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Monday, August 25, 2008

Vanguard Coverage of the DNC: Day Four in Denver

The Vanguard is primarily a blog that covers local politics and local government issues. However, there is no denying the fact that much of the world will be focused on the Democratic National Convention next week. So we have asked Don Gibson, a UC Davis Student who is President of College Democrats and an elected Hillary Clinton Delegate to the Democratic National Convention to write about his experiences at the Democratic Convention in Denver, Colorado. Here is his fourth report.


The convention activities have just begun today. I moved into the Sheraton where its lobby has all of the important people in California and New York walking through. I bumped into Mayor Gavin Newsome, vice chair of the California Democratic Party Alex Rooker, and campaign adviser Bob Mulholland. This is the place where all of the action is happening. Even though the Pepsi Center is what everyone envisions as the epicenter, the Sheraton has such a large amount of energy that the media does not seem to cover. The press is setting up to find the thoughts of delegates here at this hotel.

The media is trying to find controversy. I had two television interviews today, one for KCRA 3 in Sacramento and another for ABC 7 in Los Angeles. Both of the reporters looked for controversy between Clinton and Obama supporters where I had to talk about how to unite the party. They tried to ask leading questions to have me or other delegates to say something like "I want Clinton to be the nominee" or "Obama is unfit to lead". The views of the vast majority of activist are that those are flat wrong. I did learn something about the media today; political talking points don't work for them when you are on TV as a young delegate.

Sponsoring the delegates has become a tradition. An experienced democratic activist told me to bring a spare bag for all of the junk that I will be getting for free. He is right! I got two full conventions bags as I registered to be a delegate. I have received over 50 labeled really random things from different corporations, lobbying groups, and people campaigning for office. There was so much stuff that it covered my entire bed as you can see in the photos. The best thing I got was the wine glass from Lt. Governor John Garamendi. The oddest thing has to be the bobblehead for Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The most useful thing is the USB drive from California Treasure Bill Lockyer. The coolest things to find will be the Obama-Biden buttons and signs but they have yet to be given to us.

Denver's atmosphere is completely changed from just a day ago. The police are not only out in force but they have assault rifles and squads of horse troopers are set up to stop anything from happening.

The protesters are finally out. Two people in pig costumes riding around in a coverable were waving signs saying "Tax Meat!" Other groups were not as light. Hardcore pro-lifers held out signs with pictures of abortions. Not fun to say the least. When I was walking out of subway on the 16th St. mall I was able to see the anarchists march down the outdoor mall. The best thing was that 20 officers walked behind the marchers in full riot gear. People may be afraid that the police are taking too extreme of an approach but they not stopping anyone from expressing their views (that I know of).

There does not seem to be tension between the city's residents and the delegates. People would rant to me or other activists on the light rail but not in a combative fashion. The city tends to have people who want to speak up .

I went to my first totally delegate exclusive event. The Gulf States hosted a reception for the host committee, with great gumbo and live New Orleans musicians to celebrate the revival of New Orleans. They had "Obama Beer" exclusively for the event. It was the first drink to run of all of the bars. It was hosted by Chairman Dean to bring in the thousands of delegates and the open bar kept all of them happy.

Tomorrow young democratic activists and I will be sitting down with John Garamendi to talk policy for an hour. Then have the first event at the Pepsi Center will be fun seeing the first big speakers. I just got offered to be a whip for the floor and I may take up this opportunity to help control the delegation.