Convention Diary

The actor-turned-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is billed to speak in the Garden tonight but there are very few other A-list celebrities in town to keep him company, most having sensibly fled town before the convention began. This is bad for the news networks, who are scrambling to find anyone with even a few watts of star power to leaven their political coverage. Clever old Fox News, therefore, which has reportedly recruited U2's lead singer, Bono, to appear on the popular
The O'Reilly Factor political talk show tomorrow - expect fireworks ...

The actor-turned-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is billed to speak in the Garden tonight but there are very few other A-list celebrities in town to keep him company, most having sensibly fled town before the convention began. This is bad for the news networks, who are scrambling to find anyone with even a few watts of star power to leaven their political coverage. Clever old Fox News, therefore, which has reportedly recruited U2's lead singer, Bono, to appear on the popular The O'Reilly Factor political talk show tomorrow - expect fireworks ...

"Is this a good place to get a taxi?" a disoriented delegate asks, standing outside Macy's. Well, on any normal New York day, yes, but not this morning. Out-of-town conventioneers and foreign reporters find themselves marooned in a no-man's land between miles of police barriers just a block from Madison Square Garden. Empty taxis were speeding by but overzealous police officers were not about to let them stop. Pedestrians, even lost ones, are not welcome here either. No choice but to burn some shoe leather.

Indeed, they say that New York is a city for walking and this week will be no exception. Journalists could tramp around the press centre in the Farley Post Office building across 8th Avenue from the convention as well as the cavernous Garden itself all day without retracing their steps. Thank goodness for the goodie bag distributed to all reporters as they checked in, which included this little gift from the Pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca: a pedometer. By noon yesterday this reporter covered 1.9kms ... and that was just getting to the coffee machine.

Black America may be disappointed with the African-American line-up at the convention. Neither Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, nor Condoleezza Rice, the National Security Adviser, will be taking the podium. Indeed, Coh-lin is not coming to New York at all, prompting speculation that he could not stomach so many Republicans in one room. But assistance is on the way from Erika Harold, who speaks today and is black, compelling and beautiful. Ms Harold, in case you are wondering, was Miss America 2003. Maybe she can do the near impossible and get out the black vote for Bush. Not speaking, but making plenty of music at the Garden, meanwhile, will be the Harlem Boys Choir...

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