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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day 1.5 at the Convention

By Keith R. Schmitz

Unlike other posts you may see about the Democratic National Convention in Denver, I am here as a guest and not as a delegate or with blogger/media credentials, so mine will be from a different perspective.

Hit town on Sunday. Don't get me wrong. But as a guest you are on your own somewhat for a political junkie such as I, this town is a buffet of events and goings-on. You just have to figure out what you are going to do.

My wife and I joined up with some 5,000 delegates/media/guests at the Convention Center and partied until 8:00. My wife crashed and after a break, I headed up to the Progressive Democrats of America. Heard California Congress member Barbara Lee talk about health care, chatted with John Nichols about impeachment and listened in on Tom Hayden. As a shocking contrast I wandered into the cigar/martini party hosted by the New Mexico Democratic Party. This is a bttleground state and in talking to the folks in the room they are ready hit it hard for Obama.

Monday was all politics, all day long. Did breakfast with the Wisconsin delegation and from those I talked to people seemed happy with the Biden pick and Hillary supporters generally soothed and on board.

After breakfasy, Lana and I again had to figure out the day. We had a couple of mis-fires, showing up for events that needed pre-registrations. At one point to get around I came across the free bike program and hopped on a two-wheeler to check out some event.

But one of the nice thing about a town with decent mass transit like Denver, we at least didn't waste too much time going from event to event.

We caught the Unventional Women conference at the performing arts center. Hosted by former ambassador Swannee Hunt, got to hear a great loine-up of women politicians including Barbara Boxer and a number of other senators. During the early session with Nancy Pelosi, Code Pink busted into the proceedings.

In the afternoon we hit the Big Tent event which was hosted by Air America and Google. What a line-up! For as much as we could hang for we got to hear Paul Krugman, Jonathan Alter, Arianna Huffington, David Sirrota, Jane Meyer (author of the Dark Side) Ted Sorenson, Markos Moulitsas, Michael Eric Dyson and Thom Hartmann. Rachel Madow popped in briefly.

Watch this spot for YouTubes from the day's events.

Had nice chat with Victor Navasky, founder of The Nation. He explained to me that he saw the internet as channeling readers into the print edition.

On the streets, ran into Ted Sorenson, and we talked about JFK's Wisconsin primary.

After hanging out at the MSNBC set behind the Union Station, we headed over to the convention cneter (not the Pepsi Center where the Democratic Convention took place -- we're being let in on Wednesday). With about another 1,000 people watched Michelle Obama hit it out of the park. On the way back into the hotel, Lana got hit up by a reporter from News Radio TMJ and she got to endorse the great job Michelle did.

More action tomorrow.

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