Conventions: Start the Speculation

It's only 32 months before summer 2008: time to start speculating about where the Dems and GOP will hold their conventions. Might a post-Katrina New Orleans emerge as a sentimental favorite? Stephen Perry, president of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the idea "is one we've obviously been thinking about. It's patriotic and it makes business and political sense for either party." The city made the GOP's top three in 2004, and RNC press secretary Tracey Schmitt said about the upcoming bids: "Any interest by New Orleans to host a convention will certainly be a testament to the resiliency of the city. [But] it's premature to speculate at this point." And New Orleans might make good sense for the Dems, reminding voters of the administration's feeble Katrina response. DNC press secretary Josh Earnest said, "We'd be pleased to consider the bid of a rebuilt New Orleans." The parties have said host cities should have at least 20,000 hotel rooms and a 20,000-seat arena. New Orleans expects to have nearly 38,000 rooms ready well before 2008--and a fully renovated Superdome.