Posts Tagged ‘Democratic National Convention’

WHYY Audio: Day 2 at the Convention with Lily Gold

August 27, 2008

In her latest update from Denver, Lily brings Dave Heller up to speed on her attempts to get credentials for the Convention floor, her interactions with fellow high school students and her plans for Thursday night – Barack Obama’s acceptance speech.

Listen to the mp3 from yesterday’s chat between Dave and Lily.

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Third Day’s a Charm

August 27, 2008

And the end approaches to another hectic day at JSA and the DNC.  I awoke this morning after approximately 3 hours of sleep only to realize that I had overslept and had to rush to get to the bus before it left without me.  Instead of the delegates breakfast we went straight to the Cable Center of Denver for a speakers program.  Included on the list of speakers were Bob Graham, the former Governor of Florida and veteran of various Vice Presidential and Presidential races, as well as George McGovern, the Democratic Presidential Nominee in the 1972 election won by Richard Nixon.

Graham was pretty funny and very likable at one point telling us a story about filming an “MTV” (his word for music video) with Jimmy Buffett.  He was pretty candid about questions asked of him, but also seemed to be very intent on informing us about civics academic programs and their potential benefits to the future of America.  All around though he was fun, entertaining and informative while also being very interesting to listen to.

McGovern, the other very notable speaker on the list seemed rushed, as he confessed that his schedule had filled up more quickly than he had expected.  He talked mostly about his life and how he started out in South Dakota as one of the only elected Democrats in a mostly Republican state.  From there he went on to talk about his Presidential bid and some of the ways it has affected future elections, such as the extensive length of modern presidential elections.  He started his campaign much earlier than was generally accepted at the time and others have followed suit.

It should be noted that all of the speakers were not reading speeches so much as giving short unscripted talks and then answering our questions about their lives and experiences.

After the Speaker’s Program we went into downtown Denver and walked around for a while.  While there, we went to the set of Chris Matthew’s Hardball, which was really cool to watch.

What really struck me about Denver is the sheer amount of protesters, as well as the extensive police presence.  It seemed like every block there was a group of heavily body-armored police officers with dogs and automatic rifles scanning the crowd for any sign of a civil disturbance.  To match the police presence, there are literally hundreds of thousands of protesters demonstrating on issues ranging from outlandish – our government’s involvement in the planning of 9/11 – to the serious – pro-Life protesters arguing with pro-Choice protesters – to the downright funny, with one group of people marching to bring back Crystal Pepsi.

While in Denver, I continued my quest to secure credentials to the Convention, which are exceptionally hard to come by.  By the end of the day, I had become so desperate that I began cold-calling the Democratic headquarters of different states to see if they had any extras.  Finally however, through a family connection, I got credentials for Thursday night at Invesco Field and possibly to see Bill Clinton and Joe Biden tomorrow, which is awesome.

Anyway this post is getting to be a little long, but I still want to talk about what actually went on at the convention so I think I am going to open it up to you guys.  What did you think of the keynote speech?  I think Warner brought up some issues that hadn’t been raised previously in this election, but he didn’t elicit the excitement I was hoping for.

What did you guys think of the Governor of Montana – Brian Schweizter?  I loved his energy and the ease with which he spoke, he seemed like a nice, regular, normal guy who just happened to be speaking in front of a few million people on live television.

What did you think of Hillary?  Did you think she made enough of an effort to through her support to Obama?  Did she talk too much about her campaign?  Did it seemed forced, did you think her heart was really in it?

And finally, the clincher, were Bill Clintons tears real, or were they just a ploy for sympathy?
I am looking forward to your responses!

WHYY Audio: Dave Heller chats with special correspondent Lily Gold

August 26, 2008

You’ve been reading Lily’s and Dan’s posts from the DNC.  Now here’s your chance to catch her first report back to WHYY’s Dave Heller.  The following piece aired yesterday afternoon on 91FM.

