The United States 2008 Republican National Convention took place at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota, from September 1, through September 4, 2008. The first day of the Republican Party's convention fell on Labor Day, the last day of the popular Minnesota State Fair, though because of Hurricane Gustav, this day was mostly a call for action to help victims and formal, required activities; most of the politicking and partying did not start until Tuesday, the second scheduled day.
This was the latest any major party convention has ever been convened, and the first one to take place entirely in September. Traditionally, the party who holds the White House has the opportunity to select the date of its convention second, and normally the challenging party holds their convention in July while the incumbent party holds its convention in August. This year, later dates were chosen for both conventions because the parties wanted to schedule their conventions after the 2008 Summer Olympics ended.
President George W. Bush did not attend the convention (although he did appear by satellite), in order to oversee relief efforts to help citizens recover from Hurricane Gustav. The attending delegates at the convention nominated Senator John McCain from Arizona for President and Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska for Vice President. 1,191 pledged delegates were necessary for candidates to win the respective nominations.
|2008 Republican National Convention|
|2008 presidential election|
McCain and Palin
|Date(s)||September 1–4, 2008|
|City||Saint Paul, Minnesota|
|Venue||Xcel Energy Center|
|Notable speakers||George W. Bush|
|Presidential nominee||John McCain of Arizona|
|Vice Presidential nominee||Sarah Palin of Alaska|
|Votes needed for nomination||1,191|
|Results (President)||McCain (AZ): 2,343 (99.28%)|
Paul (TX): 15 (0.63%)
Romney (MA): 2 (0.09%)
|Results (Vice President)||Palin (AK): 100% (Acclamation)|
Four cities made bids to the Republican National Committee (RNC) for proposals to host the 2008 Convention. Those cities were Cleveland, Ohio, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota, New York City, New York, and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida. The RNC Selection Committee made its recommendation for Minneapolis-Saint Paul and on September 27, 2006, the RNC made its decision public that the 2008 Republican National Convention would be held in Minneapolis-Saint Paul. The RNC made their decision earlier than originally scheduled because the Democratic National Committee (DNC) also had Minneapolis-Saint Paul as a finalist among bidding cities. (After the RNC's selection, the DNC removed Minneapolis-Saint Paul from consideration which left the DNC with only two cities to choose from: New York City and Denver, Colorado.) This is the second time the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area held the Republican National Convention—the first was held in 1892.
The 27 electoral college votes from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa as a block—equal in value to Florida's—was judged by the University of Minnesota Elections project to be subject to swing toward either major party. Even so, Minnesota has not gone to the Republicans since the 1972 election when during his reelection President Richard Nixon won every state except Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. In 1984, during his reelection, President Ronald Reagan was victorious over Minnesota's "favorite son," Walter Mondale, in all states except Minnesota, and the District of Columbia.
Since the U.S. Constitution limits the President to two terms and Vice President Dick Cheney did not seek the Presidency, the 2008 election was the first election in which neither the sitting President nor the sitting Vice President sought his party's nomination since 1928 (when neither the sitting President, Calvin Coolidge, nor the sitting Vice President, Charles G. Dawes, chose to seek the Presidency) and the first since 1952 where neither the sitting President nor sitting Vice President received his party's nomination (when the sitting President, Harry S. Truman, chose not to seek reelection and the sitting Vice President, Alben Barkley, lost the Democratic Nomination to Adlai Stevenson). With the exception of the 1964 convention, which nominated Barry Goldwater for President and William E. Miller for Vice-President, this was the first convention since 1948 not to feature a man named either Nixon, Dole or Bush on the ticket.
Considering the signs that were waved by the delegates, the dominant message of the convention was "Country First." The "U.S.A.!" chant was also a part of the message of the convention with the delegates chanting it during Lieberman's and Thompson's speeches on the first evening.
With the landfall of Hurricane Gustav on the U.S. Gulf Coast, the White House canceled the planned appearances of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Governors Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Rick Perry of Texas skipped the convention to remain in their states during the hurricane's landfall. The Monday, September 1, 2008, schedule was compressed to two hours from seven. McCain called on the party to reduce partisan activities ahead of the hurricane's arrival. The Republican Party chartered a DC-9 to fly convention delegates representing the affected areas back home to their families. The last time a major hurricane struck in a Presidential-election year was Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which hit South Florida four days after the Republican Convention in Houston, Texas.
On March 26, 2008, the National Football League and NBC agreed to move the kickoff time of a September 4 season-opening football game to 7:00 p.m. EDT instead of 8:30 p.m. EDT to accommodate the convention. The game ended relatively on time, at 10:01 p.m. EDT, with NBC Sports handing off to NBC News within moments of the end of the game. According to Nielsen Media Research, 38.9 million Americans watched McCain deliver his acceptance speech—a half million more than tuned in to see Obama the previous week.
