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Convention Organizers Refuse to Say the S-Word

Politics: San Diego and GOP officials prefer to call the site intimate. TV executives call it s-m-a-l-l.


Not to worry. Fifty-five 70-inch television monitors will dot the hall, and two 6-foot-by-6-foot "video walls" will flank the podium.

Balloons may be a different matter. Nothing in the Constitution requires a cascade of red-white-and-blue balloons but they have become a fixture at conventions.

Dole, in a quickie inspection of the convention center this spring, worried that the 27 1/2-foot high ceiling would not be conducive to a balloon drop. The ceiling at the United Center in Chicago, where the Democrats will hold their convention, is 136 feet.

William Greener III, the Republican convention manager, declined to say whether there will a balloon drop come Aug. 16, the final day of the convention.

Among the San Diego organizers and GOP officials, it is an article of faith that, balloons or no balloons, the intimate convention will be the wave of the future.

"After the San Diego convention, the day of holding these conventions in 120-degree heat in the Northeast and South in these big empty barns will be over," said Evans, president of the center's board of directors. "San Diego is changing all the ground rules for conventions."

Perry reported from San Diego, Randolph from New York.

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