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On a bus ride from downtown Minneapolis to St. Paul, one Republican delegate repeated the conventional wisdom about Democratic and Republican conventions. The Democrats run on pure passion, the Republicans on great organization. But this week’s been one for turning conventional wisdom on its head.

After all, GOP presidential candidate John McCain has picked a 44-year-old woman as his running mate, and now the great debate (great, at least in some bloggers’ minds) is on over whether her 17-year-old, unmarried daughter’s pregnancy makes that a liability. (Karl Rove says no.)

In another part of this parallel universe, the elevator that most media must travel to get down to the Xcel convention floor got stuck (with passengers inside), and passengers had to be kept from the other elevator next door so the repair guy could do his job.

And when delegates left the Xcel center after a surprise, and enthusiastically welcomed visit by Laura Bush and Cindy McCain, they ran into protesters — not the antiwar protesters whose march largely fizzled, but a couple dozen backers of GOP candidate Ron Paul chanting his name. (A few of the delegates chanted “John McCain” back, but most just stared.)

No room at the Xcel

Nobody but photographers and security were closer than the Ohio delegation when First Lady Laura Bush and Cindy McCain took the stage at the Xcel Center Monday afternoon. Ohio is front and center, besting even two other key swing states — Pennsylvania and Colorado — for the best seats in the house.

A close up view
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