Blogs > Sun Insider

News and quick-hit commentary from around mid-Michigan ... from the Morning Sun.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

After Hillary's speech, Michigan Dems come together for Obama

Sun Special Correspondent
DENVER -- I failed again Tuesday in my quest to obtain a floor pass so that I could interview delegates and dignitaries firsthand and describe the atmosphere.
I finally found an out-of-the way press office filled with desks and reporters that had a line for temporary floor passes.
Even though Hillary Clinton's speech was about to begin, I got in line and took my chances. When I got to the head of the line, the person in charge told me that I was in the wrong line and give me directions to a locale elsewhere in the Pepsi Center that I had been to four times before, finding no line.
I will keep asking, but the folks stationed throughout the building who are supposed to know the answer to questions, usually don't. They need a toll-free number for us to call.


After the latest rebuff I headed upstairs to Section 372, where my credentials say I am supposed to sit. Bad news. All the seating areas were full and closed. Big turnout for the Hillary Clinton speech.
I exited the building and walked halfway around the Pepsi Center to the familiar white tent known as Pavilion No. 2, where reporters have open work space.
I joined a small crowd gathered around TV monitors in a hospitality area sponsored by Captain Morgan, the rum. It offered free food and drinks.
Many in the crowd were reporters shut out of hall seating like I was. The feed from CSPAN on one TV was slightly out of sync with the feed from CNN so Clinton's speech had an echo. Eerie, to say the least.


Across the way was the LexisNexis booth, where free water was given out earlier. To buttress the research data provider's reputation, a big screen offered LexisNexis Dashboard, a listing of "share of voice, share of coverage" of key political figures: the Obamas, the Clintons, John McCain, and Joe Biden. Barack, Michelle and Hillary had up arrows, Bill was about even and John and Joe were in decline. Another screen showed the top issues as energy and health care.


Former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard, a Hillary Clinton campaign co-chair turned enthusiastic Obama supporter, kicked off the Michigan delegates' breakfast Wednesday morning. He said the bad things that have happened to the United States under the Bush Administration could have been avoided if Democrats had pulled together and elected Al Gore in 2000. He urged Clinton supporters to join him in the Obama camp, hinting that their failure to do so could lead to more bad times.
Later in an interview, Blanchard told me that he is discouraged by the skyrocketing cost of higher education (CMU's tuition has more than doubled in six years) in Michigan. He said he was proud of his administration's efforts to keep tuition low and hold down increases.


Michigan House Speaker Andy Dillon told the delegates that Hillary Clinton's campaign for president showed that the "door is open to every woman" to aspire to the highest office. He said Democrats must come together around Obama because of "our shared sense of values."


AFL-CIO executive Richard Trumka told the delegates that race is being used to divide Democrats. "We must educate voters as to who Obama is and who McCain isn't."


Another prominent Democrat who originally supported another candidate for president but is now on the Obama bandwagon spoke at the press briefing after the breakfast. Former U.S. Rep. David Bonoir was John Edwards’ co-chair until Edwards quit the race. Now he serves as a "whip" for Obama in Michigan. He said Obama is right on the environment, energy, jobs and "the need for the U.S. to open dialogue with other nations."


One of my CMU students wanted to know how social web sites such as Facebook and MySpace have affected the presidential race.
Bonoir said those two sites, along with YouTube, will play big parts in Obama's victory.
"If there is a drop-off in the vote of traditional older Democratic voters, the young will make it up," he suggested.
Elizabeth Kerr, the young press spokeswoman for the Michigan Democratic Party, said, "The Internet is how young people talk to each other about why they should vote for Obama, and other like groups are doing the same talking to one another (about the presidential race), too."

(John C. Hartman is a Central Michigan University journalism professor who is blogging about the Democratic National Convention for the Morning Sun.)


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home