Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama accepts...

What a night. I mean, party affiliation it was truly a remarkable event. I'm not talking about politics. A political convention was moved a mile down the street overnight and 80,000 people in an open air football stadium.

The roars were as loud as the cheers once were for John Elway after throwing yet another touchdown. Did Obama score a touchdown? That's for the pundits and voters to decide.

The NC delegates were clearly in their element. What was extraordinary was how celebrities were mingling and sitting with the general public. We saw Susan Serandon, Anne Hathaway, Chevy Chase, Wyclef Jean, Dan Rather all sitting in the stands sitting next to everyday folks.

The historic nature added quite a buzz to the evening as Obama becomes the first major party African American nominee. It also happened on the 45th anniversary of the "I have a dream" speech.

I can't properly describe the events leading up the final day of the DNC in words. Tens of thousands of people were marching across bridges surrounding the stadium. It was like ants marching in a single file line. Every single person had to go through secret service security check points.

Every two feet Obama gear was for sale. $25 for a t-shirt. On the floor/field, it was so jam packed and insane. Definitely not fun for those who don't like close quarters.

What's funny was beyond the historic nature of the evening, a huge buzz was also surrounding the possibility of a hurricane hitting New Orleans and how that might affect the RNC.

Anyway, it was a wild and interesting week to say the least. Regardless of politics, it is truly an honor to witness history and see these important figures in person and even talk to some of them. I certainly hope we have given you a glimpse of that nad showed you NC's impact on the convention as well.

Denver is a major Raleigh. I can see how it may have once been a lot like Raleigh. THe people talk about how city leaders say no one would ride light rail and it would never work. Now it's one of the most popular modes of transportation. Could that be true in the Triangle, Greensboro, etc.?

THe people are wonderfully nice. Each night on the light rail someone new would talk to us. The light rail drivers would always remember us. The city is very clean. It's just a great place. This was my first visit but it definitely won't be my last.

It's been an honor to bring you stories from such an important event. My colleague Shawn Flynn will work to do the same in Saint Paul with the Republicans next week.

Again, watch Political Connections Friday night at 6 and Sunday morning at 11 to see a wrap of the week with extended interviews.

Until then....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

NC connections

Good morning from the big day here in Denver. It's likely going to be a mess. Transportation is a fiasco. They are asking people to show up no later than 2pm MT which is exactly 6 hours before Sen. Obama takes the stage.

We are leaving for the stadium at 11am MT if that tells you anything. We're still a little unsure how good our access is going to be. We're working on getting an interview with Lenny Julius from Emerald Isle. He's been picked to meet Obama backstage. Unfortunately, due to security issues we have to interview him BEFORE he meets Obama!

Security is here from everywhere, even NC! We've seen police and deputies from communities all over Colorado. While waiting to have our gear searched and inspected yesterday I was talking with two of the security folks and found out they are here from Fort Bragg! Military people are helping as well and they will head to Saint Paul next week. It can't be too bad. They say they just got back from their third trip to Iraq and will head back in December again.

Make sure to watch Political Connections tomorrow night (Friday) at 6pm and Sunday at 11am. We'll be doing the show from here and recapping our week with extended interviews.

I'll try to post more this afternoon on the wild event!

Until then...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

NC convention speaker bumped

So, it was a tale of two stories for two North Carolina women picked to address the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Pamela Cash-Roper of Pittsboro was scheduled to speak at 6:40 MT. Gloria Craven of Eden was scheduled to speak around 8:00 MT. Shortly before 6:00 MT we found out the two speakers were switched.

After Craven's speech we interviewed her and she was clearly nervous but very excited about the opportunity to speak in front of 20,000 people and millions potentially on television.

At 8:30pm MT we were waiting for Ms. Cash-Roper when Hillary Clinton came out on stage. They escorted Cash-Roper to us to do an interview and it was clear she had tears in her eyes. Yep, they were running over on time and she lost the opportunity to speak.

She was frustrated and sad. Imagine telling all your friends and family and then it doesn't happen.

Now, keep in mind, both women were able to introduce Barack Obama personally when he came to North Carolina and I'm guessing the campaign paid for their trips here.

Both women were chosen to tell their story of economic and health hardships.

I'll have more on their reaction to Tuesday's events later today. Based on my light rail trip back to the hotel, delegates are unsure if Clinton's speech will have any impact on her supporters.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Easley dissing Edwards?

I caught up with Governor Mike Easley this afteroon at the Pepsi Center here in Denver at the DNC.

