Two Bristol Republican leaders who are among the thousands of GOP loyalists gathered in Minnesota for this week’s party convention are thrilled with what they’re seeing.
“It’s one thing watching it on TV. It’s another being there,” said Gary Schaffrick, a former city Republican chairman.
“It’s sort of like the Super Bowl for political junkies like me,” said another ex-chairman, Art Mocabee.
Both Schaffrick and Mocabee said Tuesday said that presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain’s announcement that he wanted Alaska’s governor on his ticket created lots of enthusiasm among the delegates.
Schaffrick said the choice “electrified” the party. “The place was just on fire,” he said, because everyone was so happy to see a choice that was “out of the box.”
Mocabee said that Palin “has been getting the bejesus kicked out of her” by the press “but most of us still pretty excited” by her.
He said that he understands the concerns that have been raised, but he trusts that people will look past them and see her tact and leadership skills.
For both Schaffrick and Mocabee, this marks the first time they’ve attended the quadrennial gathering – and they’re determined to enjoy it.
It didn’t help, though, to have protestors Monday assail the Connecticut delegation.
“Some people got doused with bleach,” Schaffrick said, and others had to fight off efforts to steal their pocketbooks.
Both men said they were interested to see U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman’s address to the convention late Tuesday.
“I think he can bring some Democrats to our side,” Schaffrick said.
“As long as he’s not on the ticket, I’m happy. We’ll take him,” Mocabee said.
Schaffrick said that with McCain at the top of the ticket, the Republicans are not fighting a losing battle in the region for a change.
“In New England, it’s not a lost cause for McCain,” Schaffrick said. “New England’s in play.”
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