Click here to listen to the interview.

Lily sounds like she’s having a great time and, as Dave said, she’s learning one of the most important lessons in politics – how to network.

Check back again later tonight and tomorrow for more of Lily’s and Dan’s dispatches from the DNC.

C is for Credential and Credentials are Not for Me

August 26, 2008

So I apologize if the wit and banter which some of you may have come to expect from these posts is a little lacking in this post, but I think after you read about the day I have had, my lack of poetry will be understood, and the mere fact that I can string words together in a semi-coherent sentence will be a wonder all in its own.

This morning was met waaay too early. We had a 5:30 departure time to get into Denver before the action started. Once in Denver, the six students from the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania piled off the bus at the Tech Center Marriott, also known as the home to the Pennsylvania delegation. Waddling through the parking lot in my most professional looking heels, I was in quite a lot of pain by the time I arrived in the lobby. Off went the heels, on went the flats. I thought this piece of fashion information was crucial to the structure and fluidity of this post since I started out with a disclaimer of sorts foretelling a story about my long day.

Nothing makes the day seem long quite like achy feet.

And for those of you wondering about another fashion staple of mine: no, the pink hair was not down for the world (or at least the delegates) to see, but rather, tucked back in a rather professional looking bun.

Our breakfast this morning did not disappoint by any standard of the word. Every Pennsylvania Democratic delegate was there, or at least it seemed that way to me. Just to name a few, the breakfast featured such honored delegates as Senator Bob Casey, Mayor Nutter, Mayor Street, various members of Congress, and Governor Rendell. There was also this guy who I think is a cowboy. If you are seeing a theme here from my last post, my only explanation is that maybe cowboy chic is making a comeback.

I tried not to let myself get too starstruck by these heavy hitters because, as I explicitly described with my Charlie and the Chocolate Factory reference from the previous post, I was seeking credentials wherever I could. Little did I know that the task of finding extra credentials lying around is even harder than picking a needle from a haystack. At least in that scenario at least there is a pointy prize to be gained at the end.

What I mean to say is, there were no credentials left. Pennsylvania is unique in the way that, instead of distributing extra credentials among the delegates themselves, each delegate enters their name in a raffle and the winning names get credentials. Hefty sigh for us hoepful high schoolers. But don’t count on this correspondent to be down and out so fast- I networked at this breakfast more than I do on Facebook, and trust me, I am on Facebook a lot.

After the breakfast we loaded up the bus and drove down to the University of Denver Cable Center to hear speakers.  Today’s theme du jour was “Meet the Delegates”, designed to give us a variety of delegates who talked to us, well, about how they became a delegate.  Truth be told, I only actually heard two of the six programmed speeches because in my mad rush to find credentials, I was out of the building for most of the afternoon.  But basically, every speaker just talked about what it means to be a delegate and how they got to be in that position.  Some were at their first convention ever and some were seasoned vets adding another convention notch onto their already double digit belt.  So, you would think that with the wide variety of people, that each speech would have been insightful and interesting anddifferent!  But alas, we basically heard the same speech over and over again, so I guess I’m lucky not to have had to sit through a complete afternoon of the same speech only.  I think it may have been seen as rude to fall asleep.  Possibly…

So, for those of you who read that last paragraph in the spirit of my mother and are worriedly puzzled as to what it means to be “out of the building for most of the afternoon”, there is indeed a story there.  At this point I should interject that I have just referenced my mother, and for those of you keeping score, that is two post references in a row.  I doubt any of you are keeping score, except for my father.  So, look out for two fatherly references in the story of my afternoon, which believe me when I tell you is a story.

At breakfast, my friend Lisa who I was schmoozing people with and I were told by the head of Pennsylvania’s Democratic Party that if we came back to the hotel at 1, he would do everything he could to scrounge up credentials for us.  So after the speaker, Lisa and I flagged down a very attractive prius cab to take us back to the hotel.  Once we got back to the Marriott, we went in and asked for our credentials at which point the staffers just looked at us dumbfounded because there were no credentials left anywhere.  And, to make things worse, Lisa told people we were coming back with credentials, so of course we couldn’t come back without them.