To be selected as the 2008 Republican Party Nominee, a candidate must have received the vote of 1,191 delegates. As of March 4, 2008, McCain had received the pledges of more than 1,191 delegates. Although most of those delegates were not required to vote for him, on September 3, 2008, McCain won the nomination almost unanimously.
|Republican National Convention Presidential nominee vote, 2008|
|Delegates that did not vote||14||0.59%|
Palin was nominated for Vice President by voice vote on September 4, 2008.
Several early predictions made by the National Hurricane Center showed Minneapolis-St. Paul on the predicted ground track of Hurricane Gustav. Gustav would have long been extra-tropical by the time it reached the area, it could have caused a significant impact to the convention due to rain. Most of the convention's activities were curtailed as Gustav neared, and President Bush canceled his plans to attend the convention. As the hurricane moved inland, its track shifted well to the east missing the area by several hundred miles.
Approximately 10,000 largely peaceful protesters marched against the war in Iraq and 2,000 more to end homelessness and poverty. They represented a number of organizations opposed to the Republican Administration including the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, the Teamsters, Code Pink, the American Indian Movement and the RNC Welcoming Committee. About 1,000 people in place for the third major march, and the last to be sanctioned, were stopped on Thursday, September 4, 2008, by police because they attempted to begin their march after the time their march permit expired. The Anti-War Committee, which supports nonviolent action and civil disobedience and had cooperated with anarchist groups, had organized and publicized the march to protest at the time of McCain's acceptance speech, which was in violation of the court-approved protest permit time.
Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty and 10,000 Ron Paul supporters attended the Rally for the Republic, a protest convention on September 2, 2008, held a few miles from the Xcel Energy Center at the Minneapolis Target Center in direct contrast to the Republican National Convention.
Several groups had been preparing to protest near the convention. In early January 2008, protesters marched from the Minnesota State Capitol to the Xcel Energy Center in hopes of securing a protest permit. The Saint Paul Police Department authorized the event, but only approved the permit through July 2008. On February 8 and February 9, 2008, antiwar protesters attended a weekend conference at the University of Minnesota to discuss the protests and antiwar rally. On February 28, 2008, the Associated Press (AP) reported that the police department adopted new guidelines for the investigation of protest groups. The police department said that this did not have anything to do with the convention.
In early March 2008, the city of Saint Paul gave the first permits to protest organizers. The city had said that it was not going to follow the "New York model" for protest security, referring to the tactics the New York City Police Department used for the 2004 Republican National Convention protest activity. Later, on March 24, 2008, the antiwar group the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War, sued the city, claiming their free speech and due process rights were denied by the vagueness of the permits which did not specify a permitted route for their march. On July 16, 2008, a Federal judge upheld the terms of the permit. And when the time came on September 2, 2008, police led the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign for two hours on a 2.5 miles (4.0 km) trek away from the convention which had been less than 1 mile (1.6 km) from their starting point.
Police arresting protesters during the first-day of the convention
Before the convention began, search warrants were executed by Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Six persons who were a part of the organizing group, the RNC Welcoming Committee, were arrested when police executed search warrants on a handful of homes in Minneapolis and Saint Paul during the weekend preceding the convention.
Media outlets reported on several of the searches. Given the nature of the probable cause for the warrant applications, a district court judge authorized no-knock warrants. Police entered the homes wearing body armor with weapons drawn, which is standard for no-knock warrants. RNC Welcoming Committee members detained at the group's headquarters, located in an old theater on Saint Paul's West Side, were ultimately arrested by Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher of misdemeanor fire code violations.
On the first day of the convention, a group of protesters stood in front of approximately 30 to 40 delegates from Connecticut in an attempt to prevent them from entering the convention. Paramedics had to treat an 83-year-old member of the delegation for breathing problems when his credentials were ripped from his neck by a protester. Additionally, a black bloc smashed windows of downtown businesses and slashed the tires several police cars, lit one police car on fire, and used a garbage dumpster as a battering ram against another. About 12 protesters were arrested.
During the convention's first three days, more than 300 individuals were detained by police, including journalists, healthcare workers, and legal observers. Some were released, but nearly half received felony charges. Of these felony arrests, many cases were dropped or reviewed, sometimes for lesser charges, and about 21 were found to be prosecutable. About 102 persons were arrested for unlawful assembly at a Rage Against the Machine concert in downtown Minneapolis.
