I spent several hours inside Mile High Stadium in Denver before Barack Obama made his acceptance speech to Democratic delegates and thousands of others jammed into the NFL stadium of the Denver Broncos.
It was every bit as impressive of a venue as you might expect. The whole tiff over the “Temple of Obama” thing pretty much seemed moot when you were inside there.
The biggest issue was that people had to show up so early in order to get inside and claim their seats, so there were huge lines snaking their way to the entrances for the stadium.
I was going to take a shuttle bus from the Pepsi Center over to Invesco Field as it is called, but that line was well over 300 people long at 2pm, so I simply walked over.
Not only were the delegates there early, but so too was the press corps. The space around the Radio-TV camera stand was absolute bedlam, with local stations and networks using sharp elbows to maximize their workspace in the hot sun.
What struck me most at first was a smell that I usually do not associate with political events that I have to cover – and that smell is – suntan lotion. Luckily I found some shade behind a stand for still photographers and took refuge there while doing a few live shots.
Inside, it looked any typical Saturday college football game or Sunday pro football game. All the hot dog stands were open, as they sold pretzels, popcorn, etc.
The only exception was beer! And there were a number of delegates who wanted some and came away disappointed!
But while they didn’t have beer, they did have all kinds of Obama gear that you could buy. Instead of Denver Broncos jerseys, there were Obama t-shirts, Obama trinkets, Obama this and Obama that, everything that you could imagine.
Down on the field and under the stands I ran into all kinds of people that I knew from the Radio, TV and newspaper business back in DC, as sometimes it seems like some space alien has simply transported all of us from the US Capitol to whatever the poltical center of the universe is for that time.
But then I got a great surprise and ran into one of my oldest and best friends from Capitol Hill, whom I first met back in the 1980’s when she was doing press for Sen. Alan Cranston of California, who tried himself to run for President.
My friend Victoria now works for the political magazine called CQ, which is a very popular source of information for those in journalism and the government in DC. We’re always too busy to get our kids together back home, but at least we can run into each other for a five minute chat on the road!
That’s one of many reasons that I love covering elections and campaigns, because it always seems like there’s a familiar face around the corner.
On to St. Paul and the Republicans!