Sunday had a sloppy feel to it. Delegates loitered in hotel lobbies, with plenty of delicious liquids to keep their spirits buoyed.
“We’re pumped,” said Judy Schwalbach, a delegate from Michigan, sipping champagne early Sunday afternoon in the lobby of the Embassy Suites.
“Everyone’s getting into the festive mood,” said superdelegate Saul Anuzis, ordering his second flute.
“We’re from the U.P.!” Schwalbach said. The Upper Peninsula. “You want to talk about weather? Come up to see a blizzard sometime!”
The show has to go on somehow, said Anuzis: “It’s almost impossible to call a new convention at another time. We will complete our statutory requirements to nominate a president and vice president.”
A painting beloved by tea party conservatives was on display on a table in the hotel lobby: “The Forgotten Man” by John McNaughton, which depicts all the country’s previous presidents, led by George Washington, imploring a haughty President Obama to help a forlorn common man on a nearby park bench. In the painting, Obama is standing on the U.S. Constitution.
Here comes the governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, a businessman who markets Michigan as a role model for economic recovery.
“We’re just going to roll with it,” Snyder said of the weather.
Chaos can be good, suggested Newt Gingrich, after he was serenaded by a barbershop quartet Sunday morning at a baggage carousel at the Tampa airport.
“What it’s going to do is force people to be flexible and allow people to relax and sort out what’s going on,” Gingrich said. One suggestion: They could attend “Newt U,” a series of seminars at the downtown Hyatt.
“The less scripted it is, the more of a convention it feels like, instead of an infomercial,” said Michael Morales, 34, of Medford, Mass., an attorney and delegate. “It’ll be nice to have a convention.”
In the lobby of the Marriott near the Tampa Bay Times Forum, former New Hampshire governor John Sununu said the rain and wind wouldn’t make any difference and most Americans wouldn’t even notice it. He plans to spend his free day Monday doing interviews on Radio Row in the media center, repeating a well-honed set of talking points — that Mitt Romney is a good family man who can fix problems.
He doesn’t mind repeating himself. “One of the advantages of senility is you forget what you said,” Sununu said.
Away from the safe zone around the convention site, in the old cigar-making neighborhood of West Tampa, dozens of people waited with dogs outside the Humane Society as the first raindrops fell. They were being offered free “microchipping,” implanting a chip that could identify a lost dog after the storm. Only 2 percent of dogs lost in storms ever are returned to their owners, one woman said as she waited with two dogs.