At noon on Monday, I first announced a couple of awards. The governor obviously was in the hotel, since the dining room was ringed by a retinue of his aides, all dressed in black or dark blue suits. Most wore "P" pins. My recollection is someone told me to forge ahead and introduce him, even though he wasn't scheduled to appear until 12:30. (I might have done this on my own, admittedly. I was a bit rattled.) I read my introduction, which concluded, "Please join me in welcoming the 47th governor of the great state of Texas, Gov. Rick Perry."
It was really quiet when I shut up. Oddly, nobody clapped. I looked to my left, and our organization's paid professional was giving me the "cut!" sign. The governor wasn't present. He was out making phone calls somewhere. Our guy had unsuccessfully been trying to get my attention the entire time I was delivering the introduction, to tell me to hold off a few minutes.
I'm quite certain that this was the longest 20 minutes of my life. I stood on the stage for a time, thought about telling a joke (not that I can remember any), possibly performing a bit of soft-shoe. Luckily, newspaper types live for lunch. They started chowing down. Nobody booed me, at least that I could hear. So I sat down and drank iced tea.
The governor showed up on time. I wasn't about to reintroduce him, so I apologized for introducing him early, and assured him he wasn't late. He shook my hand really hard and for a long time. I could be wrong, but I think I was on the receiving end of the Evil Eye.
His speech was gracious and funny at times — the latter attribute is not one I associate with Rick Perry. He suggested we could improve our circulation over the next 18 months or so by running complimentary stories and photos of him on the front page every day. Not likely to happen, but the gesture toward humor was appreciated.
For the rest of the convention, I received a full measure of ribbing for the 20-minute delay between my introduction and the governor showing up. The good thing is he didn't realize I had rewritten the introduction — since he didn't hear it. That covey of aides listening looked a bit miffed, however.
Oh well. He's running for re-election again. I figure nobody is going to get all that bent out of shape with folks who still buy ink by the barrel.
And it was nice of him to show up.
And people wonder why print media is going out of business...