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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

 2:19 AM 

Delegate Diary: The first night

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Stan Davis
After the Voice of America interview, I headed to the Colorado Convention Center for the African American Caucus meeting. It was almost over by the time I made it through the very creative McCain supporters who were blocking the entrance and chanting NoBama! NoBama! I just bought some T-shirts for my kids and headed to lunch with two of my favorite current and former DOA secretaries and some other members of the Wisconsin delegation.

Secretary Jackson and I went to the floor at about 3 p.m. to watch Chairman Howard Dean turn things over to Speaker Pelosi. She called the meeting to order, and there was a series of speeches that led up to the adoption of the Democratic Party platform. The evening session was pretty amazing with the tribute to Sen. Kennedy and Kennedy's appearance and speech. The crowd was clearly moved and inspired.

After being introduced by her older brother, Michelle Obama took the stage and gave a great speech in which she emphasized the importance of family, honored Hillary Clinton for putting 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling and talked of her love of America. For me, the highlight of the night was when the Obama daughters came onto the stage. Their genuine excitement when Barack was shown on the screen in front of them did more to humanize Sen. Obama than any brilliant ad exec could. It is impossible to see those two girls and how poised and well raised they clearly are and believe that Michelle Obama is the "unpatriotic loose cannon" that their opponents are trying to portray her to be.

On the way out Milton Bond and I saw lots of famous faces. Milton ran into Spike Lee in the rest room and got to shake Joe Biden's hand as he and about 30 secret service guys walked by us. Walter Mondale was right behind Milton as he was shaking Biden's hand. After Milton saw all of those people, I got to talk to Minnesota U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken. We also ran into former Maryland GOP Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. We still aren't sure what he was doing there.

The after party was hosted by the Democratic Governors Association at an amusement park right by the Pepsi Center. Upon entry, we were greeted by lots of tiny foods on platters: tiny hotdogs, tiny nachos, tiny funnel cakes and tiny ice cream cones. I'm not sure what that was all about, but tiny versions of real food just ticks me off. It took us a while, but we eventually found the real barbeque and had a late dinner. On the bus ride home, Secretary Morgan and I ran into the attorney general of the state of Maryland and heard about his trip with his son to see a Packers game at Lambeau Field.

I haven't heard any "expert" analysis yet, but I think that the night could not have gone much better politically. Between Kennedy and Michelle, it seemed like a great success, and I hope that it put a human face on the people that some are spending millions to demonize and caricature. It is way past my bed time, so I'll have to see what the talking heads said in the morning.

-- Davis is a government relations partner at Axley Brynelson LLP.

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