July 19, 2016

by David Hertz

Snapshots from downtown is a brief roundup of what the D&E team is seeing, hearing and doing leading up to and during the Republican National Convention. For all posts like this, click here.

MONDAY, JULY 18, 2016

4 p.m.: This week, downtown Cleveland is filled with media panels and private speaking events featuring national political experts.  For example, Larry Sabato, leader of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and author of the top election-result-prediction blog, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, spoke to a small group of corporate leaders on the Connor Palace stage.

̶  Dave Loomis

6 p.m.: East 4th Street buzzed with activity as convention-goers with their ID-badge lanyards headed south to the Q and the first sessions of the RNC, threading through crowds of restaurant patrons and reporters conducting interviews. A small group of protesters in front of the Old Arcade quickly attracted a protective cordon of police officers.

6:30 p.m.: Inside the Q, celebrity sightings included former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani being interviewed live by Fox News host Sean Hannity just off the convention floor. Nearby, on the floor, conservative commentator Bill Kristol spoke with another reporter. A few minutes later, up on the fifth level where most of the media suites are located, another erstwhile presidential hopeful, former U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, strode by with his wife, Elizabeth.

8 p.m.: As the parade of speakers kicked off with Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame, there was no hint of the intra-party division that erupted on the convention floor earlier in the day after party officials adopted rules by a shouted voice vote. Speaker after speaker stirred up the crowd. Calls to support the police, veterans and our troops drew the strongest ovations.

̶  Patrick Gallagher

TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2016

11 a.m.: Cleveland is showing off its Global Center for Health Innovation and the Huntington Bank Convention Center this week. The Globe is hosting vendors of all sorts who may be of interest to the thousands of journalists working out of the convention center.

Among the vendors is Zignal, which monitors social media content and activity. This week, Cleveland is among the top cities for social media mentions, behind Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Yonkers. The RNC is by far the most popular topic that Zignal was monitoring with very cool screens on display.

Spotted in a concourse at the Convention Center: a booth with copies of numerous publications, from the National Standard to Politico to The Washington Post and yes, The Cleveland Plain Dealer. A slice of news-junkie heaven.

̶  David Hertz

Noon: With the weather picture-perfect, many of the news organizations filmed morning shows from the north edge of the mall overlooking the lakefront. People in colorful costumes entertained near concert hill in the new Public Square as small groups gathered, gave interviews and dispersed.

On East 4th Street, a visitor could do everything from getting a free hug (I did) from several people carrying signs with that offer, to talking with an actual presidential candidate…from the “Transhumanist party.”

Though helicopters still circled overhead and the police presence was high, many were grateful for the relative calm and peacefulness of the crowds.

̶  Dave Loomis