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August 31st, 2012
01:15 AM ET

Reaction to Clint Eastwood's RNC speech

Anderson Cooper and CNN's analysts and strategists talk about Clint Eastwood's memorable speech at the RNC.

August 30th, 2012
10:59 PM ET

Letters to the President #1319: 'Highlights… and Lowlights from the convention'

Reporter's Note: I write to President Obama all the time. I’m sure we’re both tired of it. Ha!

Dear Mr. President,

I just wanted to run down a few of the odd moments I’ve encountered during my stay at the Republican convention here in Tampa. I’m sure I’ll get a whole new collection of them next week at your Democratic gathering too, but I thought I’d pass these along in the meantime.

-I went for a run along the waterfront and saw an osprey flying overhead holding a small fish which kept wiggling. (Who could blame it?) Moments later I spotted a wet, dirty Santa Claus hat on the shore. It was like jogging through a David Lynch film.

-While roaming around the convention hall, I was set upon by a man who wanted to hold an extended conversation about redistribution of wealth. No matter how times I assured him that I am a journalist and accordingly have no opinion that I’d care to share on the matter, he kept after me like a dog on a pork chop.

-I passed a giant fiberglass elephant in a hotel lobby, went into the men’s room, and while an attendant refreshed the towel supply, I heard Janis Joplin singing on the speakers overhead. “Take another little piece of my heart…” It just seemed peculiar.

-While waiting in line for a Cuban sandwich, I heard some woman in line behind me come completely unhinged about something that had happened in some behind the scenes meeting about the vote in Virginia. I have no idea what she was talking about, but she was really going at it.

-Kid Rock performed (at least so I am told) somewhere, and very late in the night as we headed back to our hotel we passed a river of very happy young Republicans who told us it was awesome.

-And last, but far from least, I saw some sort of protester… heaven knows what his cause was… wearing a rubber boot upside down on his head, and blowing into a plastic, inflatable bat. When it was full, he proceeded to yell some phrase I could not possibly make out and started whacking himself on the head. It was wild.

That’s it for now. As you can probably tell, after a week of talking politics, listening to speeches, watching interviews, and running into politicos around every corner, I’m getting balmy. Hope you are well. Call if you can.

Regards,
Tom

August 30th, 2012
10:14 PM ET

RNC: What does Romney need to do tonight?

CNN's panel of analysts and strategists talk about what they think Mitt Romney needs to do to win over the RNC crowd.

August 30th, 2012
10:09 PM ET

Fact or fiction? Paul Ryan's RNC speech

Anderson Cooper and CNN's political panel discuss whether parts of Ryan's speech were factual or not.

Tonight on CNN – Live at the Republican National Convention
August 30th, 2012
07:30 PM ET

Tonight on CNN – Live at the Republican National Convention

Watch special coverage tonight from 7 p.m. – 1 a.m. ET.  Anderson is reporting live at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Anderson will talk to CNN Correspondents throughout the convention hall previewing and fact-checking the speeches.

August 29th, 2012
11:49 PM ET

Letters to the President #1318: 'Being Normal'

Reporter's Note: I write to President Obama every day.

Dear Mr. President,

One of the more tiring aspects of all the security around a political convention these days is the feeling you have of being trapped once you are inside. No dashing away for a quick-lunch, or a cup of coffee (I mean, if I liked coffee) or a quiet phone conversation away from the hubbub. No, once you are in, you’re pretty much there for the day.

Not that this will ever be a problem for you again. Think about that: You will never have to wait in a line, or be anyplace you don’t want to be for very long ever again in your life. Actually, I suppose that second part is not entirely true. I’m sure whether you win or lose in November, you’ll spend a fair portion of your time forever more sitting at dinners, and ribbon cuttings, and committee meetings, and fundraisers, and all those things associated with the unique purgatory reserved for former presidents.

Still, you can’t complain. At least you won’t be forced to tolerate all those day-to-day inconveniences that the rest of us face; long lines at stores, or exhaustive searches for parking spaces, or conventions where you are trapped by the security.

Which, I must say, is a shame. Whenever I attend a big political event like this, I am struck by the notion that pretty much everyone who is a really big name enjoys privileges which normal folks can only dream of. So how are those “leaders” supposed to really understand life as regular Americans know it? Oh sure, you all say you get it; that you recall your childhood or your days as a young adult when you ate noodles for every meal and shared an apartment with three other guys. But I have found that the realities of status very quickly make true sympathy for those who struggle grow faint.

