Democratic National Convention Begins In Denver

By: Shannon Brinias Email
By: Shannon Brinias Email
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Excitement is building for the Democratic National Convention, slated to start Monday in Denver. The schedule calls for DNC Chair Howard Dean, the former Governor of Vermont, to call the convention to order at 3 p.m.

Following that, former Colorado State Senator Polly Baca, of Greeley, will be giving the invocation. The delegation from Colorado will be seated right in front of the podium on the convention floor. Other states' delegations are seated throughout the floor of the Pepsi Center, as well as in the seats rising up from the floor on three sides of the arena.

From the delegates enjoying a stroll through Denver's 16th Street Mall, to the local residents venturing downtown to see what it's all about, it seems as if this national event is bringing a momentum of its own to the city.

It may have been helped along by the announcement Friday of the choice of Senator Joe Biden as running-mate of Senator Barack Obama.

The choice has drawn support and skepticism.

Along the tourist-area of the 16th Street Mall, you can find Bruce Peterson and John Hathaway playing chess, along with several dozen others at the public chess tables.

Peterson likes Obama's pick. "If he wasn't going to pick Hillary, and get all her votes, then go with Biden, who can go out and fight for all them votes," he says.

Hathaway's doubtful anyone on the Democratic ticket's going to get his vote. "My issue is abortion," he says.

A few dozen feet away, Denver residents Jim and Jennifer Thomaidis are enjoying a late supper. They say they came downtown solely to experience how the DNC was impacting their hometown. As for Obama's choice of Sen. Biden for Vice President, Jim Thomaidis says it remains to be seen if this will divide the party. As a Republican, he admits John McCain likely has his vote. However, he does say there are many things Sen. Obama says that he likes. "But his flip-flopping on issues has me worried," Thomaidis says.

Waiting for a bus, Paula Martinez and Mary Campos are enjoying their last free night before getting down to the business of the convention. The mother and daughter are both delegates from Iowa. Campos is all for Sen. Biden in the number two slot. "He's a great statesman," she says. Her daughter, Martinez, agrees. "(He'll) bring alot to the table, especially foreign leaders," she says.

Monday's slate of podium presentations includes the Colorado Children's Chorale performing the National Anthem, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, and Michelle Obama giving the headliner address.

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