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Republican Convention Gets Going In Cleveland

Rabbi Ari Wolf opened the 2016 Republican Convention with a prayer in Hebrew. Rabbi Ari Wolf opened the 2016 Republican Convention with a prayer in Hebrew.
Rabbi Ari Wolf opened the 2016 Republican Convention with a prayer in Hebrew. Photo Credit: Lisa Wexler
Lisa Wexler Lisa Wexler
Lisa Wexler Photo Credit: File photo

Lisa Wexler hosts "The Lisa Wexler Show" weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. on WGCH-AM 1490.

She is in Cleveland covering the Republican Convention and filing reports for Daily Voice.

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Never having been here before, Cleveland has surprised me. The downtown is clean, albeit empty.

Funky alleys with cool restaurants known as arcades connect main arteries lined with stately buildings and monuments.

The suburbs are lush, the houses elegant, reminding me of Scarsdale and Larchmont. Uber drivers go out of their way to share what they know about their city, some with obvious pride, others with a direct candor about the problems they still face.

Security is everywhere. Everywhere. But the men and women in uniform are friendly and helpful. Eight-foot high black barricades line the boulevards.

Concrete barricades ensure that cars will not go where they are not wanted. The city has even taken out the large snowplows which line the streets as an extra warning that Cleveland will not suffer the same fate as Nice- should a truck driver go on a rampage, our civilian tanks will get in the way.

Conventions have their own code of caste, known as credentials. Badges of honor, access, privilege and status quite literally define where you go, and what you will see when you get there.

Five weeks ago, we submitted our names for secret service clearance, complete with a special photo ID badge. In this climate of fear, no one argues with the gatekeepers.

We are lucky. Due to a combination of factors, my producer and I have been given the tiptop of credentials. Watch carefully and you might even see us on TV tonight.

Reince Preibus, the GOP chairman, opened the convention with a Rabbi, Ari Wolff, who prayed in Hebrew. I’ve heard that song before, but sincerely doubt the majority of the audience had. Nonetheless, a telling sign that this Republican Party is courting the Jewish vote, big-time.

The RNC is showing the contrast between itself and the Democratic Party whose leadership fought for the first time over whether to support Israel at all in the platform, reinforcing that contrast by choosing Linda Lingle, former governor of Hawaii, to speak specifically on that topic.

When Preibus motioned for approval for Mitch McConnell as temporary party chair, a chorus of yeas was followed by a very loud chorus of boos. Preibus chose to recognize the yeas as having won, by voice vote.

The protests you’ve heard about? None coming close to the arena. Tonight is Make America Safe again. Melania Trump is the highlight of the evening. Everyone here is really looking forward to hearing her speak.

One interesting note: the titles of the persons associated with the Trump campaign are business titles, things like COO, instead of Campaign Chair. You get the idea that the people who occupy these jobs take them seriously, as they would a regular career.

Today Ed Cox, chair of the NY Delegation, stopped by to chat with me on the show. I’ve got lots more to share, but you need to tune in at 4 PM, on AM 1490 wgch or to find out. Also, subscribe to us on iTunes podcast.

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