Over the four days of the convention, more than 30 journalists were arrested while reporting on the protests. The arrests included journalists from national organizations such as AP and Democracy Now!, journalists from local radio and TV stations, as well as university journalism students and advisors.
Three journalists from Democracy Now!—including principal host Amy Goodman—were detained by police during their reporting on the protests. According to a press release by Democracy Now!, Goodman was arrested after confronting officers regarding the arrest of her colleagues. The officers were in the midst of crowd control, and ordered Goodman to move back. She was arrested after refusing the officer's orders. All were held on charges of "probable cause for riot". Several news sources have criticized the arrest as unlawful and a violation of the freedom of the press, and warned of the "chilling effects" of such measures. Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman and producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar prevailed in a lawsuit against the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and the U.S. Secret Service brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights, attorney Steven Reiss from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in New York, and Albert Goins of Minneapolis. The federal lawsuit asserted that the government cannot, in the name of security, limit the flow of information by intimidating and arresting journalists who engage in constitutionally protected reporting on speech protected by the First Amendment, such as dissent or law enforcement activities. The settlement included compensation of $100,000 for the three journalists and an agreement by the St. Paul Police Department to implement a training program aimed at educating officers regarding the First Amendment rights of the press and public with respect to police operations — including police handling of media coverage of mass demonstrations — and to pursue implementation of the training program in Minneapolis and statewide.
The final protest march was permitted for 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. on the final day of the convention. This meant that the last of the marchers needed to be back on capitol grounds by 5 p.m. By 4 p.m., the march had still not left the capitol grounds. Understanding that the protesters were interested in being near the Xcel Energy Center when delegates were, police offered a compromise: march leaders were told that if they started their march before 5 p.m., police would allow it to continue past the permit time. March organizers refused. When the final protest march permit expired at 5 p.m., overpasses over Interstate 94 leading into downtown from the state capitol were closed. Two hours later, when the final assembly permit on capitol grounds expired and protesters refused several commands to disperse, police used tear gas, smoke bombs, pepper spray, flash bangs, mounted police, paint marker rounds, and rubber bullets to prevent an antiwar march organized by the Anti-War Committee to march on the Xcel Energy center. This march would have been in violation of the court-approved march permits. Between 300 and 400 people were arrested or held including 19 journalists, among them AP reporters Amy Forliti and Jon Krawczynski, reporters from Twin Cities Daily Planet and The Uptake, and Paul Demko of The Minnesota Independent. Total arrests of convention protesters numbered approximately 800, although only 15 cases resulted in criminal charges. Several suits were started in U.S. District Court, claiming civil rights abuses by the St. Paul Police Department and other agencies involved in the RNC, particularly the Minneapolis Police Department and Ramsey County Sheriff's Office. Search warrants were still being granted into 2009 in relation to the events that transpired during the 2008 RNC.
Both McKay and Crowder were arrested based on FBI surveillance and testimony by former-activist turned informant, Brandon Michael Darby and Andrew C. Darst, also known as "Panda," "warchyld" or Killswitch. Darst is currently being charged in Ramsey County, MN, with two felony counts of first- and second-degree burglary as well as fifth-degree assault relating to a January 11, 2009, domestic disturbance.
|Republican National Conventions||Succeeded by|
The 2008 District of Columbia Republican primary took place on February 12, 2008. Virginia and Maryland both held primaries on the same day, so the day's elections were collectively called "the Potomac primary". John McCain decisively won the primary, securing the votes of all 16 DC delegates to the 2008 Republican National Convention.2008 Guam Republican caucuses
The 2008 Guam Republican caucuses, also called the Guam state convention, took place on March 8, 2008. The approximately 500 people who attended the convention chose six delegates to represent Guam at the 2008 Republican National Convention. John McCain won all six of the delegates. Guam also sent three unpledged party delegates to the party convention, for a total delegation of nine.
The caucuses had been tentatively scheduled for February 16 but later changed.2008 Idaho Republican primary
The 2008 Idaho Republican primary took place on May 27, 2008. John McCain won the primary, although before the election he had already won enough pledged delegates in earlier primaries to secure his nomination at the 2008 Republican National Convention.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul finished second with 24 percent of the vote, which was his best showing in a primary state even though McCain had been declared the presumptive Republican nominee several weeks before the Idaho primary.2008 Indiana Republican primary
The 2008 Indiana Republican primary took place on May 6, 2008. 27 delegates to the 2008 Republican National Convention were selected in the election.In addition, 27 other delegates were selected during the state convention from June 9 to June 10, 2008.
