Here are a few random notes from the dusty desert trail...
Paul the Romantic Warrior Three days before the caucuses, Texas Congressman Ron Paul held a press conference at the Four Seasons in Las Vegas. At the media event, Paul gave a particularly parochial speech spending as much time on local matters as he typically spends decrying the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, foreign aid had the US monetary system.
Paul declared his opposition to depositing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, the delays by the federal government in granting tourist visas (important to a state economy heavily dependent on foreign visitors) and not taxing tips (important to waiters, bar maids and strippers- important segments of the Clark County electorate).
At the conclusion of the media event, Paul presented his wife Carol with a floral bouquet for their 55th anniversary.
The Great Wall of TP- Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney held a well-attended rally at a Las Vegas paper company's warehouse that same evening. In addition to having his standard campaign logo backdrop with Old Glory, Romney was flanked by pallets of cases of toilet paper. Advance team must have missed that detail.
Supporting Newt...Through Song- At the Liberty High School caucuselecs in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, one supporter of former US House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich chose to lobby his fellow participants via boom box. Inspired NY Gingrich's unapologetic support for space exploration, the caucus attendee played a song he both wrote and recorded after the space shuttle Challenger exploded. In addition to playing his tune, Dancers in the Sky, the Newt-NASA partisan brought along a collage he made with pictures of Gingrich and the Challenger crew. Though Newt fared poorly at his precinct, the space exploration advocate was selected as a delegate to the Clark County GOP convention.
First in the West, Last in Results- The Nevada GOP's second early caucuses were late with results. The Saturday morning caucuses' final tally was not announced until two days later despite the fact that almost all of the caucus tabulatiohs were conducted on site within an hour of each precinct meeting. The meetings I attended lacked
structure and organization and the Nevada state GOP seemed overwhelmed. Nevada was not alone dealing with controversy this early on the primary calendar. Iowa, which experienced a notorious miscount that gave former US Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania a tardy victory.