Republican National Convention

Here's the above-the-fold headline on Sunday's Miami Herald: "Ryan could hurt Romney in Florida."

At the end of August, the eyes of the political world turn to Tampa, Fla., for the Republican National Convention. It promises to dominate the national and local news in Tampa Bay that week and suck all the political air out of the room.

So if you're the Obama campaign, what do you do? How do you counterprogram Romney-palooza?

Apparently, by buying lots of TV airtime on The Bachelor, Dr. Oz and Rachael Ray.

Romney's VP Pick

Aug 11, 2012

[View the story "Romney's VP Pick" on Storify]Here's what people in the Tampa Bay area have to say about Mitt Romney's running mate choice, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.

Fifty-thousand people are expected to pour into Tampa for the Republican National Convention.

By day, they’re expected to attend meetings, patronize shops, and fill restaurants.

By night, high-end escorts hope some convention goers will be spending their time with them.

Prostitution in the Tampa Bay area is expected to increase during the Republican National Convention. But will that lead to the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases?

We asked that question of a county health official, a high-end escort, and an academic expert. The answer is complicated.

When it comes to heat exhaustion, local health officials are planning to hand out fliers to educate convention-goers. But the Hillsborough County Health Department is not planning anything special to deal with the STD threat.

A forum on knowing your rights when it comes to demonstrating during the upcoming Republican National Convention was held Tuesday night at the University of Tampa. Audience members heard there be a fine line between what police will tolerate - and what they won't.

Bobbie O'Brien

The economic benefits of hosting the Republican National Convention are touted often, but who would have imagined that Tampa Bay Lightning fans would reap some of the rewards.

To accommodate the RNC at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the Lightning is temporarily closing down its merchandise store on the western plaza.

“The area will be taken over by the RNC much like most of the, some of the office space and a lot of the under, the parking garage and everything will all be taken over,” said Brian Breseman, media relations manager for the Lightning.

Here's some cool time-lapse photography that shows the transformation underway at the Tampa Bay Times Forum as we prepare for the RNC.

It begins with the removal of the turf for Tampa's arena football team.

About halfway through, you can see the main stage taking shape.

We expect to see the completion of the preparations in the RNC's next video.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

Today marks one month before the start of the Republican National Convention. But many of the people coming to Tampa won't be sharing in the coronation of Mitt Romney - they'll be out in the streets, protesting what they say are the party's policies towards the less fortunate.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will host three town hall meetings to answer questions and discuss the Republican National Convention’s impacts on residents and area businesses.

August 14, 2012–     The Florida Aquarium – Taylor Great Room

701 Channelside Drive  

Tampa, FL 33602

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

August 15, 2012–     Stetson University - Smith Court Room 

1700 North Tampa Street  

Tampa, FL 33602

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

August 16, 2012–     Kate Jackson Community Center

This is a news release from the Department of Homeland Security:

Law Enforcement and Public Safety Agencies Announce Security Restrictions and Transportation Plan for the 2012 Republican National Convention

Tampa Parking Restrictions and Road Closures

Bobbie O'Brien

Republican National Convention organizers have felt the sting of criticism that previous conventions didn’t benefit most small businesses when the big political party came to town.

The Tampa Bay Host Committee has been working to change that perception holding seminars and setting up an online Small Business Directory to help small businesses get their piece of the pie.

Sporting an impeccable coiffure and fashionable earrings, hair stylist Jessica Wilson signed up for the Host Committee’s workshop on how to build your customer base using Facebook.

Later this summer, Republicans will gather in Tampa, Fla., for their presidential nominating convention; Democrats will then do the same in Charlotte, N.C. Each party gets more than $18 million in public funds this year to help pay for the gatherings.

The money comes from that $3 box that taxpayers can check on their federal tax returns. But this could be the last time party conventions get taxpayer funding.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

When the attention of the political world turns to Tampa in August for the Republican National Convention, groups like Occupy Tampa say they'll be ready. They've been active for nearly a year, and are planning non-violent protests around the city.

On a recent Saturday night, about 20 people gathered in a circle to plan for the protests. They're at a postage-stamp sized park that's been the site for Occupy Tampa for many months now.

The sun has finally gone down after a blistering hot day. A young man starts to speak:

More than 15,000 protesters are expected to flood the city of Tampa in August for the Republican National Convention.

We asked three Tampa-area activists what they stand for and what they hope to accomplish:

You know things are going badly when the person at the front of the room has to say, "This is not going well." The fireworks at Iowa's Republican State Convention began even before lunchtime Saturday. At one point during the day, the parliamentarian threatened to kick out the next person who tried to speak out of order.

If Saturday's convention is any indication, Mitt Romney may not be in for smooth sailing at this summer's national convention in Florida.

While Mitt Romney has a virtual lock on the Republican presidential nomination, fans of Rep. Ron Paul of Texas aren't quite giving up.

While they know he won't be president, they're still working to promote Paul's ideas. And they've started with state conventions, like the one in Iowa this weekend, where political observers are anticipating some fireworks.

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor says she's ready for the Republican National Convention.

That doesn't mean she is underestimating what a huge security challenge this is.

"I knew from doing my research that this was probably going to be the biggest event that I would be involved in, in my law enforcement career," Castor said in an interview with WUSF's Florida Matters.

Sarah Pusateri / WUSF

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor dropped by the WUSF studios this morning for a talk on how preparations are going for the upcoming Republican National Convention. More than 50,000 people are expected to descend on Tampa for the four-day event.

While Castor says the majority of people who come to the convention will be peaceful, police are prepared for the minority whose intentions are anything but.

"The eyes of the world will be upon us," she says.

The numbers are impressive: 50,000 visitors, including 15,000 members of the media from around the world. But what concerns Tampa police are the relative handful of people whose mission is to disrupt the upcoming Republican National Convention.

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