WASHINGTON - In 2006, Cleveland was runner-up to Minneapolis-St. Paul to host the 2008 Republican National Convention, it was a loss that carried with it some lessons.
"When we came in second they actually critiqued us," said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson following the city's hour-long presentation Monday at Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C.
"We remembered where we fell short and we made sure that they knew that we had improved over Cleveland 2006."
In reality the two bids were night and day not only in size--a 300-page bid this year versus 100 pages in 2006--but also in substance.
The Cleveland of 2006 is a shadow of what will be the 2016 model in terms of hotel rooms and meeting space with the new Convention Center and the under construction Convention Center hotel.
"We heard a comment from a couple of the people in the room that they were very impressed, they didn't know what to expect out of Cleveland," said Positively Cleveland President David Gilbert.
"We think we changed a lot of minds in the presentation about what Cleveland really is and we think if we can get them here to Cleveland we're going to change their minds even further," Gilbert said of the next step in the process which is the selection of cities by the RNC to visit.
Three of the eight cities scheduled to present--Cincinnati, Dallas and Las Vegas--couldn't make it because a snow storm shut the nation's capital down Monday. They will present their case March 21.
Cleveland's presenters were last in line to make their pitch, a position they liked.
"Always good to bat cleanup," said Sherwin-Williams CEO Chris Connor. "We were at the end of a long, tired day for these folks who were working really hard up there and I think there was a lot of energy in the room. We started by giving them O'Malley espresso chocolate beans to get them fired up a little bit so we had them on the edge of their seats."
"You want to go first or you want to go last and we were thrilled to be in the last position today," he said.
While much has been made of Ohio having three of the eight cities bidding with Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati making their case, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said it's not about what a city or state can do politically but whether they can they back up their enthusiasm with what the RNC seeks in a successful bidder.
"I really think about the financial goals that need to happen in a particular city," said Priebus.
Number two is transportation and hotel space.
"How long it takes to get to and from a particular location," he said.
They also look at what the delegate experience will be like. Only after those are met will he consider whether being in that particular location betters the party's chances of winning a particular state.
Cleveland feels they deliver especially when it comes to the number one issue: financial support.
"We, I think, are every bit as good as every other bidder if not ahead in terms of commitments we've had," said Sherwin-WIlliams CEO Connor.
"We've raised significant dollars already. Our host committee is populated by every important Fortune 500 CEO in our community," he said. "I think that resonated well with the committee as well here," he said.
The RNC will make site visits after hearing the final three presentations. A winning bid is expected to be announced either late this summer or early in the fall.