Got up before dawn so my gracious host could drive me clear across Denver to the Washington State Democratic Delegation to pick up my "community credential" to attend Obama's speech tonight at Denver's Invesco Field.
I did a happy-dance in the hotel parking lot on my walk back to the car. I felt like Charlie in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, clutching my Golden Ticket.
I came back to my host's apartment to check online for the list of things NOT allowed inside the event, and look into rumored restrictions on cameras. Cameras with zoom lenses under 75mm are allowed.
The smallest lens I brought with me is my 17-85mm zoom. Drat!
Then I looked up the Invesco seating chart (credentials were alloted by seating section). I am in section 533. If you check the above chart, any lens under 75mm probably wouldn't make much difference.
But at least I'll be in da house tonight, weeping tears of joy, nose bleeding in the thin air....
Today I was taking a break from the DNC festivities, taking a stroll in Cheesman Park near where I am staying in Denver. As I followed a serpentine route through the trees and grass, I noticed up ahead a line of Hillary for President signs. I followed it to a pavilion of white columns, where a small tent shielded an Indigo Girls-like singer, performing before another group of Hillary signs, and about a dozen people scattered in spots of shade. A moment later a Winnebago drove by the pavilion, covered in signs, one of which alerted me to the fact that I had stumbled across a P.U.M.A. rally.
I shot photos as I wandered through the area, and talked to a few folks, one of whom was selling little Hillary Clinton Jack-in-the-Box toys. I inquired if they also had Barack Obama boxes for sale, and they sheepishly admitted they did, and we both laughed. I asked if there was a Biden box in the works, and we agreed there should be--one would turn the crank and then at some point, when one least expected it, Biden's doll would jump from the box and utter the most audacious thing. Again, we both laughed.
I asked one of the few attendees what the event was about, and he said it was a concert that would also have speakers. I asked when it was to start, and he said 3pm, but his wife cut in "but as you can see, uh, we're running a bit behind. So, in the interests of full disclosure, while my photos might look like there was a paltry turnout, I must admit I didn't stick around for more folk singers or any of the speakers, so I cannot attest to the final turnout for the rally.
Still, as I walked around, shooting photos, wearing my Barack Obama hat, I was not treated rudely, nor did I act that way toward anyone else. Everyone was quite polite, if a bit embarassed.
I was doing some last minute packing this morning when the phone rang. It was someone from the Washington State Coordinated Campaign (The Democrats) informing me that they had a creditial for me to attend Barack Obama's acceptance speech at Invesco Field.
Tomorrow I swallow my eco-guilt (or just trade in my decades-of-not-owning-a-car carbon credits) to fly to Denver to witness the historic Democratic National Convention. I'll get as close as I can--as I am not a delegate (I was a state delegate who ran for a spot on the national delegation, but, alas, did not make it), and hopefully snag a ticket to The Big Speech on Thursday (I'm on the waiting list and still waiting to hear).
I had originally also hoped to sell some of my shirts and buttons while in Denver, but I decided to make it less a working week and more of a vacation.
In the coming days I'll post as many impressions as I can, in both text and photos.
As for Obama's VP announcement today: I was probably less enthusiastic than most Democrats today--not because Senator Biden's not a very capable campaigner and legislator (he has mad skills at both), but because of the electoral risk. The Democrats haven't won the Presidency without a Southerner in at least one spot on the ticket in.... well, over 50 years.
Now I realize that this is already an historic (and rule-breaking) election, and I trust Obama and his judgment--and can only hope that Biden can keep his mouth in check, weather the press scrutiny of his past gaffes (and 30-year tenure in the Senate) and believe the two of them can woo as many Southern voters as possible--and necessary.
(An) Associated Press-Ipsos poll shows that Obama is leading his Republican rival 47 percent to 41 percent. McCain has a 10-point lead among whites and is tied with the Democrat among men, but Obama is leading by 13 points among women and has huge leads with minorities and the young.