OGDEN — Weber State University student body officers Andrew Gardiner and Abe Saucedo had trouble describing their opportunity on the floor at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday.
“I have nothing to compare it to,” said Gardiner, WSU student body president. “It’s its own thing.”
Whatever it was the pair experienced, said Saucedo, WSU Clubs and Organizations vice-president, it moved people to tears.
Saucedo and Gardiner are volunteers at the GOP convention this week in Tampa, Fla.
When the two are not helping media with their early-morning television remotes from the Tampa Times Forum and Tampa Bay Convention Center, Saucedo and Gardiner told the Standard-Examiner, they find time to attend the Utah delegation parties and be treated like dignitaries. That included sitting on the floor with the Utah delegation when Mitt Romney received the number of delegate votes needed to be the party’s nominee for president.
“The whole night (Gardiner and I) had floor passes,” Saucedo said.
That meant the students got to rub shoulders with Rep. Brad Dee, R-Riverdale, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch and Gov. Gary Herbert.
Herbert complimented them and had a member of the security detail take their picture together, Saucedo said.
But the highlight for the pair was Ann Romney’s speech, which moved some people in the crowd to tears, Saucedo said. They also enjoyed the unannounced visit by her husband, Mitt Romney.
“It was like watching two of your heroes, together,” Saucedo said.
Gardiner had a more difficult time trying to put the experience into words.
“I want to find an Ann Romney. I want to be like Mitt (Romney),” he said.
During Ann Romney’s speech, he said, he could sense the love she has for her husband as being real.
Dee, describing what he experienced while at the convention Tuesday, said, “I would almost call it electric.”
He said during Ann Romney’s speech he made it a point to leave the floor and go sit with his wife, Marsha, who was many rows up in the convention center.
“It was really an emotional speech for us,” he said, “because it touched family values.”
It’s likely that what the WSU students were experiencing was the emotion of the moment, Dee said.
All three — Dee, Gardiner and Saucedo — said they also enjoyed the speech given by Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Saucedo said what he has learned from serving as a convention intern is that he likes Mitt Romney “100 times more” now than before he came.
“There is no better man for the job (of president),” he said.
But despite the once-in-a-lifetime experience, there will be no extra credit for the pair.
Because Gardiner and Saucedo have been missing class since Monday, they recognize the need to work hard to catch up upon returning to school.
They are both taking classes in their major, which is accounting, and are not enrolled in any political science classes, Saucedo said. As a result, he said, he is not anticipating receiving any extra credit in his classes for the long hours he has been putting in while in Florida.
But Gardiner was happy about getting some “face time” with Utah leaders, even though he doesn’t foresee politics in his future.