Trying every contact we could think of, Lisa got a hold of a contact she had bonded with at breakfast who told us to wait at the hotel for a hour and then he would, in his words, hook us up.  While we waited, one of the RAs came by to supervise us with another girl who had already picked up her credential.  After waiting for about a hour, this guy finally comes back and tells us there is nothing he can do.  So, after a day of schmoozing and asking and practically pleading, I could not muster up enough magic to get a credential, but as I now realize, the likelihood of me getting a credential is about as likely as finding on of those golden tickets inside of a chocolaty Willy Wonka bar. But you never know- there are tens of thousands of seats that need people to fill them, and if they need someone to fill Biden’s seat when he goes to the bathroom, I’ll be there.

So, even though I was not on the Convention floor, I did watch the speeches from the Convention Center at a DNC sponsored watch party. But, as I was walking towards the Convention Center, I was confronted by rows and rows of police officers, brandished nightsticks and all. Then, from behind us and in front of us, police officers on bicycles rode through the crowd and down towards the center. So, in listening to the safety tips my father always taught me, I threw off my shoes and went running after the bicycles. But I was soon stopped by a police officer standing idly at the corner of the street. He asked me if I could breathe through tear gas, and when I said that I could not, he told me that I should then turn around and run the other way. After that I looked back and saw a mob of police officers as far as the eye could see crowding around what I would learn later were protesters protesting the establishment of laws. I also found out that they not only used tear gas but rubber bullets. I was glad to run the other way back towards the button stand.

I finally got to the Convention Center to catch the tail end of the convention speeches plastered across multiple flat screen TVs. If it had not been for the tinge of disappointment in my heart in knowing that I had spent all day trying to get into something that I had to settle for seeing on TV, I would have found the setup in the center quite cool. The main hall was lined with convention related booths, exhibits, and even a station to check our Facebooks with a twin station to watch YouTube videos. But I did not explore the booths, and instead, went and slunk down in my chair to watch Michelle Obama’s incredibly successful speech with people who are equally if not more as interested as I am.

But even sunken down in my seat, I found Michelle’s speech affective in a way that not only made Barack seem more human but also showed that she is ready to be the mother of the country.I read an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer on the flight over here that talked about the four things Obama needs to do to gain the nomination. The one that stuck out to me was that voters need to get to know Obama as a person and I think that the video before Michelle’s speech and the intro by her brother allowed us as voters to learn about where the Obama’s came from and gave us the opportunity to visualize them as the first family. Even in the Convention Center she got a standing ovation.

So, even though the theme of our day was “Meet the Delegates”, I think that the day was more constructed to “Meet the Obamas”, and in that respect, I feel as though I could let the Obamas into my house for a Passover Sedar. And though I have not yet found the golden ticket, I have found a new family to help me find the afikomen.

Lily Gold is a rising junior at Germantown Friends School and is attending the Democratic National Convention as part of the JSA – Junior State of America. Check back for her blog posts throughout the week and tune into 91FM for live reports with WHYY’s Dave Heller in the afternoon.

Second Day At the DNC

August 26, 2008

Well after approximately 3 hours of sleep, I awoke this morning at 4:30 AM. After stumbling around getting ready, I got down to the lobby of the hotel where a feast of egg and cheese sandwiches awaited us and then piled onto buses organized by state. The buses departed at a little after 5:30 AM headed for Denver. My bus, which consisted primarily of New Jerseyans, but also included one person from Hawaii, another from Indiana, and another from Guam, dropped us off at the Inverness Hotel where we were to meet the delegation from New Jersey for breakfast.

