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Reporter's Notebook - August 16, 2000
By Mike Mulcahy
Part of's Democratic National Convention coverage.

When it comes to convention seating, you'd think the Independence Party was the dominant party in Minnesota.

You would think Minnesota delegates would get more respect after the state has voted so consistently for Democrats for president over the years. But no. As Republican delegates discovered at their convention in Philadelphia, 10 electoral votes don't exactly impress the people who make the seating charts. The Minnesota delegation is actually up in the bleachers, off the floor. And even Trent Lott's home-state delegates sit closer to the stage.


Your intrepid MPR crew is doing its part to cut down on smog in L.A. The car we rented runs on natural gas. And despite all the warnings we heard about L.A. traffic, we've been able to drive from the hotel to the convention center and park two blocks away every day. We have noticed, however, that most of L.A.'s other 14 million or so drivers don't seem quite as concerned about the air quality as we are.


Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin has been on a crusade to try to end soft money contributions at the Democratic Convention. He spoke earlier in the week at the so-called Shadow Convention. (Listen) and gave a three-minute speech to the real convention on Tuesday afternoon. The Los Angeles Times reports that as Feingold was telling the convention that soft money contributions must end about 300 people, including a number of Democratic senators, were attending a reception at the Armand Hammer Museum, hosted by Occidental Petroleum. The private party was one of 23 convention-week events for contributors to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, some of whom have given $100,000 or more.

Fillin' it up, California style.

He's in L.A. now. A couple weeks ago we told you about a guy named Jesse Ventuna who was hanging around the Philadelphia Shadow Convention impersonating Jesse Ventura. He even fooled some reputable publications that should have known better. Well, he's been hanging around L.A., too; he's has managed to get himself interviewed on some talk-radio stations. His real name is Richard Carmichael. He lives in L.A. and says he'd like to get a movie deal (or maybe a role in that Broadway play) playing the governor. He makes a point of not correcting people who think he's really Ventura (and lots of people do). His motto is, Looks like SEAL, smells like fish... it's Jesse Ventuna!

Mike Mulcahy's is MPR's senior political editor. You can reach him at