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A few ‘brave’ Democrats join in ‘Convention Conversations,’ too

So, with 45,000 GOP delegates and media members in town for the Republican National Convention, what do folks of other political persuasions do?

The brave join in.

A panel discussion on VP candidate Sarah Palin brought Democrats Alan Zdrazil and wife Sally Mortenson of St. Paul to today’s breakfast and a “Convention Conversation,” sponsored by Yahoo!, Politico.com and the Pioneer Press’ Twin Cities.com.

Up for discussion were the “risks and rewards” Palin brings to the ticket. The panel included three members from Congress, the Idaho lieutenant governor and a political consultant.

Zdrazil even went to the mic to ask: If Palin had been a Democratic candidate with a 17-year-old unmarried daughter expecting a baby, wouldn’t the Republicans establishment “be going crazy” and tsk-tsking loud enough to be heard around the globe?

The Repubs on stage pretty much avoided the question, choosing instead to “bless her heart” and credit her for being “an ordinary American” with ordinary problems.  

Still, Zdrazil’s wife, Mortenson, said, “I think we’re just so lucky to be able to see and hear from all the media, politicians and Republicans who’ve come here to our backyard.’’

Attendee Carol Lappi, 66, of Roseville, who’s “sort of an independent, but leaning Democrat,” called respondents a “Sarah-Palin-is-God panel,” yet called this a “remarkable, historic election.’’

Her husband, Dick, who manages an eye clinic and considers himself an independent leaning right, said, “All of us have questions about Palin and want more insight.’’

Look here to RSVP for Wednesday’s discussion on how the GOP can retake Congress and Thursday’s talk about Republicans in the time of rising diversity.  – Cynthia Boyd

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