It's his first convention he's ever attended and attributed that to Barack Obama. He says he hasn't attended conventions in the past because his message hasn't always matched the candidate's message. That would obviously include Kerry/Edwards in 2004.

It's all part of an interview that we'll show part of tomorrow and in its entirety Friday (6pm) and Sunday (11am) on Political Connections on

In the meantime, we are getting backstage access to watch two North Carolinians speak at the convention. We're also interviewing them afterward. Watch for that story tomorrow.

Until then...

Tuesday in Denver

Good morning one and all from the Rocky Mountains!

Governor Easley is here and we are trying to track him down for an interview today. The Democratic Party knows little to nothing about his whereabouts so I'm at the mercy of his staff back at Raleigh getting me in touch with his people here in Denver.

Here's something very few want to say but are off the record and off camera. Ted Kennedy's moment on stage was very emotional and remarkable but his speech was not as amazing as commentators say it was last night. Again, it was a remarkable moment but the speech itself didn't knock the socks off a lot of the delegates I spoke to since the speech.

Michelle Obama, on the other hand, did knock the socks off of people. I'm not surprised. I got a chance to interview her twice and I was very impressed. I'm not talking politics, I'm talking about the way she communicates and can tell her family's story.

Tonight, it's Hillary Clinton. She speaks after my deadline so not sure how we're going to cover it yet but this could be a huge moment in this election. Will Clinton be able to convince her strong supporters to lend their vote to Obama despite their anger? Our delegates are convinced it's a smaller number than the media portrays and we are taking it way out of context.

Two North Carolina women are speaking on at the convention floor tonight. We are trying to arrange an interview with one of them after she speaks.

Let me tell you, it's a disaster trying to set up stories here beyond talking to delegates. There are more than 15,000 journalists here and they all want the same access I'm trying to get! There is a gate around the Pepsi Center at least a block in every direction keeping people out. Police are on every corner in Denver. Some have massive weapons and riot gear. Kinda strange!

Anyway, I must continue on my quest to find the Governor. Check out News 14 Carolina later on tonight. We'll have a story on the oldest and youngest delegates in NC and maybe even the entire convention!

Until then...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Let the DNCC begin!

Howard Dean officially got the party started this afternoon and the convention is underway in Denver.

We've had a chance to talk with many of our delegates today. They are clearly disappointed they are sitting so far back compared to front row seats in 2004. However, they are down right pushy to push the point that it has nothing to do with Sen. Obama giving up on NC. Republicans argue otherwise.

The big buzz tonight in the entire city is whether or not Ted Kennedy will make it on stage tonight. Michelle Obama is the keynote speaker but it's clear Kennedy would overshadow that in a hurry.

Just to give you a viewpoint of how things are working here in Denver. Right outside the Pepsi center there are 3 huge media pavilions where the networks are working out of. We are working with our sister stations in New York out of a construction trailer that is equipped with some fancy technology to get our stories back to North Carolina.

On the floor of the convention hall it is madness. A mixture of excitement and pretty bad fashion! Crazy shirts, signs, and hats are everywhere but it is very exciting for them.

I'm essentially typing with the laptop on my lap in a folding chair in the corner of the trailer. There are probably 30 of us in it right now. Yeah, not so glamorous! At least compared to CNN who has overtaken a restaurant and even renamed it CNN Cafe for the week complete with a 20 foot neon sign (there goes the pay raises for CNN folks!).

It's exhausting walking with all the gear but it's so worth it to get as close as we are to all this history!

We'll see how tonight goes! Tomorrow, Hillary Clinton speaks and two NC residents speak on the floor as well!

Until then...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

NC in the back!

So, after an hour of security and general misery of sitting in the heat and altitude with no water we are finally inside the compound.

By the way, Denver is a ridiculously nice city. Very modern and sheik yet historical.

Anyway, my point for this entry is to tell you they just released the seating chart for the delegates and NC is in the very back. How bad? They are seated next to Arizona which is McCain's home state.

Compare that to the front row seats delegates had in 2004! Should be interesting tomorrow.

We saw Dan Rather, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, and Kate Snow today wandering around the floor. We happened to be on the floor when Madeline Albright was checking out the speaker's podium as well.

While we were waiting in line to get through security Rep. Dennis Kucinich walked by with his leading lady. She's about 5-6 inches taller and many more years younger. Pretty much everyone was turning their heads at the interesting couple!

They walked right past two guys from Missouri who spent the day holding a huge sign that said "Rednecks from Obama". The foreign press took a huge liking to them. Anything to make the Americans look dumb, odd, etc. right?

Tomorrow the convention starts so it's time to sleep!!

Mornin from Denver!

