Campaign 2000

2 minute read
Andrea Sachs/Philadelphia

Guests at next summer’s Republican National Convention in Philadelphia can start planning for the 55 different parties, lighted boat parade and fireworks that will spell out G.O.P. 2000. But they can’t start planning where they’re going to stay. Edward Rendell, the popular Democratic mayor of Philadelphia, instituted a tough “no whining” policy for local hotels to ensure that Republicans get a warm welcome. Rendell, who intends to run for Governor, needs the convention to go swimmingly. “They’re not allowed to book anybody,” says Rendell. “Every hotel has guaranteed 90% of its room block for that week. They’re not allowed to take one reservation until the Republican National Committee meets next spring with the putative nominee.”

Despite the edict, one room has already been booked. The guest? Former President George Bush. He was in Philly giving a speech and asked for the $1,400-a-night Presidential Suite at the Rittenhouse Hotel. Who could say no? Not David Benton, the tony hostelry’s general manager, who has been taking “tongue-in-cheek flak” from his competitors ever since. But the rule that no rooms can be booked still stands, says Rendell, unless “the person asking to book the room is a former President whose son is the leading contender.”

–By Andrea Sachs/Philadelphia

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