Some media kept from interacting with delegates at RNC kick-off event
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08/27/12 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday | Listen to this entire show:

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Republican convention delegates partying at the welcome event.


photo by Seán Kinane/WMNF

Despite the weather, events for the Republican National Convention kicked off last night with the Host Committee’s welcome party in St. Petersburg. Hundreds of delegates and invited media mingled on the artificial grass inside the major league baseball dome near downtown. Media covering the event were kept in a Tropicana Field sky box and were prevented from mingling with the delegates on the field. This was news to Ken Jones, president and CEO of the 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee for the Republican National Convention.

"It’s very interesting; it’s the first time the media and the delegates have been mixed together for a Republican National Convention event so it’s ground-breaking, it’s historic. We thought it was a good idea to not do two separate events, difficult venues sometimes. One of the reasons were in this venue is because we knew he possibility of bad weather. We knew that there could be some bad rain in Florida so we put it inside the Trop. So to have two separate venues simultaneously that can hold large numbers of people in doors in Tampa Bay, you don’t have a lot to choose from. So we knew that combining this event would be a good idea. Let the delegates let their hair down a little bit, interact with the media, and have some fun before we get to the festivities later in the week."

The delegates were treated to music from national artists and to performances from area attractions like Busch Gardens. But outside, the streets were fenced off and there were hundreds of armed security personnel patrolling on foot, on bike and on horseback.

Republican National Convention Welcome Event 2012:

RNC host committee chair at welcome event: WMNF News

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