As reporters were led into the inside of the arena Monday morning to see the elaborate theatrical stage that will be the central focus of convention viewers, they also saw dozens and dozens of construction workers busy getting the building in tip-top shape for the GOP celebration, an event costing tens of millions of dollars to stage.
But Monday's news conference was all about showing off the elaborate 13-video backdrop to the six-foot-high podium that organizers are calling "light years" ahead of anything previously done at a political convention.
"We want to excite the emotion of the delegates," he told reporters. "It's just like when I would put together a television show. I wanted to make it as interesting as possible to give people a reason to watch."
Romney senior adviser Russ Schriefer said the various screens can be transformed into a variety of settings. "If we want to make it a factory floor, it can be a factory floor. If we want it to be a farm, it can be a farm."
Schriefer called the stage set-up "modern, yet warm, approachable, an honest set" that evolved after the first few designs offered up to Mitt Romney were rejected.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus stood on the main stage shortly after 11 a.m. to unveil the LED screens, and he made his announcement with supreme grandiosity.
"I'm proud to present to you a stage that is fitting for this historical event that will kick off just one week from today. Our convention will connect to people across America, and around the world, right here, from this stage, through speakers and these INCREDIBLE SCREENS behind me!"
Priebus also announced what the Republican National Committee is calling the "convention without walls," a digital program focused on engaging the public online.
Not only is this no longer Ronald Reagan's Republican Party, it's not his convention set-up either. Alongi said that there will be two entertainment stages astride the main podium, one featuring the house band for the convention — featuring G.E. Smith, the omnipresent smiling guitarist who for years was seen leading the Saturday Night Live band (he was the musical director there).
There will also be a digital national debt sign clock (already in use) high up in the rafters of the Times Forum arena.
Romney senior adviser Russ Schriefer said the clock is something that the presumptive presidential nominee has used in his town hall meetings to bring home the political point about how much debt has accumulated in the Obama years.