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News Blog

The Red Kool-Aid Stand: Pictures With Famous People

by Mike Winder
- Posted // 2012-08-29 -

You can read about the speeches of Ann Romney, Chris Christie, and Mia Love in plenty of other outlets. But this is the only forum where you can hear about all of the notables wandering around the RNC’s media center today!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, there is a national media fascination with trying to understand Mormons and how Mitt’s religion will play into the race. This hit home for me today when I was asked by Robin Young to discuss Mormonism and politics on her radio show Here and Now. You can hear the podcast here. And while it was terrific to be interviewed by a talented Peabody award-winning journalist on NPR, perhaps an even bigger kick was seeing the amazing folks who came through the media center that day. My Facebook friends know that one of my goofy hobbies is collecting photos with famous people, so as a collector of such pics I was in geek heaven. So, without further ado, here are a few of my new friends I met hanging around my first convention:

Jon Voight
I thought it was cool to be in an elevator with Time magazine’s Joel Klein, but soon after I ran into Jon Voight. Now, Jon may have starred in the Mountain Meadows Massacre movie September Dawn, but he is an Academy Award-winning actor and, most importantly, the father of Angelina Jolie, so I paused for a brief hello and a pic.

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Herman Cain
Mr. Godfather Pizza himself was there on “Radio Row” and was getting ready for an interview. He was nice to motion me over when I indicated I wanted a pic. And to think, there was a time when he was the frontrunner.
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David Gergen & Chuck Woolery
I know, I know -- what do a presidential adviser and CNN pundit, and the former game-show host of Love Connection have in common? The answer is they both like to give their opinions and were willing to pose for a pic after a joint radio interview. Gergen was one of my professors at a Harvard executive program I attended in 2002 and told me today he is a huge fan of Jon Huntsman Sr.
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Geraldo Rivera
A unique handful of personalities in this world are sufficiently known by just their first name, and Geraldo is one of them. After he interviewed Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch on Radio Row, we visited for a bit about Utah and posed for a picture. He says he loves to ski in Park City.
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John Bolton
Discussing the need for better support for Israel, I enjoyed former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. Bright guy, and likely someone who will influence foreign-policy thinkers in a potential Romney administration. However, Bolton lacked the mustache gusto that nearby Geraldo had. Either way, Murray Mayor Dan Snarr has them both beat!
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Sam Donaldson
Bob Schieffer of CBS was walking too briskly to catch for a photo, but ABC News’ Sam Donaldson, who's 78, was a little slower, so I caught up with him. He was very gentlemanly and has been an institution at ABC since 1967—that’s even before Hatch was first elected!
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Stephen Baldwin
Question: Which Baldwin brother would be most comfortable at a convention where the Oakridge Boys led the delegates in singing all verses of “Amazing Grace”? The answer, of course, is Stephen. Much more religious than big bro Alec, Stephen was a big hit on Radio Row today.
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Josh Romney
Certainly the most famous of the Utah delegation in Tampa, the middle son of Mitt and Ann was a big hit when he spoke to the Utah group on Monday. I bumped into Josh just as he was heading out of the CNN Convention Café, and since I was on my photo spree: 
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Wolf Blitzer
Not long after Josh Romney left the CNN Café, out came Wolf Blitzer, who has been a commanding presence at CNN since 1990. I've got to tell you, of all the big names I met on this big day, Wolf gave me the biggest thrill. I always associate Wolf with delivering the big political news on election night, and he brings a great electricity both on camera and off. His staffer kept pushing the wrong buttons on my camera phone and Wolf was very gracious to let her do it four tries until she figured it out.
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Bill Kristol
I would have been more excited to meet Billy Crystal, but this is the Republican convention, so it will have to be Bill Kristol. Still, as the founder of The Weekly Standard, this frequent Fox News pundit is a pretty bright guy and was fun to talk with.
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Rand Paul
The Tea Party senator from Kentucky was a huge hit at the convention, needless to say, and talked to me about how much he likes Utah Sen. Mike Lee. Paul also says he is ready for his big speech Wednesday night. I’m looking forward to that and the rest of the convention.
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(All photos courtesy Mike Winder)

- - - -

Mike Winder is mayor of West Valley City and former candidate for Salt Lake County mayor (he came in second to Mark Crockett in the recent GOP primary race). He also made a name for himself recently writing under the infamous pen name of Richard Burwash as a Deseret News writer, a lapse he hopes to atone for in his forthcoming reports from the RNC convention.
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