Sunday, August 03, 2008

DNC Convention Invesco Tour and CNN Grill | Pepsi Media Tent City

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

On the morning of July 31st 2008, I boarded a United Airlines morning flight to Denver to attend the final (?) media walkthrough before the Democratic National Convention, this one at Invesco Field.

Unlike my first media walkthrough trip, I ended up renting a Saturn SUV for ground travel. The reason was simple: it was cheap. Cheaper to rent than a Prius and because they were in low demand versus the economy cars. In a way it worked out to a savings of about $25. Invesco Field was only 20 minutes away from the airport, so it was a quick trip for me.

I arrived at Invesco at 11:20 and ran into a DNCC employee (who I will not name by request) and who walked me around the stadium (we ended up on the field at one point) and eventually into the main briefing meeting.

For security reasons I did not film the main meeting discussion, but focused more on the 'broadbrush" tour and interviews of key media people there. On the way to the main press box, I met "Oreo" who's one of the main contributors at and talked about how the blog came to be and who the writers were. To my surprise, one of them was a person who had his own blog called "Mr. Super" for a time, and gave all of us political junkies fits trying to figure out who he was. It's become a great resource for DNC Convention news.

After talking with Oreo, and heading to the main field, I met Sara Burrett, who's a reporter for the Rocky Mountain News. Sara -- who I talked to while tripping all over myself on the Invesco Field sidewalk -- told me that she was a court reporter until this assignment and that her current focus was on the lawsuit the protest group Recreate68 and their leader Glen Spagnuolo, who's known for protesting the Columbus Day Holiday in Denver and for whom a split was caused between his group and other protest groups.

See, even Democratic PROTESTERS can't get along.

But I digress.

Sara also pointed out where Senator Obama will stand to give his acceptance speech, which is about on the 50-yard-line of the field used by The Denver Broncos.

That about ended that part of the tour. But Oreo and I decided to take a tour of our own making. He drove us over to the Pepsi Center area to see the media tent city in the making. Two construction reps let us in and we parked and walked the grounds. The media tents must be about 25,000 square feet in size each, and there were two made already, one for NBC News, the other we didn't know who was for, perhaps CNN.

Writing of CNN, we then walked over to the Brooklyn Grill for a quick lunch. Oreo informed me that the grill was to be transformed into the "CNN Grill" and almost on cue, we saw a stencil being used to paint the CNN = Politics logo on the side of the building. They had just got started with this, and we were the first to record the action.

The one problem with the CNN plan is the restaurant workers know nothing about it. They don't know if they will be paid double-time or who will get to work the shifts, or anything and they're getting a little nervous about the whole deal.

Then, on the way out, Oreo, who lives in Denver, pointed to where the DNC Media Party was to be held over at an amusement park nearby.

In all, the Democratic Party is working overtime to make the DNC Convention work. The objective is open-ness. The main issue now is still scheduling. Contrary to reports, many of the speakers and speaking days have not been fully set. Speculation that Hillary Clinton will not be the VP choice because of the Tuesday "Women's Day" event is faulty at best.

On the way back to the airport, I turned in my rental car and then forgot my iPhone in it. Alamo Rent-A-Car got it back to me very quickly and for that I give thanks.

Update from Matt: Hey, Oreo's got a starring role! Now everyone knows what he looks like! Handsome guy, don't you think?