BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – I attended the last Iowa delegation breakfast this morning on the final day of the Republican National Convention. There were surprises. And there were non-surprises.
Surprise — David Hartsuch, a Quad-Cities state senator challenging Democratic U.S. Rep Bruce Braley told delegates that one of his political heroes is the late U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, who was a very liberal Democrat. Hartsuch is a staunch conservative.
After a slightly uncomfortable say-what moment, Hartsuch explained that he admires the late senator’s deeply personal commitment to his constituents, not his politics. Still, that’s almost like a Dem invoking Steve King’s charms.
No Surprise — Hey, speaking of King, the U.S. representative from Western Iowa told the delegation that VP nominee Sarah Palin reminds him of a certain spunky Olympic gold medalist. “She’s our Shawn Johnson,” King said.
He also said Palin reminds him of former British PM Margaret Thatcher. That’s quite a combo.
Surprise — President Abraham Lincoln spoke at this morning’s breakfast. Actually, it was Lincoln impersonator Lance Mack of Marion. The lanky, bearded and remarkably believable Mack made remarks and read excerpts from famous Lincoln speeches.
“Thank you very kindly, Mr. Lincoln,” said John McCain’s Iowa campaign chairman Dave Roederer. “And just a piece of advice. Avoid the theaters.”
No Surprise — Some Republican guys really like the idea of Sarah Palin handling a firearm.
At Wednesday’s Iowa breakfast, former US UN ambassador John Bolton suggested that Palin, if elected, should challenge Russian leader Vladamir Putin to a tiger hunt.
Then, this morning, Steve King invited Palin to take part in a skeet shooting contest between congressional Democrats and Republicans. “We’ll settle this thing, who’s the best shot,” King said.
Surprise — He may look mild-mannered, but you don’t mess with Dave Roederer.
On Wednesday night as Palin spoke, two protesters made their way to the stage. Roederer, who is also convention official, moved quickly and managed to hustle them away. After getting them all the way up the arena stairs, he got an assist from security personnel.
Surprise — U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley never showed up for delegation breakfasts this week. He was attending a fund-raiser this morning, according to Roederer. Grassley did, however, announce Iowa’s votes in the convention roll call of states Wenesday night.