Monday, August 25, 2008

Rocky Mountain Highs - And Lows

The first of many brief posts over the next four days in Denver...

I have arrived at the Democratic National Convention, and so far the nightmarish logistics outweigh the excitement and fun. I'm sure there will be some fun at some point. At least I hope so.

It's 85 degrees, with 85% humidity. Denver doesn't have enough hotel rooms, so the 15,000 media, 5000 delegates and party officials, and thousands of other people here are spread out across 50 miles of Colorado. I'm about 15 miles away as the crow flies - about 75 minutes, as the light rail/shuttle bus/walking reporter crawls.

The security is intense, as you might imagine, and it's a long walk from anywhere to anywhere else - slowed down by metal detectors and big crowds.

The layout in the Pepsi Center is less than ideal, but hey, this is why they pay me the big bucks, right?

On the fun side, I did go down in the elevator with conservative talk show host Sean Hannity, who greeted me like a long-lost friend. Not recognizing him, I was confused and asked if we'd met before. He took off his sunglasses and introduced himself, praising KCBS and said he knew our station well, and that we run a solid news operation. This brilliantly disarming move kept me from sharing my honest opinion of his radio show. I asked him how he was doing here so far, and he muttered something about trying to avoid the liberals. I wished him luck with that.

Then I literally ran into the entire "Daily Show" political team - all four of Jon Stewart's reporters - taping a not especially funny bit about how the food vendors in the arena are trying to outgreen each other (the pretzel stand recycles; the nacho stand has green salsa, etc.). I thought I would do a funny bit with them for the radio, since I did that at the last convention (GOP in 2004) with then-Comedy Central correspondents Mo Rocca and Stephen Colbert. The new guys? Not so funny. When the camera was off, they were as grumpy and stone-faced as all the other hot, sweaty, tired-legged media. Rob Riggle - I think that's his name - swore into my microphone. I guess I won't be using that on the radio!

I have scored some excellent Obama-Biden buttons for my collection, not to mention a pack of Obama playing cards - the kind of thing you only snag at a convention.

Maybe Hannity will want to play a little Texas Hold 'Em during some interminable speech by the assistant state treasurer of Iowa later.

I'll get back to you.