David is inside the conventional hall tonight (we’re sharing one credential, and it’s his turn), so I’m watching from a nearby restaurant. The scene outside is pretty surreal. MSNBC has a big stage set up in a park right in front of the hall, where they’re broadcasting live. Earlier today I was milling in the crowd, where I encountered the following:

  • A gaggle of “9-11 Truthers”
  • Some folks handing out “Jesus saves” literature
  • Some other people in shirts that read “Water of Life,” which I thought might be a group that works on water issues. Turns out they were also handing out Christian literature.
  • Some PETA people dressed in pig costumes bearing “Cut the Pork: Tax Meat!” signs
  • Scores of Ron Paul fans
  • Two young women selling these creepy flip-flops that feature tiny Obama and McCain heads
  • Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman
  • One former Hillary Clinton voter turned McCain supporter
  • Two women from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity handing out boxes of “clean coal” mints.

Strange times indeed here in St. Paul.

Speaking of strange, here’s an excerpt from Mitt Romney’s speech tonight: “We need change all right — change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington — throw out the big government liberals and elect John McCain.”

Last time I checked, George Bush was still in charge. But maybe I missed something?

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.