Forget the speeches, let’s talk buttons

The political red meat that was missing from speeches on Day One of the Republican National Convention managed to make its way into the convention hall on delegates’ hats and vests.

Buttons proclaiming "NoBama" and "God is Pro-Life" sent the message loud and clear on Monday.

Nick Stepovich, a delegate from Alaska, handed out buttons that read "McCain-Palin No-Bama" to his fellow Alaskans.

"Buttons are important at a convention like this," Stepovich said. "They represent your views and tell everyone what you believe."

That included Thomas Angers’ red-and-blue "Beat Obama and Osama" buttons, which he traded and sold on the convention floor. Angers said he made about 250 of the buttons, and sold and traded nearly 50 on the first night of the convention.

One delegate who wasn’t buying was Gordon Pederson from South Dakota. Wearing a vest and cowboy hat adorned with political buttons dating back to the 1970s, Pederson said he got all his buttons by trading.

"I’m a poor man. I’m not going to buy something I can trade for," Pederson said.

Some, frustrated they couldn’t find any buttons they liked, improvised and made their own. Kendal Unruh, a delegate from Colorado, fashioned a makeshift button using the underside of a hotel drink coaster.

"Maniacal, foaming at the mouth, feverishly fervent Palin nut," the button read.

"Is that subtle enough?" she said.

Maybe more subtle than the button being distributed by some members of Indiana’s delegation. The buttons, which show a picture of McCain with running mate Sarah Palin, proclaim their bearers to be "Hoosiers for the Hot Chick."

Beyond the focus on buttons, delegates also devoted time to political stargazing on a day devoid of any major political speeches.

At the broadcast booths for CNN and Fox News, delegates congregated to snap shots of the television personalities and political celebrities they interviewed, such as Mitt Romney and first lady Laura Bush.

"We’re basically doing what you’re doing, trying to see if we find anyone famous," said Matthew Hopkins, a delegate from Rhode Island, as he stood near the CNN booth.

"Hey, there’s Brokaw," fellow delegate Caswell Cooke said to Hopkins, pointing to NBC’s Tom Brokaw nearby.

Augustus Shaw, a delegate from Arizona, said his goal was "to get as many pictures and as many buttons now as possible, and this may be the best time to do it."