As delegates began trickling in to the breakfast we nervously stood outside the doors of the dining room hoping that one or two might introduce themselves to us. Contrary to my expectations, many of the delegates were extremely friendly, and seemed genuinely interested in talking to us and finding out more about why we were there. Included among the many delegates we met: Governor Jon Corzine, and my Congressman Rush Holt. It’s really cool to see so many people that you have seen only on TV in real life. To me, it adds a whole new dimension to them, both literally and figuratively.

After the delegates breakfast we went to the Cable Center to listen to a few speakers, and then arrived at the Colorado Conference Center to watch the convention. Now, I know you may be thinking “shouldn’t you be at the Pepsi Center to watch it live?” The answer to that question is… well yeeeah. However, for reasons which I will elaborate on further in another post credentials for the Pepsi Center are scarce, and are not supplied by JSA to us, as we are instead expected to beg them off of kind-hearted delegates.

More later, another early start tomorrow.

Dan Shipper is a junior at Princeton Day School in Princeton, NJ. He’s part of a delegation of high school students with JSA – the Junior State of America – who are attending the Democratic National Convention this week. Check back often for Dan’s on-the-ground accounts of the DNC.

The Anticipation is Building…

August 24, 2008

As I sit here on the eve of the opportunity of a lifetime, I find that there are no words left in my head.  I know that the title of this post may have led you to believe that I am bubbling over with excitement (which I am) but I just can’t seem to find any words left after the countless e-mails and phonecalls that have gone into the preparation for this day.  So instead of dealing with my lack of thoughts, I have spent the last 24 hours obsessing about the little details that go into preparing for an event like this, much as I would expect the people over at the Pepsi Center are doing as well.

Quite like those laboring volunteers, I too spent the day tending to my appearance, but instead of hanging up banners, I was in my manicurist’s chair dealing with hang nails.  In addition to my outward up-to-dateness, I also dove into this week’s issue of Time Magazine completely devoted to – that’s right – you guessed it – the Democrats. But, beyond my last minute cramming, the only prep that I have done preceding this hooplah of an event is following the ups and downs of election for the past year or so.  I guess the reason why I have spent the day doing trivial things is because the more I think about my lack of formal preparation, the more scared I get.

Now, I know I said that I have been devoid of thoughts, but I must admit that is partially a lie: I, like everyone else in the free world, waited in heated anticipation to find out when the pin would drop on Obama’s announcement of his running mate.  Luckily for me, instead of subscribing to Obama texts, I subscribe to CNN text message alerts, which means that I received my text at 12:52 am instead of waiting up until three.

Now for those of you who may wonder about the early morning Obama text, I read in this Fox News Article, not very Democratic of me I know, that the Obama camp scrambled to send out their text after their pick was leaked to the media (hence my premature CNN confirmed text).  But, despite the fumbling of the mass message, I completely 100 percent agree with the veep victor.

Biden adds experience especially in foreign policy, which is where Obama needs it most.  His liberalism compliments Obama nicely and his relationship with blue collar workers can potentially make Obama competitive in places dominated by Hillary supporters.  Now, I don’t mean to be a kill joy, but there is one major flaw in the veep selection (besides for the 3 electoral votes dominantly Democratic Delaware has to offer): Obama Biden.  Try saying that five times fast.

So, I guess I am filled with many thoughts, but the one in particular that seems to be dominating is my fear of the unknown, both in my role as a Junior StatesWOman and as a media correspondent.  But, now that I have found my way through the murky waters of my first post, I feel a sense of relief wash over me.  And I guess you will have to continue to tune in as I relate my escapades navigating my way through the waters of the DNC while trying to figure out how to be the best Junior StatesWOman I can be.

Lily Gold is a rising junior at Germantown Friends School and is attending the Democratic National Convention as part of the JSA – Junior State of America. Check back for her blog posts throughout the week and tune into 91FM for live reports with WHYY’s Dave Heller in the afternoon.