.

        “And it's amazing,” the guide said. “These rooms are almost always full.”


        Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell hosted a party after Monday night's opening session for donors to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the GOP's Senate political arm that Mr. McConnell chairs.

        Several current and pro boxers attended, including Roy Jones Jr., who at one point was on a stage with Mr. McConnell.

        A Kentucky delegate said Mr. McConnell gave a speech that included several boxing references and cliches, and then hoisted Mr. Jones championship belt over his head.

        “It was kind of strange seeing Mitch up there holding a boxing belt over his head,” the delegate said. ***

        Kentucky delegate Barb Haas of Fort Thomas is enjoying her first political convention, but she is sad about missing a big event back home.

        Today is her daughter Carrie's 16th birthday.

        “I hate to miss it,” said Mrs. Haas, chairwoman of the Campbell County Republican Party. “It's a bid day for her. I wish I could be there. I just want to tell her happpy birthday, and I miss her.”

Back to Convention Page

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- Convention notebook