- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 29, 2004

NEW YORK — There’s only one thing Edward Mazel’s mother wants him to bring back to New Mexico from the Republican National Convention, and it’s not a mini-Empire State building or an “I Love NY” T-shirt.

Elizabeth Hamilton insists on a picture of her single 23-year-old son with the Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara.

“My mom has been pushing me for the last two weeks to meet these two girls,” Mr. Mazel said.

It was the second question — after asking where he was — that Mr. Mazel’s mother, a real estate broker in Gallup, N.M., asked Saturday when he called.

Her motive? Mr. Mazel has his suspicions. “She thinks I’m gonna meet them and they’re gonna like me,” he said with a smile.

The goal yesterday was to get more information about an event where the Bush girls were to appear later in the evening.

“I gotta get in,” he said.

And if he gets his chance, Mr. Mazel said he already has his line prepared: “I’d really like to get a picture of you for my mother.”

Soldier in Iraq has proud grandma

NEW YORK — Like many grandmothers, Leila Cohoon carries photos of her grandchild in her purse for quick display to acquaintances.

Mrs. Cohoon’s grandson is an Army machine gunner deployed in Iraq. And she made a special point to bring his photos to the Republican National Convention as a quiet counter to the thousands of protesters upset that he’s there.

“Those people can protest,” said Mrs. Cohoon, 72, a convention delegate from Lake Lotawana, Mo. “He’s protecting them the same as the rest of us.”

For Mrs. Cohoon, there is no bigger issue facing President Bush than the war in Iraq, and she’s glad her grandson is there.

“I approve of everything Bush has done, and I approve us being over there,” she said while wearing a button of the president decked out in a military flight suit.

Delegate happy about tight security

NEW YORK — Iowa Republican delegate Keith Hunter said he wasn’t intimidated or inconvenienced by the police presence that enveloped the city as protesters lined the streets on the eve of the convention.

In fact, the first-time delegate from Des Moines, Iowa, said he’s never felt safer as he traveled the streets near the Madison Square Garden convention site, where dozens of police stood yesterday as protesters made their march.

Mr. Hunter, 46, said New York’s police officers are “quite the city’s ambassadors,” even stopping to pose for photos with delegates and tourists.

“I’m quite inspired by them,” he said.

Mr. Hunter added that a visit to the former World Trade Center site was a reminder of the need for tight security during the convention.

“If you can’t grasp the concept of homeland security after that, I don’t know what it’s going to take,” he said.

Moose hats ready as sartorial splendor

NEW YORK — It’s difficult to stand out in the sea of people on the convention floor, but New Hampshire delegates will be easy to find.

They plan to wear stuffed, fuzzy moose hats on Wednesday as they cast their ballots to renominate President Bush.

Sen. Judd Gregg sent the antlered headgear to delegates.

“I think they’re going to be the latest in New York fashion,” said Gregg staffer Joel Maiola.

“I’m not going hunting this year wearing this,” state Senate Majority Leader Bob Clegg said as he tried on his.

Moose are a big attraction in New Hampshire, whose economy is heavily based on tourism.

Floridians seek aid for hurricane victims

NEW YORK — Florida delegates are enjoying New York — the Broadway shows, the midtown Manhattan steakhouse dinners — but they haven’t forgotten about the thousands in their state still struggling to recover from Hurricane Charley.

Florida officials posted a sign at their hotel asking for help with the Hurricane Charley relief fund. As they traveled around town, they passed out pins featuring the fund’s Web address and phone number.

Several party leaders, including Gov. Jeb Bush, decided to skip the convention and stay home to focus on the relief effort.

“We’re really going to be focusing on helping our neighbors back home,” said Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings, chairman of the Florida delegation.

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