John McCain was the winner of the election and of all of Indiana's delegates.2008 Maryland Republican primary
The 2008 Maryland Republican primary took place on February 12, 2008. The state sent 37 delegates to the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. Three delegates were awarded to the winner of each of the state's eight congressional districts; the remainder of the state's delegates were at-large. John McCain won the primary election.In opinion polling conducted on February 7 and 8, John McCain was the heavy favorite among Maryland's Republican voters. 56% of respondents supported him, 17% Mike Huckabee, 10% Ron Paul, with the rest scattered or undecided.The District of Columbia and State of Virginia held their primaries on the same date, leading the day to be dubbed the "Potomac primary" by many pundits, after the river that borders all three jurisdictions.2008 Minnesota Republican caucuses
The 2008 Minnesota Republican caucuses took place on February 5, 2008, with 38 national delegates at stake. The caucuses were considered a non-binding straw poll, since Minnesota officially chose 24 delegates to the 2008 Republican National Convention during district conventions from May 3 to May 24, 2008, and the remaining 14 delegates during the state convention on June 7, 2008. Those delegates to the national convention officially nominated the President. Mitt Romney was the winner of the Minnesota caucuses.
The 2008 Republican National Convention was held in St. Paul, Minnesota from September 1 until September 4, 2008.2008 Nebraska Republican primary
The 2008 Nebraska Republican primary took place on May 13, 2008. John McCain won the primary, although he had secured his party's nomination weeks before the election through his performance in earlier primary contests.
Nebraska's primary was non-binding and only indicated Republican voters' preference for President. Nebraska Republicans' State Convention ultimately chose the delegates to the 2008 Republican National Convention, who formally nominated the Republican candidate for the Presidency. The State Convention took place on July 12. Delegates to the state convention were elected at county conventions held between the first and tenth of June. Predictably, nearly all of the delegates chosen by the state convention were McCain supporters, although "at least one" delegate was a supporter of Ron Paul.2008 New York Republican primary
New York held its state presidential primary on February 5, 2008 (Super Tuesday). There were 101 delegates up for grabs for the candidates. The delegates were awarded on a winner-take-all basis, which means the winner, Arizona Senator John McCain, received all 101 delegates for the 2008 Republican National Convention.
On February 2, McCain had held a fairly large lead in the polls above the competition with 35% as opposed to the next candidate Rudy Giuliani with 22.5%, who had announced a withdrawal from the race on January 30,
2008.2008 Pennsylvania Republican primary
The 2008 Pennsylvania Republican primary was an election held on April 22 by the Pennsylvania Department of State in which voters chose their preference for the Republican Party's candidate for the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. Voters also chose the Pennsylvania Republican Party's candidates for various state and local offices. The selected candidates were placed on the ballot of the 2008 General Election on November 4, 2008. The Republican primary was part of a General Primary that also included the 2008 Pennsylvania Democratic primary.
Polls opened at 7:00 am and closed at 8:00 pm. John McCain was the winner. He had already been declared the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, having secured enough delegate votes in earlier primary contests to win the nomination at the 2008 Republican National Convention.2008 Tennessee Republican primary
The 2008 Tennessee Republican primary took place on February 5, 2008 (Super Tuesday), with 52 national delegates. Mike Huckabee narrowly defeated John McCain to win the largest share of Tennessee's delegates to the 2008 Republican National Convention. Both McCain and the third-place candidate Mitt Romney received delegates along with Huckabee.
At of 10:15 PM ET on February 5, the Associated Press reported that with 44% of precincts reporting Huckabee and McCain were tied with about one-third of the vote each. Earlier, with 31% of precincts in, McCain had 34% support, Huckabee 31%, Romney 23% and Paul 6% support.The City Paper reported that voter turnout could beat the state's record of 830,000 in 1988 when Al Gore was on the presidential ballot for the first time.AP exit polls showed that Huckabee did well with born-again Christians and conservatives.2008 Texas Republican primary
The 2008 Texas Republican primary took place on March 4, 2008. John McCain won the primary election, giving him enough delegate votes to guarantee his nomination at the 2008 Republican National Convention.2008 United States Virgin Islands Republican caucuses
The 2008 United States Virgin Islands Republican Territorial Meeting, also known as the Republican caucuses, took place on the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas on April 5, 2008. Virgin Islands Republicans could select six pledged delegates for the 2008 Republican National Convention; three party leaders also attended the convention as unpledged delegates. However, the delegates chosen in the meeting did not support any presidential candidate, so all nine Virgin Islands delegates attended the convention as unpledged delegates.The turnout, around 150 people, did not match the comparatively staggering number of voters in the Democratic Territorial Meeting, but it was still a record turnout for the Virgin Islands Republican Party. Caucus-goers voted for delegates rather than candidates. Of 25 people who sought delegate spots, the majority, 16, were not committed to any presidential candidate.2008 Virginia Republican primary
The 2008 Virginia Republican primary took place on February 12, 2008. This was an open primary with 63 delegates (60 pledged delegates) at stake in a winner take all format. The District of Columbia and Maryland both held primaries on the same day, referred to as the "Potomac primary".
