By Betsy Rothstein - 09/01/08 08:10 PM EDT
For weeks, the public relations team for the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) has heavily promoted an event in Minneapolis during the Republican National Convention showcasing Hadassah Lieberman, wife of Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), the lone member of the upper chamber to caucus with the Democrats but support Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) bid for the presidency.
Hadassah Lieberman was scheduled to speak at a Minneapolis Neiman Marcus event that would include a silent auction and fashion show. The RJC offered credentials for it, even a concrete RSVP. The only stipulation was that no cameras would be allowed; the organization had hired its own photographer.
But late Monday night, media learned that there would be no press coverage for the senator’s wife and no journalists could attend. RJC provided no formal reason why media were shut out of the event.
When asked, RJC spokeswoman Suzanne Kurtz wrote by e-mail, “Not sure. Space, I think.”
No takers for slumber party at Bachmann’s
As an unofficial host for this week’s Republican National Convention, Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann made a gracious gesture to her colleagues who would be coming from out of town: She offered them her home.
Just before Congress let out for August recess, Bachmann told ITK that she would be happy to accommodate those fellow GOP Congress members who had asked about staying at her house for the convention. After all, there would be plenty of space, she said.
“We had 23 foster kids and five biological kids, so there’ll be a few empty beds,” Bachmann said.
But it seems as though those colleagues interested in bunking up with Bachmann this week found other places to stay. Her spokeswoman, Mary Vought, said last week that no members will be staying with Bachmann during the convention.
Perhaps the congresswoman had to kindly retract her offer; Vought said the Bachmann clan is moving and just closed on their new house Friday.
GOP pundit arrives happily to Minnesota hotel after staying in Denver dump
After what he explains was a horrid hotel experience in Denver, John Feehery, a Republican pundit and former spokesman for ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), arrived with a sigh of relief to the Courtyard Marriott in Bloomington, Minn., on Saturday afternoon.
When his Denver cab pulled up to the Days Inn where he was staying for the Democratic National Convention, he was taken aback as the driver told him that crack whores occupied 95 percent of the hotel rooms. To the hotel’s credit, Feehery said, he never saw such occupants.
But it wasn’t a joyful experience, either.
“It was a disaster,” Feehery said while downtown in Minneapolis on Sunday night. “It was far away from everything and it was filthy. I don’t think I got fleas, but I’m not sure.”
Meanwhile, he sang the praises of the Courtyard Marriott.
‘Daily Show’s’ Jon Stewart and cast member John Oliver head to Twin Cities
Those flying to the Twin Cities from Denver on Saturday might have spotted the host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” or funny English cast member John Oliver.
Stewart was spotted on board a Northwest Airlines flight in first class, even as veteran journalist Sam Donaldson and conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks roughed it in coach.
“We’re going to have some fun,” Stewart said of the Republicans. Stewart was casually dressed in a T-shirt and Mets cap.
Oliver was spotted late Saturday afternoon in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport baggage claim, scurrying through at a frenetic pace with a smile on his face.
Filmmaker begrudgingly chooses Twin Cities over Venice with Charlize Theron
It’s a hard choice, isn’t it? Venice, Italy, with girlfriend Charlize Theron or Minneapolis/St. Paul for the GOP convention and a party you don’t support.
Filmmaker Stuart Townsend chose the Republican National Convention in the Twin Cities, even as Theron traveled to Italy for the Venice Film Festival. He’s promoting his film “Battle in Seattle,” about the contentious international trade meetings in Seattle in 1999.
Townsend attended a party Sunday night in downtown Minneapolis amid a crowd of young Republicans and convention-goers. Rock the Vote and MySpace sponsored the event as part of the Impact Film Festival, which was a salute to the Screen Actors Guild. Local band The Alarmists performed, and Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington attended.
Townsend, who directed the festival’s opening film, said he wants to expose the work to as many people as possible, including Republicans, although he seemed to fall for Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) in Denver.
“If I could vote, I would vote for Obama because he’s the better guy,” the Irish-born Townsend said of Obama, the Democratic Party’s nominee. “If I thought McCain was the better guy, I’d vote for him.
“I drank the Kool-Aid, yeah!” he shouted, pounding his fist into the air.
He called Obama’s acceptance speech “amazing,” but explained, “I don’t believe he [Obama] can deliver all those promises. I don’t think anyone can. In Ireland people would laugh you off the stage, [saying,] ‘Get the f--k out of there.’ ”
Still, he reasons: “There’s a genuineness about him. That’s kind of rare for a politician.”
Asked what it’s like to date a famous movie star, he remarked, “It’s my life. I don’t really look at her as a famous movie star.” Townsend joked that he and Theron drank the Obama Kool-Aid together and chanted, “Yes we can.”