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An attendee of the Republican National Convention (RNC) in St. Paul sports a decorative button. (Rolando Arrieta, NPR)

RNC Backstage Pass: Farewell St. Paul

Sep 5, 2008

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Reported by

Michel Martin

It was a long night and an early morning, and we're trying to get ourselves packed and ready to go.

But before we go ...

Thanks so much to Deborah Amos for sitting in the chair and holding it down while we were in St. Paul. I think she did a great job, don't you? And thanks again to Cheryl Corley, who guest hosted the week before ... and Lynn Neary the week before that.

Taking a step back and looking at John McCain's speech:

Was it too long on biography and too short on policy? Or, did McCain (and I am so sick of this phrase) "do what he needed to do"?

Will both candidates be able to keep the campaign on the issues they and the country all say are most important, which is to stay on fixing corrupt and special interest-dominated political systems, fixing a broken health care system, addressing economic growth at home and threats abroad ... as opposed to who is the bigger patriot, who loves the country more?

Both men say this is about you, not them. But will the blogosphere, and their supporters be able to contain themselves?

More random thoughts:

The protests? Dozens of people have been arrested here over the course of the week. We met one of the parents of one young man who was arrested. He says the police went too far to suppress dissent and arrest people long before their behavior crossed the line.

Hard to know without being there. We spent so much time in the convention hall that, half the time, we never knew what was going on outside until it was all over.

But if you spent any time in and around St. Paul this week, what were your impressions? Did you feel the police went too far, or did the protesters abuse the concept of peaceful protest?

Also, this convention does not seem to have been a big economic boost for the city. The restaurants were not full, the stores did not seem to be crowded — at least not where we were. It was big change from Denver, where the place was hopping with vendors on every corner and a party in every watering hole.

What happened?

Real life did continue.

We came upon a lovely farmer's market here on seventh street — gorgeous tomatoes, flowers, long beans and raspberries. Wish I could bring some home with me.

And, did the conversations heard on TMM about the political conventions these past two weeks serve a useful purpose? Or, is it all just too much hoopla for too little result?

Blog it out.

I'm outta here. As for me, this has been great but I miss my family, my house, my staff.

Please, weather, cooperate so we can get home!

See you Monday.

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