If all had gone according to plan, California Republicans would have been rubbing elbows with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at the swank Nicollet Island Pavilion in Minneapolis. But the Governator, who supports the McCain-Palin GOP presidential ticket, was a no-show. Citing wrangling over the budget as his priority -- putting state first -- the governor stayed in Sacramento.
To help delegates to the Republican National Convention suffering from possible Arnold withdrawal, state party officials handed out DVDs of movies that Schwarzenegger starred in over the years, including "Conan," "Terminator 3," "Junior" and "Kindergarten Cop."
Visitors were told they could take one each, but some made off with more. A few tipsy delegates wondered aloud which one they should take. A sticker on each package said it was "compliments" of Schwarzenegger and the Motion Picture Assn. of America.
Not on the table of free movies was "Jingle All the Way," in which Schwarzenegger the dad does whatever it takes to get his son a toy he wants for Christmas. A bartender at the event -- and who would know better? -- said that a scene in the movie, which was set in the Twin Cities, was filmed in the same reception hall where the delegates were milling about.
Other non-Arnold movies were handed out too -- including "Live Free or Die Hard" and "Atonement" (which seemed like what the governor was trying for).
Former presidential candidate and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was also a no-show at the delegate reception Tuesday night. Instead of sending DVDs, he sent Meg Whitman, the former CEO of EBay and a Romney friend. Whitman, a key member of his national finance committee, is reported to be pondering a run of her own for the state's open governor's office in 2010.
Pete Wilson, the former GOP governor of the Golden State, was there. So he didn't have to hand out anything.
-- James Hohmann