Tom Overlie's blog from the DNC in Denver - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Tom Overlie's blog from the DNC in Denver

Tom Overlie Tom Overlie
Busy, busy place! Busy, busy place!
The view of the capitol from the edit suite The view of the capitol from the edit suite
Hard at work in the editing suite Hard at work in the editing suite
Working hard! Working hard!

Thursday, 8/28: 7:00 a.m.

Good day from Denver! The Democratic National Convention is beginning to wrap up already. It's hard to image we've been here since Sunday-the time has sped by. In that time, we've brought you stories from the DNC with local angles; we talked about healing the Hillary-division in the Democratic party; we heard from one of the youngest delegates (from Rochester) about why he chooses to get involved in the political decision making process; we interviewed several other young college students who were out demonstrating for John McCain in front of a DNC sight; Al Franken answered questions about his qualifications to take over the U.S. Senate seat; we heard Mayo Clinic's Dr. Denny Cortese talk about health care and how the crisis we face in this nation can be resolved; and we brought you live pictures from the Convention each night. And then my blog on, sharing some of my thoughts about the Convention, in between breaks scurrying from one end of downtown Denver to the other. What a week it's been! Thursday night, we watch Barack Obama accept the nomination and give his speech, some four years after an address at Sen. John Kerry's 2004 convention propelled Obama into the national stage. It'll be a historic night, as our nation begins to travel down this exciting general election journey to November. We'll all stay tuned!  

Tuesday, 8/26: 10:11 p.m.

Tuesday's highlight: running into former President Jimmy Carter at the DNC. He'd just finished an interview with CNN on the Convention floor and had tight security around him. Unfortunately, he was on a mission somewhere, so I couldn't secure a quick interview with him. It was nice to say hello and see him up close. Someone else I ‘ran' into following the tight security check to get in to the Pepsi Center (home to the DNC this week) was Anderson Cooper from CNN's 360. We chatted for a while, had coffee together, had a few laughs, and swapped stories about being journalists. Okay, I'm joking. He was on a mission to secure an interview inside the Pepsi Center, and I was on a mission to get inside an air conditioned building. On a serious note, there still is a sense of discontent among a growing number of Hillary Clinton supporters still sore from the primary battle. Some don't appear to be buying the unity theme, but let's see what the pulse will be in the days following Hillary's prime-time slot Tuesday night. More than ever, Obama needs Clinton's supporters to beat Republican John McCain in a race that is ever-tightening. I was surprised to see so many McCain supporters campaigning on Denver streets. I wonder if Democrats will reciprocate in St. Paul next week.

On a personal note, I'd like to say a very big thank you to two people who helped make Tuesday's 16 hour day a little more bearable. First, Lin Sunshine with Holme, Roberts and Owen LLP in downtown Denver. Lin's daughter is a talented reporter at our sister station, KTIV-TV, in Sioux City. Lin made sure our video edit suite on her office's 41st floor had the best view in town (check out some of my pictures)! Secondly, a big thank you to William Ennas from the DNC at Pepsi Center who was so gracious with his time, helping me get from point A to point B during an action packed morning. I've said this a number of times on this trip already; Denver residents are some of the most generous and considerate people. My thanks for their kindness this week at the DNC!

Tuesday, 8/26: 6:45 a.m.

Tuesday morning. Day two starts at 5:30 a.m., again. A quick cup of coffee and a banana down at the main hotel desk, then load the vehicle with camera gear, camera batteries, miles of microphone chords, video tapes, note pads, suit coats, our strands of credentials... and off we are to cover the Democrats.  I'm here at the DNCC with my colleague, Matt Breen, main anchor of our sister-station in Sioux City, Iowa, KTIV-TV. We are also accompanied by a wonderful producer, Brooke Balkenende, who also seems ever-cheerful despite the long hours, the long lines, and the congested traffic. It is exciting for us to be part of this historic event! And it's been a pleasure working with two highly qualified individuals from KTIV-TV.

