Elephant in the Room
Everyone say awwww Nothing says romance like the Republican National Convention. As the screens behind the stage at the Forum flashed "Laura Bowman will you marry me?" Bradley Thompson popped the question. According to a tweet from David Popp, a spokesman for the House Republican Conference, the newly engaged pair are members of the convention production staff.The official GOP convention Twitter feed wished them "congratulations." Tampa's official bug? Mayor Bob Buckhorn didn't get a chance to watch "The Daily Show" Tuesday night, but a reporter alerted him that the episode included lap dances and an enormous palmetto bug. "I think most folks recognize humor when they see it," he said. "It is what it is, and if we can't laugh at ourselves then shame on us." Tampa has a lot of great qualities, and certainly it has some blemishes, he said. "If people remember Tampa — even if it is for giant, man-eating palmetto bugs — I'll take it." Thumping, stumping for voters Patriotic confetti, flashing lights and electro-mix house music from artist Steve Aoki rocked the vote and The Amphitheatre in Ybor City on Tuesday. The party to promote voter registration was punctuated by enthusiastic people in shredded clothing fist pumping and crowd surfing as GOP VIPs dined on delicacies on the club's upper level. Aoki, a supporter of President Obama, urged the young crowd to register to vote and make their voices heard. Students play hardball King High School students got the questions turned on them when TV host Chris Matthews addressed them Wednesday. Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews," is a 30-year friend of King government and history teacher Mark Johnson, who arranged his appearance. He asked students why some people tell pollsters one answer but vote differently. "It's easy to be prejudiced but hard to admit it," replied senior Sara Smith. Matthews said the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney is "very unpredictable" and encouraged students eligible to vote to do so. "Florida. You have so much power down here," he said. Hmmmm, food Before striding on stage and delivering the keynote address Tuesday night at the convention, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ate at The Palm Restaurant in Tampa's WestShore Plaza. His meal included a Caesar salad to start, a 9-ounce filet mignon cooked medium-rare and mixed berries for dessert. Mary Pat, his wife, ordered the swordfish. Earlier in the week, former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann had broiled salmon and a side of linguine. Christie also ate this week at Boca Kitchen Bar & Market on Platt Street. Honey Badger might care Randall, the singularly named creator of the wildly popular Internet meme "The Crazy Honey Badger," is taking advantage of the political spotlight shining on Tampa and is running for president. The Honey Badger 2012 campaign, to promote "Honey Badger" as a write-in candidate for the presidential election, kicked off in Ybor on Tuesday night. The YouTube star appears to be at least semi-serious in a blog on the Huffington Post this week, in which he wrote, "It will confuse government. Even if we get some votes, it sends the message, 'Hey! We've had enough!' And indeed, I truly believe, lovers, we have had enough." Will laugh for hugs The jokes about Tampa started before the taping of Wednesday's "Daily Show," at the Straz Center. Tampa City Councilwoman Lisa Montelione pleaded with host Jon Stewart to "say something nice about Tampa." Stewart joked, "Well there is a political convention going on, so why can't I lie too?" He noted that waiting in line to get into the show "must have been like standing on the surface of Venus." "I too have thought about living in a huge child's humidifier," he said. He carried the theme of Tampa's apparent insecurities throughout the show. "This state really needs a hug."
Michelle Bearden, Walt Belcher, Cloe Cabrera, Jeff Houck, Lenora Lake, Josh Poltilove, Christopher Spata and Rhianna Wardian contributed to this report.