Notes from Day 1

Wow. I'm not sure I've been to a bigger pep rally in my life, and I'm not sure there could've been more energy in the Pepsi Center Monday night.

The only thing that seemed to be lacking, in a night that featured speeches from many Illinois high-up governmental officials and politicians, was substantive policy talk and the Democratic platform. Sen. Barack Obama certainly is the center of attention, even though he won't appear until Thursday.

In between speakers a 14-person band rocks the house while the delegates wave whatever they can find. A screen displays dancing people in the audience, and there have been some good reactions. Santa Barbara delegates Tania Israel and Sherry Holland made it onto the big screen, dancing the night away in between speakers. After Michelle Obama's speech, the band cranked out Stevie Wonder's hit "Isn't She Lovely," only to be interrupted by her husband on the screen, checking in on his family.

He did goof in his conversation, when he told his family he was in St. Louis, while Kansas, City Missouri was printed on the screen at the bottom. His daughter called him on it, asking him again where he was.

Obama's interaction with his wife and daughters moment was a light-hearted moment, but one full of emotion. Caroline Kennedy's tribute to her uncle, Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy was another emotional moment, followed by his appearance on-stage, only months after having surgery in June to help with his brain cancer. Edwards told the crowd he planned on being present in January for the inauguration of Obama and that nothing would've kept him from being at the convention.

Delegates consume the whole lower bowl. The 441-person California delegation is situated in the lower bowl to the left of the stage. The Illinois delegation is front and center, while the Delaware delegation was moved up to the front, a traditional move when the vice presidential nominee is announce.

And speaking of that nominee, Sen. Joe Biden received one of the loudest applauses of the evening when they flashed a shot of him on the big screen.

Other people I was able to spot at the Pepsi Center Monday:

  • Director Spike Lee
  • Former President Jimmy Carter
  • Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy (who will be speaking at tomorrow's)
  • 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry
  • CNN's James Carville, Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper on the floor set (how'd they get such good seats?), as well as Katie Curic of CBS and David Gregory of ABC
  • Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who was never too far away from a television news crew
  • Rep. Lois Capps (who will be speaking at Wednesday's event) with the Santa Barbara delegation (sorry for the bad picture Tim)
  • George Stephanopoulos getting his suit lint-rolled in the ABC News box, sitting next to Charles Gibson.
  • Probably a bunch of other politicians I didn't recognize

And here's a rundown of other random stuff I saw today:

  • Multiple protests
  • Actor Danny Glover addressing a luncheon put on by the Global AIDS Alliance Fund
  • Dozens of protestors hauled off in a bus
  • 1,000s of t-shirts and buttons with every slogan, play on words and picture of Obama you can think of
  • The longest line in a Starbucks I've ever seen, and I thought I'd seen some big ones.
  • The biggest tents I've ever seen, outside the Pepsi Center, and I thought I had seen some big ones.

I understand why they say this is an exhausting week. There's the whole getting up early and staying up late thing, but there's also a lot of walking involved. Everything is close enough that you don't need to take a taxi, but still a decent size walk. Plus wearing dress shoes doesn't make it any easier.

My phone ran out of juice a little earlier than planned today, so tomorrow I hope to be able to send more updates tomorrow with a fully juiced phone and access to Internet.

I plan on being at Union Station Tuesday, where Rep. Lois Capps will be joining U.S. House leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to highlight the "New Direction Congress's comprehensive strategy for American Energy Independence."

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