I'll tell you what. It's not a bad morning when you're sipping on a coffee with your laptop staring at the Rocky Mountains! It is gorgeous here.

The air is so clean and so clear. No humidity. My photographer, Maurice Griffin, is probably getting sick of hearing me take deep breaths and saying "Man is this fresh air!".

The people of Denver have been unbelievably friendly. They have volunteers posted just about everywhere. We are probably about 20 minutes outside of downtown. However, this city has a light rail system that works awesome. You can catch one about every 10 minutes and it's only $3.00 for a roundtrip ticket. So far, it seems very clean and pretty modern. I would imagine "green" yuppies would eat this city up. I don't consider myself that but I love it too!

One funny note. There is a traffic reporter on a local station and her name is Amelia Earhart. I kid you not. Can that be real?

We're getting ready to head out and venture downtown. It's worse than getting kids ready. We have so much equipment to take with us. I'm sure we'll get stared at quite a bit but we definitely won't be alone with 15,000 credentialed journalists. I will also get my favorite question when we carry all this television equipment. "Do you work for a tv station?"


Anyway, we're doing a story on the history of Denver and the convention here. We have an interview with someone about the host hotel from the 1908 Democratic National Convention which exists today still. Plus we hope to show you a little of Denver as well.

Until then...!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

We made it to Denver!

It's 6:30 MT and we are in our hotel. Whew..long travel day and a strange one at that. Nonetheless our Democratic National Convention trip has begun!

We had two flights with our layover in Houston. On the first flight the plane arrived late. As soon as we sat down the stewardess scolded the passengers to hurry up and sit down because we're running late. Wait, don't scold us, YOU were late! Then she began walking up the aisle scolding passenger after passenger about bags that weren't under the seat properly. Then she rudely dealt with two people in exit rows behind me and talked to them like they were 1st graders. I've never seen anything like it.

Anyway, we arrived in the Mile High City. I've never been here before so it's a fun work trip and a great life experience as well. It was sadly cloudy as we arrived. In fact, there were tornadoes and flood warnings south of here earlier. It's still cloudy now but we can still make out the mountains, or at least an outline in the deep blue clouds.

We are carrying television equipment so everywhere we go we get the inevitable, you work for a tv station? Yep.

So far everyone is really nice here but it's really spread out like the Triangle. We haven't even seen the downtown area yet and we're not far.

Delegates start arriving tomorrow afternoon. So, our story tomorrow afternoon will focus on setting the stage here in Denver to give you a feel for what's in store. If you haven't heard 100 years ago, in 1908, the Democratic Convention was held here too! The host hotel is still around so we're going to get a tour and there's some really neat memorabilia from it.

Anyway, look for that tomorrow and I'll keep you posted. It's time for us to get some grub and relax after a long day of travel. Until then....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Obama on Edwards' affair

I was lucky enough to be one of two TV reporters in the state to interview Sen. Obama tonight in Raleigh and I was the only one who talked with him about John Edwards.

Here's what he had to say on that...

"I haven't talked to him but obviously this is a difficult and painful time for their family. My thoughts and prayers go out to them and I think right now john just wants to focus on healing the family and working things through for the good of their kids and I respect that and wish them all godspeed."

I had about four minutes to talk with him here's a few of the highlights.

He believes the race in North carolina is incredibly close He credits a terrific ground game, knocking on doors and making phone calls.

He highlighted that 30% of manufacturing jobs since Bush has been in office in NC are gone. He says John McCain is offering more of George Bush.

He is already working on his convention speech. I couldn't get a preview but he said he will contain a lot of the same themes he's talked about during the campaign.

He says we have to do everything on the energy front and if offshore oil drilling in North Carolina is part of a comprehensive package he's okay with it but he says we can't drill ourselves out of this problem.

Watch Political Connections Friday night at 6pm and Sunday at 11am to see the entire interview.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Heading to the DNC soon

I'm back blogging! Sorry it's been a while. I'm having to adjust to an entirely new job on the anchor desk. While it may seem like all I do is read, there is much much more that goes into the job.

Anywho, I've actually got some big political interviews in the next three days and plan to blog about them extensively starting on my shift tomorrow evening so check for that!

In addition, I leave Saturday for Denver to cover the Democratic National Convention. I will be filing daily reports on and on News 14 Carolina statewide. In addition, I'll be blogging on this here blog daily so make sure to check it out. I'll likely be doing a story on NC bloggers as well.

I'll also be taping the entire episode of Political Connections next week from Denver and this week's show will have a very very prominent guest you won't want to miss!

Stay tuned!!!