Denver Diary Pt. 1

Just getting my feet on the ground at the convention site– the Pepsi Center in Denver.  Pretty typical first day of convention set-up– complete chaos, as news crews from around the country try to get their equipment through security and into workspaces.  Long lines, some short tempers. 

Our NBC workspace is in a corner of the arena parking lot… a few minutes’ walk from the convention floor, under normal circumstances. 

But the rule at conventions is– figure out how long something should take, then multiply by 10.  (Getting into the convention compound took nearly two hours). We’ll see how long that few minutes’ walk to the convention floor will take once the delegates are in the house and security is in full force.

The delegates are trickling in.  Florida’s 211 delegates are split among three different hotels– the Red Lion, the Embassy suites, and the The Timbers.  I’ve seen the first two– both modest spots, just off I-70.  Maybe the downscale digs are punishment for Florida’s moving its primary up on the calendar, violating party rules in the process.

The original punishment for that, of course, was the total elimination of Florida’s delegates.  Then, in May, the Democrats Rules & Bylaws Committee restored half the Sunshine State’s delegate clout.  Tomorrow, FL may be made whole, as the Obama campaign tries to put the delegate flap in the rear view mirror.

The party’s credentials committee meets at 11 AM MDT Sunday.  The candidate has said he wants Florida to get back all its votes, and the credentials committee’s likely to comply tomorrow.  Whether our state’s voters hold the whole delegate mess against the Democratic ticket in November is open to question.  My hunch is that most voters will care a lot more about the issues, and will have heard so much campaign back-and-forth by then, that the controversy over Fla’s delegates won’t matter much.

Besides, at this point, the Republicans have cut FL’s delegate strength in half as well, as punishment for a too-early primary.  That sanction may be reversed when the GOP gathers in convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul next week.

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