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Politics / Issues

Tampa Dissed Again for Being Republican National Convention Host

Is the city of Tampa "unromantic and sullen"?

That's what Garance Franke-Ruta, senior editor at The Atlantic, said about Tampa in a blog post.

It's the latest in a series of slights, put-downs and disses Tampa is receiving as it prepares to host the Republican National Convention in August.

As proof of our sullenness, Franke-Ruta cites a Gallup poll which shows Tampa Bay residents as the most pessimistic about the economy in the country, except for Buffalo.

That's not too surprising, since Tampa Bay was hit especially-hard by the housing crisis and the BP oil spill.

But there are signs the economy here is picking up. The Tampa region is leading Florida in job creation in the last 12 months, with more than 20,000 jobs created. Its unemployment rate of 9 percent for Hillsborough and Pinellas counties is still higher than the national average, but coming down fast.

Franke-Ruta says the GOP might have been wise to pick Tampa as the backdrop for its convention:

To the extent that Tampa and its surroundings remain economically depressed by summer, full of struggling people and underwater mortgages, look for the RNC convention site to become an exhibit for the prosecution in the case again President Obama's stewardship of the economy that Romney and the Republicans will be making on the national stage in August. Either way, unromantic and sullen Tampa is looking like a smart political choice for the GOP this cycle -- and like a city that will be especially grateful for the economic boon the political conventions inevitably provide.

I still don't see how being pessimistic makes Tampa unromantic and sullen. Have they walked along St. Petersburg waterfront at night? Or jogged up Bayshore Boulevard on a foggy Tampa morning?

But expect the random shots at Tampa to continue. Remember this exchange between The Daily Show's Wyatt Cynac and Jon Stewart?

Stewart: So God will actually be in Tampa come August?

Cynac: Have you been to Tampa? That place is a sh*thole.

Stewart: But God did create it?

Cynac: Mysterious ways, Jon.