When I picked up my credentials Wednesday morning, I was presented with a sheet to vote for my choice for president. The sheet contained a list of all of the names of the delegates, a box for us to check and a line to sign our names. Since it was my first convention, I had no idea how the voting would work, but I was quite surprised to see it being done this way. It felt so, well, public. We had previously been told that the vote would take place later in the day, sometime after the meeting of the Hillary delegates. Oh, well. I cast my vote.
One of the speakers at breakfast was former Clinton campaign advisor Terry McAuliffe. Operating on 45 minutes of sleep, McAuliffe had the Energizer Bunny beat 😉 Every time I see him, he’s going full bore and Wednesday’s speech was no different. (Kerry Dougherty of the Pilot has more here.) He’s got a new book out and provided copies of it to all fellow members of the Virginia delegation. Not sure that he intended to do a book signing after his speech, I quickly grabbed a copy and got him to autograph it for me.
(As for the speculation of him running for governor of Virginia, I have to say everyone needs to read that report pretty closely. To say in the first paragraph that he is “considering running” and then to say that he did “little to dampen speculation” are two incongruent statements. I got no sense that McAuliffe was considering a run. And I understand that he has already held two fundraisers for Brian Moran, which doesn’t make any sense for a guy considering a run of his own. I did hear a rumor on Tuesday of another candidate possibly entering the gubernatorial race, but it wasn’t McAuliffe.)
I skipped the Black Caucus meeting Wednesday because I had previously agreed to do Cathy Lewis’ radio show. Appearing on the show before me as well as during the time I was on was Brian Moran. It was interesting to hear what the folks back home were saying about the convention.
After the radio show, I headed over to the LBGT caucus meeting, which started at noon MT. I wasn’t able to stay long, as the big item on my agenda Wednesday was the meeting of HIllary and her delegates. Scheduled for 1:15pm, I headed over to the Korbel room around 12:40. Already the line was huge, going in both directions from the upper level down to the entrance. The event was supposed to be a ticketed one, so I wondered how long it was going to take to get folks inside. As it turned out, not long, since it ended up being open to anyone. Standing in a room packed like sardines, a guy behind me started yelling “Obama.” Didn’t take too long for folks to shut him up. After a couple of brief introductions, Hillary took to the podium. Many of those there – I’d estimate somewhere around 2,500 folks – started chanting “Hillary.” Two guys standing in front of me (and blocking my view) started snickering and booing. I asked them if they were Obama delegates and they said they were. So much for unity, I guess.
Hillary was gracious, as she had been the previous night. She made comment about the number of people in the room, saying she didn’t know she had that many delegates. (I have video of her remarks, thanks to a very tall delegate from Puerto Rico who stood behind me and recorded it for me. Hopefully I’ll have it posted soon.) She told us that she had voted for Obama that morning and released us from any obligation to vote for her. She urged us to follow her lead.
We had been asked to be on the convention floor when it was gaveled open at 3pm, so I headed over to the Pepsi Center, arriving just as the National Anthem was being sung. The nominating speeches started. And then there was the roll call. Interestingly enough, there was nothing inside Pepsi Center to tell us what the vote count was. I tried to access the wireless internet there using my laptop but was unsuccessful. I also tried to get some info on my phone. Sitting behind me was Virginia Beach’s Georgia Allen, who was recording the votes cast but didn’t have a running total. The alphabetical roll call meant that Virginia was way down the list, although Gov. Tim Kaine and Rep. Bobby Scott along with DPVA chair Dickie Cranwell appeared ready to announce our results.
Rumors of a deal having been reached between the Obama campaign and the Clinton campaign made for interesting political theater. California passed, as did Obama’s home state of Illinois. When New Mexico yielded to Illinois, it looked like it was about over. Then New Mexico Illinois yielded New York. In the midst of the NY delegation, Senator Hillary Clinton came forward to the microphone and made a motion that Barack Obama be nominated by acclimation. In a few minutes, it was all over.
The swelling of my feet and legs (the altitude?) made me more than a bit uncomfortable so I decided to head back to the hotel and watch the rest of the evening on TV. I gave my delegate’s pass to Kenny Alexander, who had given his to his wife so that she could be on the floor, and started walking to the bus on the 16th Street Mall. Along the way, I was stopped a few times (because I still had my other credentials on) and asked about the convention. I had an interesting conversation with a political science student from England, who had come over in May to observe the phenomenon of the selection process. I talked to police officers, who told me of how Denver had cleaned up the streets for the convention. I chatted with a woman who said this convention wasn’t like any others she’d ever attended. By the time I got back to the hotel, Bill Clinton’s speech was more than half over.
I spent the rest of the evening watching TV in the bar with folks who didn’t have passes and later, the folks coming back from the Pepsi Center. Some truly interesting conversations, especially with some of the members of the media who were present. I think I finally packed it in around 2am.
UPDATE: I completely forgot to mention a couple of things. First, there was a delegation luncheon Wednesday (which I didn’t attend, obviously) with Richmond Mayor and former Governor Doug Wilder and Mass. Governor Deval Patrick. Perhaps someone who was there can shed some light on what happened.
Second, there was a delegation pool party Wednesday night. And yes, a couple of people actually went in the pool 😉