CONVENTION BUZZ

Here's to the eloquent women of the GOP

Updated: 2012-08-31T09:50:02Z

By DAVE HELLING and STEVE KRASKE

The Kansas City Star

— Some local Republican delegates think women are taking home the toastmaster’s trophy from the party’s national convention.

Before Thursday night’s acceptance speech from Mitt Romney — but after speeches from Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, John McCain and others — some delegates said the women speakers had done the best of all.

Ann Romney got high marks, and Condoleezza Rice’s eloquent address also lit up the crowd.

Not to mention Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, an out-of-prime-time hit.

“They have so much passion,” said Missouri alternate Zoe Soto-Gilbert at Thursday’s caucus breakfast, referring to the female speakers here.

“I just thought Condi Rice was so knowledgeable and hard-hitting,” said Janet Murfin of Wichita, a guest of the Kansas delegation.

Added Beverly Caley, a Green, Kan., delegate, “Everybody was moved by what she had to say.”

There’s already chatter about 2016, of course, and Rice’s stock is rising. Christie’s shares resemble Facebook’s.

• • • 

Gov. Sam Brownback told his “best” Paul Ryan story at Thursday morning’s Kansas delegation breakfast.

Turns out that when Ryan worked as Brownback’s legislative director when Brownback was in the U.S. House in the mid-90s, he showed up at a Saturday morning staff meeting dressed in hunting attire. Ryan, as almost everyone now knows, loves to hunt.

A colleague noticed something else about Ryan that morning — a strong odor.

“What’s that smell?” the colleague asked.

Deer urine,” Ryan responded.

Hunters, doncha know, have to mask the human scent to have more success on their hunts.

Said Brownback of the story, “Does that win you votes or lose you votes?”

• • • 

The Romney campaign has done a remarkable job tamping down any displays of anger or frustration among delegates. The less emotion, it seems, the better.

But it’s hard to turn emotion on and off like a light switch, which is why delegates have seemed slightly listless at times.

That changed Thursday morning when Missouri auditor Tom Schweich, of all people, lit into Missouri Democrats at the GOP breakfast.

“Our governor right now is the governor of photo ops and cronyism,” Schweich said, referring to Gov. Jay Nixon. Schweich called Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Susan Montee a “zombie.”

He pivoted to the secretary of state race. “By the way, isn’t it great not to have any Carnahan on the ballot anywhere in Missouri?” he asked, to applause. “When was the last time that happened — the War of 1812?”

Schweich urged support for Mitt Romney and the defeat of Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Rep. Todd Akin’s name was not mentioned.

• • • 

Akin, of course, was a no-show here. In fact, several members of Congress decided to take their business elsewhere this week.

We never saw Rep. Vicky Hartzler. Rep. Sam Graves was in Tampa, but did not speak to Missourians during their morning breakfasts.

Rep. Billy Long did attend, and Sen. Roy Blunt dropped by Monday.

The caucus speeches, though, did not feature candidates on the ballot — a rarity at a national political convention.

• • • 

That bus mixup from Tuesday night that had some delegates arriving at their hotels at 2 a.m. or even 3. One report from another state mentioned, if you can believe it, 5 a.m.

Consider it solved.

Kansas delegates heaped all kinds of praise on transit officials for their performance Wednesday night.

“110 percent better,” said Jane Alexander of Parsons, Kan. “Everybody was organized last night.”

Tampa police told some that they had taken over the operation from a private company. (Yes, there’s a little irony there as GOPers tend to say the private sector trumps the government any time.)

Alexander got back to the Kansas hotel in about an hour Wednesday night. The day before? Two hours, 15 minutes.

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