John McCain won the primary, receiving all of Virginia's delegates to the 2008 Republican National Convention.Barracuda (song)
"Barracuda" is a song by the American rock band Heart. It was released as the first single from the band's second album, Little Queen (1977). The song spent 20 weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 chart and peaked at No. 11. In 2007, the song was a playable track in the music video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. In 2009, "Barracuda" was named the 34th Best Hard Rock Song of All Time by VH1. The song was included on the compilation albums Greatest Hits/Live (1980), These Dreams: Greatest Hits (1997), Greatest Hits (1998), The Essential Heart (2002), Love Alive (2005), Playlist: The Very Best of Heart (2008) and Strange Euphoria (2012), and on the live albums Rock the House Live! (1991), The Road Home (1995), Alive in Seattle (2003) and Live in Atlantic City (2019).Better This World
Better This World is a 2011 documentary film that was directed by Kelly Duane and Katie Galloway. It had its world premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival on April 23, 2011, where it won two Golden Gate Awards for Best Documentary Feature and Bay Area Documentary Feature.
The documentary follows activists Bradley Crowder and David McKay as they plan to protest the 2008 Republican Convention. The film recounts their journey from boyhood friends growing up together in Midland, Texas, to the convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, and ends soon after their trials.Democracy Now!
Democracy Now! is an hour-long American TV, radio and internet news program hosted by journalists Amy Goodman, who also acts as the show's executive producer, and Juan González. The show, which airs live each weekday at 08:00 ET, is broadcast on the internet and by over 1,400 radio and television stations worldwide.The program combines news reporting, interviews, investigative journalism and political commentary. It documents social movements, struggles for justice, and the effects of American foreign policy. The show is described as progressive by fans as well as critics, but Goodman rejects that label, calling the program a global newscast that has "people speaking for themselves." Democracy Now! describes its staff as "includ[ing] some of this country's leading progressive journalists."Democracy Now Productions, the independent nonprofit organization which produces Democracy Now!, is funded entirely through contributions from listeners, viewers, and foundations such as the Ford Foundation, Lannan Foundation, J.M. Kaplan Fund, and does not accept advertisers, corporate underwriting or government funding.James Canty
James Canty is a Brooklyn, New York-based multi-instrumentalist musician from Washington, D.C.
Canty is currently known for playing guitar in the band Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and guitar and keyboard with The Make-Up. Before forming The Make-Up, Canty was the drummer for Nation of Ulysses, a political punk band that existed from 1987 to 1992. Other groups Canty has played in include French Toast, All Scars, Georgie James, Cupid Car Club, Ideal Forms, Chain & The Gang, Kid Congo Powers & The Pink Monkey Birds, and Dust Galaxy.
Most of Canty's work has been with the bands signed to Dischord Records; however, he has also released music with K Records, Lookout Records, Kill Rock Stars, Matador Records and Drag City.
Canty is the younger brother of Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty and writer Kevin Canty.
In 2008, Canty recorded a digital EP called Rapid Response with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. The EP was created as a benefit for Democracy Now! and the Minneapolis chapter of Food Not Bombs, in response to police brutality during the 2008 Republican National Convention.
In 2014, Canty became the fill-in keyboardist for the television show Late Night with Seth Meyers.Jeff Larson
Jeff Larson is an American political consultant and entrepreneur who served as CEO of the Minneapolis St. Paul 2008 Host Committee, which organized the 2008 Republican National Convention. He worked on Reince Priebus's successful campaign to become RNC Chairman and in 2011 became RNC Chief of Staff. In March 2013 he became Senior Advisor to Reince Priebus and the Chief of Staff position went to Mike Shields.Xcel Energy Center
The Xcel Energy Center (also known as "The X") is a multi-purpose arena, located in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It is named for its locally based corporate sponsor Xcel Energy. With an official capacity of 17,954, the arena has four spectator levels: one suite level and three general seating levels. The building is home to the NHL's Minnesota Wild and is the former home of the NLL's Minnesota Swarm.
The arena is owned by the city of Saint Paul and operated by the Wild's parent company, Minnesota Sports & Entertainment. It is on the same block as the RiverCentre convention facility, Roy Wilkins Auditorium and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, in downtown St. Paul. It also served as official home to the 2008 Republican National Convention.
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