By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Members of the Democratic National Committee arrived in Philadelphia this morning, the start of a two-day tour to consider whether the city would be up to hosting their 2016 nominating convention.
Local officials are pulling out all the stops. Mummers, the Philly Phanatic, and several hundred city boosters gathered outside the Radisson Blu Hotel (the former Warwick, in center city) to cheer as a bus carrying members of the DNC site selection committee pulled up.
Among those greeting the group was Mayor Nutter, who had hopped on the bus when it crossed over the bridge.
“I told them on the bus, ‘We’re bringing you in Philly style. This is how we do things. We do things well, we do things big.’ The enthusiasm in Philadelphia about the possibility of hosting the Democratic National Convention in 2016 is pretty evident. A huge welcome. They appreciated the greeting,” the mayor said.
Former governor (and former DNC chairman) Ed Rendell was relieved that yesterday’s steady rain had moved on.
“The fact that the weather has broken and the sun’s coming out is fabulous,” Rendell said.
(Dunn:) “They’re coming down from New York after having spent two days there.”
(Rendell:) “We think the delegates and the donors will have a much better experience in Philadelphia. Easier transportation routes, better location of hotels, an organization that did it before and knocked it out of the box.”
Much of the site selection committee’s time in Philadelphia will be studying the facilities — including the Wells Fargo Center, in South Philadelphia, where the convention would be held — and logistics.
They were also having lunch at Pat’s Steaks and getting a candlelight tour of Independence Hall.
Rendell said the city’s experience in hosting the GOP in 2000 is huge.
“The Republican Convention got high marks,” Rendell said this morning, “so we’re optimistic. Not overconfident, but optimistic.”
New York is bidding to host the DNC, along with Birmingham, Phoenix, and Columbus, Ohio. Party officials are expected to announce a decision by year’s end.
“We’re optimistic. New York and Columbus are our main competition, but we think we’ll do fine,” Rendell said.