I am learning that it is very hard to be a delegate and a blogger at the same time. We arrived back at our hotel to tonight at 10:30 after the first evening convention session, but I feel compelled to write about this experience now, no matter how late it is.
Delegates were transported to the convention hall in buses through a safe route and a security presence all along the way. The quarter of an hour drive took us 45 minutes. Security into the building went relatively quickly, similar to airport safety measures, except we kept our shoes on. We were checked twice before we entered the hall. I remember Boston four years ago to be much more time consuming.
There were 4,000 delegates in the hall plus guests. The California delegation is located above the floor slightly right of the stage. We have great seats. We are directly under the CNN booth and can see the CNN stage with their pundits below us. At least it's not Fox.
Although the session began at 3pm, Speaker Pelosi officially called it to order at 6:15. Once again she rallied the troops. Barack Obama is right and John McCain is wrong has become her mantra. In between speakers, musical groups performed. Th excitement was high as Democrats sang, danced, held up signs and waved flags. Republicans don't quite move the way Democrats do!
The highlights of the evening were the speeches by Michelle Obama and the tribute to Teddy Kennedy. Michelle was articulate and warm. She described her growing up, her love of her family, country and Barack. It was a perfect speech and she was on point on all the issues she had to target. She acknowledged Hillary and her accomplishments to great applause. The audience loved it and everyone around me expressed great satisfaction with her speech. I heard later that most of the CNN reporters described her comments as too soft. Like Hillary, she seems to be in a no win position.
The tribute to Teddy Kennedy began with an introduction by his niece Caroline Kennedy and was followed by a video. It was then Teddy's turn. He invoked the past and looked to the future. He reminded us of his commitment to health care, ironic considering his own illness. He promised to be on the Senate floor in January when Obama takes office. He closed with "the dream lives on." He was surrounded by members of the Kennedy family. The emotion in the hall was overwhelming and many were shedding tears. The evening belonged to Teddy.
The first night session of the convention seemed to be a success but on the way back to our hotels we were informed that protests were occurring in downtown Denver and the buses were being rerouted. Arrests were made but no one could tell us who was protesting. The City had succeeded in keeping us in our cocoons.