From Cleveland to Philadelphia

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From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania –

As soon as the Republican National Convention ended in Cleveland, hundreds of reporters grabbed their gear and clothes and headed for Philadelphia to cover this week’s Democratic National Convention, as the two parties again are holding back to back gatherings to nominate their candidate for President.

When I arrived at the Cleveland airport just a few hours after Donald Trump had given his acceptance speech, I was looking forward to a nap on the plane back.

But then I saw that dreaded word – CANCELED.

If you fly at all these days, you know there aren’t the seats available to just get on the next flight out of town, and that was very true in Cleveland.

So, around 7 am on Friday, I simply went back to the rental car counter, got another car, and drove the six hours back to Washington to fetch my car at the airport there.

After about 20 hours at home, which included doing laundry, mowing the grass and saying hello to the wife and kids, it was time to head to Philadelphia to get ready for the GOP.

On the way up I-95, I was flipping the dial on the radio and stumbled onto C-SPAN Radio, which was airing tapes of President Lyndon Johnson’s phone calls – this one was about the run up to the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

Yes, it was a campaign geek moment.

The phone tapes of LBJ’s conversation with Texas Gov. John Connally showed that LBJ was convinced that Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy was trying to force a vote at the convention to make him Johnson’s running mate, instead of Sen. Hubert Humphrey (D-MN).

Here in Philadelphia, things are about the same as they were in Cleveland – a major arena – this one used for the NBA and NHL, turned into a political convention hall.

The Democrats do things a little differently, since they have more delegates, not all of them can be on the convention floor.

My work space is again high up overlooking the floor, but it should be a pretty good seat for what goes on this week.

The last time I was in Philadelphia for a convention was 2000 – this is my 15th major party convention. My first was in 1988, the Democratic convention in Atlanta.