Rich Galen
The Republican National Convention starts on Monday in Tampa, Florida.

I will be there but I have a very, VERY limited range of assignments, so I am likely to spend most of the four days sitting in my hotel room doing my regular work. My first convention was 1980 in Detroit (Reagan/H.W Bush) 32 years ago.

I was not zero years old when I went there as press secretary to Congressman Dan Quayle who was running for Senate from Indiana.

One outlet estimated there will be up to 15,000 journalists in Tampa. There will be 2,286 delegates (if everyone shows up).

According to my iPad calculator about 6½ reporters per delegate.

Happily for the reporters there will also be several thousands of official protesters who will be permitted to officially protest within the official protest area - an area which has been agreed to by the Republican National Committee, the cops, and some loose confederation of protester groups.

This is actually a good thing. The protesters know where they can act out. The cops know the protesters are allowed to act out there; the reporters know where they have to go to get interviews, footage, and/or sound of the protesters acting out and we get to show the Russians that we don't arrest people for acting out; and, people like me can go and remember when we were in college - and fueled by 3.2 percent beer - were fully capable of acting out, too.

In addition to the space rented by the major news outlets - the neworks; the wire services, the major print newspapers and - now - the major on-line outlets there will also be Radio Row, Blogger Alley, and a massive filing center where smaller outlets (like, back in the day, Mullings) will have rented one seat among many at a long table, among many.

I unabashedly lay claim to having invented the "Truth Squad" at the other guy's convention.

It was back in 1984. I was the communications director of the National Republican Congressional Committee and I convinced my boss, Joe Gaylord, that I could mount a relatively inexpensive effort to provide alternative programming during the Democrats' convention in San Francisco.

Joe, ahead of his time as always, agreed to let me put together a small team of people and we packed up a couple of IBM-PCs (pretty new at the time), and just about everything else we thought we might need and we headed off to the west coast.

The idea was this: By the time the convention actually starts, reporters have interviewed everyone of interest and by day two they are standing in line to speak to the guy selling Richard Nixon bobble-head dolls.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at