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Stateside: DNC Convention Day 4 Part 1

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

Democratic Convention Day 4: Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech Day

The “writing press” were allotted seats high up at INVESCO Field—known to locals as Mile High Stadium—directly opposite the stage, but Scoop was also allotted what’s known as a rotating floor pass. The floor of the stadium is where the delegates were seated and the big-name broadcasters had their media pavilions.

Here is a taste of the atmosphere down at floor level during a musical interlude:

I would have gotten better pictures of the official proceedings if I’d stayed up higher, as down on the floor we were still kept back a fair distance from the stage and, of course, the prime spots were taken early. But the place I decided to spend most of my time faced directly towards the main video screen so it wasn’t all bad.


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Virginia Governor Tim Kaine on the jumbotron at Mile High Stadium. Note the sharpshooters up there with the lovely horse statue.

I wandered about a bit and got some interviews with a couple of folks passing by, the first being Karen Thurman, Chair of the Florida Democratic Party. My journey to Mile High began way back in August of last year in New Hampshire, watching Thurman on C-SPAN argue for Florida not to be punished for holding their presidential primary earlier than the Democratic Party’s rules allowed.

Thurman said she wasn’t interested in the outcome of the Florida state primaries, which had been held earlier this week, and that she thought the convention was a great success. “I think it’s been a great convention, and I think it’s been a really great opportunity for people to see why Democrats ought to be voting for Democrats.”

Then who should I bump into but Rush Holt, whose legislation to protect voters from the scourge of Direct Recording Electronic voting machines has been a large topic on Scoop. He said he appreciated Scoop’s coverage of the issue, and that there are several bills pending in Congress. “But the bad news, the sad news is that the legislation will not be in effect to set national standards in time for this November’s elections and so there will tens of millions of unverifiable, unverified ballots cast.”

“All we can do,” he said, “is cross our fingers and hope that there aren’t any problems. Actually, there’s more than that we can do in each precinct to do everything we can to make sure the machines are kept securely and that sort of thing, but there will not be voter verified paper ballots for millions of Americans.” When I said that a lot of people wanted to go for hand counting, Holt replied, “That IS hand counting. That’s what I’m talking about—voter verified paper ballots that can be hand counted. Because only voters can verify the ballots. That’s what a voter verified ballot is. Some states on their own have moved that way, but the national standards have not been set unfortunately. We’ve tried and tried and tried, every which way.”

Lo and behold, the gods of serendipity were still with me as Chair of the Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, hove into view. Another reporter was already asking him questions, and I missed my opportunity to ask how the impeachment process is coming along as Conyers moved quickly away.


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To tell you the truth, I didn’t hear much of what the official speakers at the event said, not even Barack Obama, but of course you can read and see it all at the DNCC official website:
http://www.demconvention.com/


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Michelle giving the thumbs up, partly obscured by a photojournalist negotiating the steps of the camera riser.


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Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama speaking to the 75,000-strong crowd at Mile High Stadium, as seen through the railing from the steps of the camera riser.

It was complete chaos leaving the stadium even for the delegates, who had coaches waiting nearby to take them back to their hotels. Because one arc of the circular stadium was blocked off for security reasons, I had to walk all the way around the outside just to get to the start of the jam-packed walk back towards the city. It took two hours to get to my bus stop, compared to the 30-minute walk going there.

*************

rosalea.barker@scoop.co.nz
--PEACE--

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