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First, 'Country First'

From NBC's Ben Weltman and Domenico Montanaro
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Some observations from the red-carpet-lined Republican convention floor…

The most obvious thing when walking in the hall -- after the giant screen waving American flag on stage -- are the plethora of "Country First" slogans engulfing the arena.

In fact, "Country First" appears prominently in 23 places around the arena at varying sizes and on LCD screens.

There are two American flags draped from high podiums that are about 20-feet long, and there are seven waving ones on LCD screens, including the huge one on stage, which is about 30-feet high.

The seating is perhaps a window into the states the McCain campaign thinks are important. Hint: It's not Guam or the Northern Marianas Islands. They are way in the back and the Northern Marianas sign is barely legible and covered over by a black drape.

The states with preferential seating -- front and center: Ohio, Pennsylvania and Colorado; on either side of the stage: Arizona (McCain's home state), and battlegrounds New Hampshire, Missouri, Michigan, Virginia, Nevada, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Minnesota.

And interestingly, we did not see anything that said Palin on it, except for a few stickers you could count on one hand.