The Presidential Campaign Comes to Denver for a Day

Yesterday, the Democratic Presidential campaign came to Denver for a day and Andrea and I were at both events.  First thing in the morning, we attended the Barack Obama rally at the University of Denver.  The doors to Magness Arena were supposed to open at 8:30, but when we arrived, there were already thousands of people in line.  We barely got into the lobby of the arena before the Secret Service slammed the doors shut.  We ended up watching Federico Pena and Rod Smith’s speech on the small arena tvs before they had everyone go outside to the lacrosse field.  I was impressed the Obama himself took the time to visit both of the overflow locations in person to thank people for coming out.  The best quote of the day was when he said on the lacrosse field that, “It looks like we need a bigger boat,” as there were about 14,000 people at the event.  They then played the main speech over the loudspeakers and we left after that.

While we were waiting in line for Obama, Andrea’s friend, Faith Winter, got us volunteered for the Bill Clinton fundraiser for Hillary in the evening.  We had to be at the JW Marriott in Cherry Creek at 5:15 pm for a brief training fro the fundraiser.  People started flowing in around 6 pm for the event and we finally started letting people in around 6:30.  I was assigned to check tickets at the door.  I made the mistake of stopping the head of Mr. Clinton’s Secret Service detail.  She was dressed like anyone else and when I asked to see her ticket, she said “I have one better, I have a badge.”  She then introduced herself and kept on checking the security arrangements.  I also met former Denver Mayor, Wellington Webb, though I didn’t recognize him at first.  He was very much less than impressed that I asked to see his ticket.  He was a much larger man than I imagined, 6’6”-6’7” and easily 300 pounds.

It was definitely interesting people watching at the Clinton fundraiser.  Tickets were either $100 or $1000 to the event, yet it was still a cash bar!?!?!?  We had a good time joking with the Denver police officer assigned to the door during the lulls in traffic and got to go in and hear Bill speak for about 30 minutes.  I was definitely surprised that, given Bill’s reputation as a charismatic speaker, he wasn’t half the orator that Obama was. 

I came away from the day even more impressed with Obama than I had been before.  I had been planning to vote for Obama in the caucus on February 5th, and nothing I saw during the day changed that.  All in all, it was a great day getting to experience a political campaign up close.