MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” originates this week from Howl at the Moon, a bar just outside the convention center in Tampa that has been dubbed “Morning Joe Elephant Bar” for the duration of the Republican National Convention.
This morning, people arrived as early as 4:45 a.m. — just a few hours after last call at the bar, which is remaining open at night this week — to watch the show.
During commercial breaks, hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski interacted with the crowd, asking for a show of hands on political affiliation (split down the middle, with a handful of independents) and home state (overwhelmingly Florida, although there are a few stragglers from as far as Maine and Arizona). After he finished his segments, former RNC chairman Michael Steele mingled with the crowd, shaking hands and taking pictures.
“I love the energy. We live for these shows,” Willie Geist tells TVNewser. “Four years ago during the primaries we started doing them in Iowa and New Hampshire, and we totally got the bug.”
In addition to Chuck Todd and David Gregory, Scarborough and Brzezinski’s guests today included Grover Norquist, Eugene Robinson and Mike Murphy.
“So many of these politicians and strategists we talk to on remote sometimes,” Geist said. “It’s nice to have them on, in place, sort of passing through like they’re walking into a coffee shop, and you can sit down and talk with them.”
Also notable was an interview with New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who will deliver his RNC speech tonight. Scarborough and Brzezinski pre-taped the interview yesterday on the convention floor after Christie’s walk-through of the podium space. By the interview’s conclusion, the trio had amassed an entourage on the convention floor (pictured below).