Thursday, August 28, 2008

Monday: And so it begins

What an exciting day! A long one to be sure (6am until 3am), but well worth it. With the official Convention activities finally underway, I can feel the excitement in the air. Walking down the main downtown street, a wide array of Convention and Obama (official and unofficial) gear is available for purchase. This selection includes the obligatory t-shirts, but also Obama dolls, belt buckles, coffee, and a Goodnight, Bush book (parodied from Goodnight, Moon).

Today was my Planned Parenthood day. I arrived at the PP "war room" at the Warwick hotel and was immediately thrown a bright pink shirt to put on. Properly outfitted, I grabbed a shopping bag full of Protect Yourself from John McCain condoms ( and headed to the Big Tent to spread the message about women's health to the hundreds of bloggers who are in town for the Convention.

The Big Tent is a new thing this year; given the rise of blogging, and its growing reputation as a legitimate news source, the Dems have gone out of their way to try and accommodate as many as possible. Bloggers have special credentials that get them into the tent (some have credentials giving them access to the perimeter of the Pepsi Center or to the floor), and can set up shop there while getting free wireless, free 10-minute massages, free smoothies, free coffee and water, and free beer. Certainly not a bad place to be... This is an interesting set-up because all of the bloggers are in one space together. Instead of communicating with each other online and via each others' blogs, the various authors have the opportunity to share ideas face to face and bounce ideas off other writers.

My assignment was to hand out the condoms and stress PP's message that woman's health is an important issue in this election. Many of the bloggers had already heard about the condoms after yesterday (and a writeup about them in the Boston Globe) and were eager to collect as many as possible in order to get the full set.

From there it was on to the Pepsi Center. I was able to borrow someone's credentials for an hour, which was just enough time to make a pass down Radio Row and give out condoms and information on John McCain and his anti-woman's health record. I gave out the condoms and a few quotes and headed back to the hotel to prepare for the final event of the day--PP's big Sex, Cocktails, and Politics Party.

Unfortunately, because I had to work the PP event, I wasn't unable to get to the Pepsi Center to see Ted Kennedy or Michelle Obama speak. We watched it on TV all together, though, and the speech nearly brought me to tears. Even though I wasn't there in person, watching it with a group and knowing that it was taking place right down the street was an amazing feeling. That's also part of the reason why so many media folk make their way to Denver; this day and age most of them could do their reporting from home, but it just wouldn't have the same feel or energy if they weren't here.

While the Convention is supposedly about the politics, anyone here will tell you that the real fun starts when the speeches end. The party went as well as we could have expected--there had been lots of coverage of the event, and it was hyped to be one of the best parties of the night. Without going into the gory details, I will say that I am happy I don't work at nightclubs as a living. Working the line and making sure only people who were on the list got on (and that VIPs, celebrities, and media people got in first through the special entrance) was a hectic, but fun, task.

Entrance to parties is an interesting way to gauge who's who. While our list was closed, and only people who RSVPed were getting in, there were certain people for whom we made an exception: Cindy Lauper, Ashley Judd, and Aisha Tyler are celebrity enough, as are Governor Sebelius' kids and Susie Buffet, but Joe Biden's staff doesn't cut it (though PP may regret that decision once he's VP and they want to work with his staff).

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