I know it would be impossible, but sometimes I wish the people who are our leaders would lead much, much, much more average lives; that they would drive themselves to work, and get struck in traffic, and have to argue with the bank, and get baseball tickets the way the rest of us do… not through special connections to special friends. Maybe it would change nothing, but maybe it would change everything.

Sorry that this letter is a bit disjointed, but I am writing it in the midst of a convention crowd with a storm of noise all around me, after eating a barbecue sandwich off a plate balanced on my knee. Hope all is well with you.

Call if you can.

Regards,
Tom

Hurricane Isaac Videos: Anderson Cooper reporting in Louisiana
August 29th, 2012
07:57 PM ET

Hurricane Isaac Videos: Anderson Cooper reporting in Louisiana

As Tropical Storm Isaac gained strength in the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend Anderson flew from the Republican National Convention in Tampa to New Orleans.

On Tuesday, shortly after 11 a.m. CDT Isaac was upgraded to a Category 1 storm according to the National Hurricane Center. At 6:45 p.m. CDT the National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated that Isaac made a first landfall along the coast of southeast Louisiana in the marshland of Plaquemines Parish, southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. After wobbling back over the water near the mouth of the Mississippi River, Isaac then made a second landfall at about 2 a.m. CDT near Port Fourchon, 60 miles southeast of New Orleans, according to an early morning update by the National Hurricane Center.

Watch Anderson's reports below... FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Hurricane Isaac • Hurricanes • Isaac
August 29th, 2012
12:29 AM ET

Behind the scenes: Hurricane Isaac

Behind the scenes photos of Anderson and his CNN team in the field covering Hurricane Isaac.

Post by:
Filed under: Behind The Scenes • Hurricane Isaac • Hurricanes • Isaac • Susan Chun
August 28th, 2012
10:24 PM ET

Letters to the President #1317: 'Reporting live… from a galaxy long ago and far, far away'

Reporter's Note: President Obama receives a letter from me each day. Or at least I send one. Heaven knows if he receives it.

Dear Mr. President,

Walking around the convention down here in Tampa, I feel as if I have fallen through some sort of wormhole in the time-space continuum, landing somewhere in… oh say, the 1890’s. And no, that’s not a crack about Republicans. It is the whole convention gig.

There is just something about the whole affair that seems like it comes from another time: People wearing funny hats and strange clothing, like the old couple I saw today in all yellow suits with these giant Uncle Sam hats; folks walking through Robert’s Rules of Order and waving signs and cheering; barbershop quartets standing on corners singing patriotic medleys; protesters milling around (as close as they can get which is admittedly not very close) balloons, buttons, t-shirts… you get the picture.

In some ways, it is wonderful. It is nice to see people who care about their country and its leadership enough to come to an event like this, enduring the traffic and security checks, and gauntlets of media folks. In other ways, it’s peculiar. Conventions are, of course, no longer about any surprises. Everyone knows ahead of time who will be nominated and when and where and how it will happen. Sure, they may hoot and holler about some planks in the platform. Well, to be honest, by the time it reaches this point the most you’ll hear is a little wrangling over the splinters.

It all becomes a kind of pageant, and I think that is why it seems sort of anachronistic.

Still, it is kind of fun being here. I chatted briefly today with my old colleagues Sam Donaldson and Jeff Greenfield. I interviewed Jon Voight. I met some nice teenagers from California who are here to learn about government. And I ran into countless old friends in the business.

So while I suspect the monumental cost and daunting logistics may someday drive the conventions into extinction, for now guess I’m glad to see the pageant go on for both parties and for all of us who get to watch.

Call if you can, although I may have trouble hearing the phone over all the cheering Republicans.

Regards,
Tom

Tonight on CNN: RNC, Hurricane Isaac
August 28th, 2012
07:29 PM ET

Tonight on CNN: RNC, Hurricane Isaac

Watch 7p – 12a ET for live coverage of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Anderson Cooper reports live tonight on Hurricane Isaac from the Mississippi riverfront in New Orleans. At 1 a.m. ET tune in to see "Best of the RNC Convention Speeches". FULL POST

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