Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Stack of Blog Items a Mile High

My apologies for not blogging since Tuesday. When you work 16-hour days for radio and TV, the Internet is the first casualty. Or something like that!

Oh wait...I can't blog now either. A CBS News runner just came with my floor pass - I have a 30-minute window to run down to the field, interview people and get the lay of the land here at Invesco Field at Mile High (where the Broncos play). It's my only chance for a couple hours to go down there...so I will be back next hour to really fill you in!

Okay, I'm back. Whew. This has been a whirlwind week. I could blog for days - so many things I haven't had time to talk about on the radio, or even here.

Here's a brief sample:

Making the transition the Pepsi Center to Invesco was no simple feat, for anyone involved with this production. The technicians started working at 2am, moving everything over here and setting it all up. Just as we were all settling into a routine, figuring out short cuts to move around the convention hall and the like, we were uprooted and had to start all over. They moved the media here in a convoy of buses, but rather than wait in a long bus queue at the Pepsi Center, I caught a Democratic National Committee shuttle downtown, which went directly to Invesco. That is, as directly as the Secret Service would allow, which was about a mile away. When I got off, I found that I had to enter through a special media security entrance - except the Secret Service wouldn't allow anyone through on foot. So I backtracked and flagged down one of the special Press buses, and the driver was kind enough to let me on.

Upon boarding, I discovered I had gotten on the bus for Obama's traveling press. So suddenly, I was on a coach full of finely coiffed network correspondents, tough-as-nails network cameramen, and reporters from all around the world speaking everything from French to Japanese. But when the bus reached the Secret Service barricades, it was stopped cold. Two agents climbed aboard and asked if we all had credentials. We did. But it turned out the bus didn't have the proper pass, and neither did the driver. The agents said we'd have to wait for a supervisor to come and clear the bus, bring a credential and have the bomb-sniffing dogs work it over. Or, they said, we could get out and hike the last half-mile or so. That was just fine with me, since I only had about 25 minutes at that point before my next live shot, and I needed to be inside the stadium. But the network crews had huge amounts of gear, and none seemed too eager to hike in the hot midday sun.

I got off, left them behind, and made it in, just in time. For all I know, they're still waiting for the hound dogs.

Speaking of hounds...the scene when Hillary Clinton released hers...I mean, released her delegates...was amazing. She convened a special meeting of all her delegates at the Colorado Convention Center, a sprawling facility across town from the Pepsi Center. Most of the 1900 Clintonistas poured in, jamming the room. They brought friends and family and other interested parties along with them, joined by maybe 300 media, again from all over the globe. I was stuck on the platform between a Hassidic reporter from Orthodox Jewish Radio (or something like that) and a woman from Radio France. As I was plugging into the audio box, I recognized the woman in front of me. She looked familiar, but I couldn't quite place her. She exclaimed, "Oh my God, you're..." then looked at my press pass to get my name. It turned out to be Liz Moore, who lived down the hall from me in my college freshman dormitory. We didn't have time to catch up, but we reminisced for about 30 seconds and then focused on the bedlam at hand.

Hillary Clinton came in to a roar from her delegates. She thanked them, and then said, in keeping with tradition, that as the losing candidate, she was releasing them from their commitment to vote for her on the first ballot. They were free to vote how they saw fit, however their heart and conscience dictated. She had already cast her ballot, for Barack Obama.

The delegates screamed "No! No!" and many started to weep. Eventually, many of them did vote for Obama, and later that evening, Clinton herself interrupted the state-by-state roll call on the floor and called for his nomination by acclamation. Now he's the Democratic nominee for president. But wait, it's time to go back to work! More blog soon...

I promise.