Monday, September 1, 2008

Democratic National Convention: Day 2

On Wednesday, after about 5 hours of sleep, we got up and headed to the Maryland Delegation hotel for the Delegation breakfast. We had to be there because immediately following breakfast each day, they opened up the sign-up sheet for the lottery for the extra credentials. Credentials, you see, are like gold. They are what get you into the actual Convention. We were desperate to get some.

Although we were exhausted, we were energized by that morning's speakers--Governor Duval Patrick of Massachusetts and Speaker Nancy Pelosi!

From breakfast we headed downtown to try to crash the Creative Coalition event for the movie 14 Women, a film about the 14 women U.S. Senator's in the 109th Congress. We got in! And, so Abel and I found ourselves in the same room as Tim Daly, Anne Hathaway, Annette Benning (who was being honored), Susan Sarandon (who walked right by me!), Matthew Modine and Angela Bassett. I also got to chat with Senator Debbie Stabenow which was extra-exciting for me because I worked for her campaign when she first ran for Congress.

After that star-studded event we walked over to the Denver Convention Center (not to be confused with the Pepsi Center where the actual Convention was taking place). We had heard that Hillary was going to have an event for her Delegates that afternoon. And, we heard that they weren't going to be checking names to get in. So, of course we wanted to be there!

On the way to get in line for the Hillary event, we literally ran into Speaker Nancy Pelosi signing her new book. Of course I jumped in line! Her daughter, Christine, was there signing her book as well. I bought both and got them both signed. In the brief seconds it took them each to sign my book, I took the opportunity to mention that Speaker Pelosi and I share an alma mater!

Books in hand, we continued down the hall to discover that, despite it being more than two hours before the Hillary event was slated to begin, there were literally hundreds of people in line already. I guess we weren't the only people to find out they were planning to let everyone in!

We got in line.

And stood in line.

For two hours.

I was very tired and very hungry. I started to feel it wasn't worth it--even if they let us into the room on time, I knew the program would start late. It was going to be a standing-only event. So, we got out of line. And, as we were about to leave, we saw two friends working the door for the press. They waved us over and put us in line at the back of the press. The best part? The press were the first ones let into the room! We ended up getting standing immediately behind the up-front section reserved for wheelchairs. I was still tired and hungry and we still had to wait another 45 minutes before Hillary came into the room. It ended up being the speech where she officially released her delegates and we were right up front! It was truly an historical moment. I'm glad I was there.

We grabbed a quick slice of pizza and made our way back to the house where we were staying. Desperate for a nap, I laid down for about 45 minutes when Abel came in to tell me that someone else in the house had given us their credentials for the convention that evening. Woo hoo!

We left immediately.

It ended up being a huge disappointment. First, due to several delays including protesters on bicycles blocking traffic, it took forever to get there. In security, my Sigg water bottle got confiscated. It ended up that our "Special Guest" Hall credentials were the lowest of the low. By the time we got there the Fire Marshall had declared the conventional hall to be over-capacity so all we could do was peek in over the 5-10 other people peering into each opening. Our only real option was to watch the speeches on TV from the hallway of the Convention!

Willing to try anything, I stood by the down escalator and asked everyone with "Floor" credentials (the best ones) if they were leaving for the evening. If they answered yes, I asked if they would give us their credentials. After about dozen no's (yes they were leaving, no they wouldn't give up their credentials--I knew it was unlikely as they're major souvenir items but a girl's gotta' try, right?) the security guard told me that even if I did get Floor credentials it was too late and they weren't letting any more people in, now matter what credentials they had.

Eventually, completely deflated, we left and headed over to that night's Maryland Delegation party hosted by Governor O'Malley at Fado. O'Malley is a musician and at one point two other Governor's were on stage playing with him.

Even though the actual convention was a huge disapointment for us, it was an incredible day.

Day 2 Fun Fact: Wednesday morning we received our 3rd canvas "swag" bag since arriving. That's 3 bags in about 22 hours!

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