So the third day of the convention was the outstanding, but access issues just keep getting worse. Due to the high profile speeches last night and the severely over-allocation of credentials, last night at the Pepsi Center was an utter nightmare.
As I've said previously, as a Rules Committee member, I didn't exactly get good credentials. But last night, it became abundantly clear just how low on the totem pole we committee members are.
I'll try to get to a wrap-up of the speakers and highlights, but first I want to talk about my evening of trying to get a good seat and finally giving up and going to a bar to watch the convention with the locals.
I couldn't score upgraded credentials for last night. Everyone wanted to hear Bill Clinton and Joe Biden and they just weren't going to give up a good seat for the night. Well, I take that back, Lori gave up her floor seat for a friend who hadn't been able to make it to the floor yet, but she wanted to sit with me anyway.
We headed up to the 300 level of the Pepsi Center and headed to the area behind the Indiana delegation. Monday and Tuesday all but a couple entrances to the 300 level seating were open for those with credentials like mine. Last night, that wasn't the case.
In fact, there were exactly two seating areas open for credentials like mine. The first was behind the stage and the other was behind one of the giant screens that display the action on the stage.
The rest of the 300 level - and ALL of the seating where you could actually see what was going on - was restricted to DNCC guests and those with better credentials than I. The interest in this convention is historic, but I think over-allocating credentials to the point of nearly twice as many credentials as you have seats is absurd. Those with credentials like mine couldn't find a seat after about 6:00PM local time - two full hours before the main speakers hit the stage.
So we went to the area behind the stage since it was closest to the Indiana delegation. From that vantage point, speakers at the podium were about the size of my thumb. The scaffolding holding the lights and those cool video screens that make up the backdrop of the stage were blocking both of the giant screens for viewing the speakers onstage.
We arrived in the middle of the roll call vote and got to see the excitement as New Mexico yielded the floor to Illinois, which then yielded the floor to New York at which time Hillary Clinton asked for a suspension of the rules of procedure to request that Barack Obama be nominated by acclamation. Nearly the entire delegation seconded her motion and chairwoman Nancy Pelosi called for a vote. The vote was overwhelming and the motion carried, thereby nominating Barack Obama as our candidate for President of the United States of America.
After that excitement, Lori needed a break and went to the restroom. When she exited, our section had already been closed due to being full. If you didn't already have a seat, you were denied access.
Lori's one open seat created untold drama while she was gone. I got yelled at by staff for saving seats - twice - and no less than 20 people asked to take the seat in 5 minutes.
Not being able to see jack and dealing with hot tempers over the shitty seating arrangements, I called Lori and asked her if she just wanted to head out and find a place to watch on TV. She agreed, so we headed to Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret. (Lannie's is where NGLTF held their opening day reception and where a good number of our shout outs were filmed.)
Lannie's had a giant screen tuned to the convention and offered some phenomenal seating and atmosphere for viewing. We got great seats, great food, cold beer, and a great crowd of enthusiastic viewers to share the evening with. We may have missed the atmosphere of the convention hall, but I don't feel like I missed any excitement in the least.
As the hour for Bill Clinton to speak drew near, the cabaret started filling quickly. By the time Bill spoke, there were at least 150-200 people whooping and hollering and cheering for our former president. It was so cool to see that much excitement for a convention speech outside the convention hall.
I'm really kinda glad we left. We got to see locals in their element fired up about the prospect of a Democratic revival and we experienced the convention from yet another angle that proved to be just as fantastic as being at the Pepsi Center.
I'm stoked about Obama's acceptance speech tonight at Invesco Field. If he gives an address like I think he will, Denver may never be the same. I know I get 100 Level seating (not with the delegation as I was told - why has NOTHING I was told ahead of time been true?) It should be an extraordinary night.
Yes We Can