Thursday, August 30, 2012

Candidates, Cupcakes Sweeten Convention

Alli Hall /
Ann Romney addresses the Republican National Convention Tuesday night

By Alli Hall
Junior Reporter
TAMPA, Florida – Tuesday, my first full day at the Republican National Convention, was a crazy day for a teenager. I woke up at 7:30 a.m. to go to a breakfast at 8:30 a.m., and from there went to a pro-life rally at the aquarium in Tampa to the convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Although it was crazy, it was a really great experience.

YJI reporter Alli Hall
At our morning breakfast, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker spoke to us. 
From my perspective, Walker is a really cool guy. He has done so much for his state during his time as governor, so it was very exciting for me to meet someone I have so much respect for.
Next door, Herman Cain was the keynote speaker for another breakfast. I went over to check it out, and ended up meeting the former presidential candidate and getting a picture with him.
Cain thinks it’s great that young people are getting involved in politics at such a young age. After breakfast, I was invited to join a few people to attend a pro-life  rally at the aquarium in downtown Tampa.

Herman Cain and Alli Hall
Some of the speakers at the rally included Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Alli Hall at the aquarium in Tampa
Alli Hall /

Cupcakes at the pro-life rally
At the beginning of the rally, people just talked amongst each other and ate lunch. My lunch consisted of sweet potatoes topped with spoonfuls of brown sugar and approximately 20 marshmallows, and a gorgeous red velvet cupcake. 

Yum, what kid doesn't love marshmallows and cupcakes? What made the day even better is we got to explore the aquarium. I saw a crocodile (full grown this time), a little owl, otters, birds, and my most-feared creature EVER – sharks!
Although the animals were very exciting to see, I did do one thing a little more exciting: I met Rick Santorum! Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to speak with him, but meeting him made my day.

Rick Santorum and Alli Hall

After the rally, I went and saw the new movie, 2016: Obama’s America, by Dinesh D’Souza. It was a fabulous movie, and I encourage everyone to go and see it.
D’Souza came at the end of the movie to answer questions and sign books. I bought my mom a signed book, because she is a big fan of his work. After the movie, we finally made our way to the convention.
Security at the convention is very tight. There are police everywhere – on bikes, on horses, in golf carts and on foot – and the whole Tampa Bay Times Forum, and a few blocks surrounding it, is encircled with enormous fences. All the security is to protect guests, delegates speakers, and media from angry protesters outside.

Alli Hall /

Dinesh D’Souza answers questions after a screening of his film, 2016: Obama's America
Inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum is great. There are decorations everywhere, all very patriotic and the arena is huge.
I even got the chance to go to the floor of the convention. The floor is where the delegates from each state sit, and I got to watch some speeches from the floor for a little while during the convention. Once I returned to my designated seat – way up in the nose-bleed section – I settled down to listen to some great speeches.
Alli Hall /

On the floor of the Republican National Convention
My favorite speeches were by Santorum, Ann Romney, the wife of Mitt Romney, who will be the party's nominee for president, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. I think the reason those speeches stood out the most for me is because I’m a kid and listening to speeches about our economy and jobs doesn't really grab my interest, but those three spoke about more than that.
They spoke about love, our family’s future, and coming together for this convention because we want the most for our country. They believe that we have the ability to do great things. Their speeches inspired me and gave me hope for my country. Hope that has disappeared over the last four years is now slowly but surely coming back to the citizens of this country.
Those three speeches were the highlight of my night, and I’m looking forward to hearing speeches from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, who is our party’s candidate for vice president.
An update on the proposed rule change: For the rules, they have decided to allow states to keep their caucuses. Although when delegates vote in the straw ballot at the beginning of the caucuses, they are bound to that candidate for the rest of the electoral process.
Many people think this is a bad idea because people don’t know much about the candidates at the beginning of the electoral process, when the caucuses take place. To make them seal their vote to that candidate so early doesn’t give them the chance to make a knowledgeable vote in the straw ballot.

YJI Reporter Alli Hall, 15, of Duluth, Minnesota, is attending the Republican National Convention with her mom, who is an alternate from Minnesota. Read all of her dispatches and see all the photos at these links:

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