Let me take a quick look at the DNCC '08 "by the numbers". So, just how packed is Denver this week? (mostly by media it seems...)  They're telling us 17,000 hotel rooms have been booked for the Convention week. The number of Convention volunteers? 21,000. The number of acres the Pepsi Center, the DNC sight, is built on? 45. (And yes, I've trekked all 45, loaded down in camera gear, trying to hunt down interviews). The number of square feet of space that has been allocated inside the Pepsi Center for Convention operations? 675,000. The space allocated for the media? 200,000. I was aghast when I first heard that. Once again, I thought, those media folks taking over an event. And then I realized I'm one of them.

Stories coming up from the convention. We talk to one of the youngest delegates at the convention, and he's from Rochester. Plus, we hear what local Hillary Clinton supporters feel needs to be done in order to bring a sense of unity to the party again. And this week is not all about the Democrats; the streets are packed with John McCain supporters, too, making sure their voices are heard. Stay tuned...   

Monday, 8/25: 5:41 p.m.

Day 2 in Denver, Day 1 at the Democratic National Convention. There is a lot of interesting symbolism occurring at the DNC in Denver. It, and the Obama campaign, are breaking with tradition and moving the final day of convention activities-particularly Obama's acceptance speech-- to Thursday night, from the Pepsi Center to Invesco Field. That, of course, is home of the Denver Broncos and capable of housing about 75,000 people. The Pepsi Center can only seat about 20,000. Very few people in the political field can demand that kind of attention.

What's interesting about this move is the symbolic message. Back in 1960, John F. Kennedy chose to leave the convention hall to give his acceptance speech at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Tens of thousands of supporters came out to support that decision. And here's another symbolic gesture: the last night of this year's DNC coincides with the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech".

Some people call this stagecraft and theatrics. In any case, it's an interesting connection to this historic time for our country.

Day one at the convention was honestly chasing from one end of Denver to the other, tracking down interviews, finding stories with local twists. The weather, fortunately, is beautiful and the air not muggy. I especially love looking up every once in awhile to admire the mountains beyond the downtown skyline. The city is packed with interesting people; many Obama fans, some protestors, and a handful of familiar faces from the Rochester area. Want to see the television stars? Denver seems to be the place. Everywhere I turn, I run into someone I recognize from the movie screen or the tube. I was most excited to pass Tom Brokaw on the street in front of the Denver Convention Center. I grabbed my camera, but by the time I got the darn thing turned on, he was out of sight. I grew up watching Tom on NBC Nightly News. I'm crossing my fingers; maybe we'll cross paths on the street tomorrow. Stay tuned for more coverage of this historic event on KTTC! - Tom

Sunday, 8/24: 10:54 p.m.

Five states, hundreds of miles, hundreds of dollars in gas, many cups of fully-caffeinated coffee, McDonalds stops in western Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, northern Colorado...and I've finally arrived in Denver for the Democratic National Convention. I'm looking forward to four days of action-packed coverage of this historic event. What I'm especially excited about is how diverse this Convention promises to be. The DNC says that more than 44% of the delegates elected to attend the Convention represent minority communities, 50% are women and more than 31% are either senior citizens or young people. In fact, the oldest delegate is 91 years old; the youngest, a 17-year-old-at-large delegate from our fine state of Minnesota. I'm looking forward to an interview with another young delegate, an 18-year-old Obama supporter from Rochester. Sam Hagedorn is already off to his freshman year of college, but will be flying into Denver to attend the Convention. This is truly becoming one of the most diverse Conventions in Party history.

I'm sitting here at KTTC Convention headquarters (my hotel room overlooking the Denny's parking lot), it's late at night, my eyes are heavy, my brain demands aspirin...but I have a feeling it'll be hard to sleep tonight. I'm truly excited about covering this historic event! The next few days, delegates will be covering important business of the Convention-nominating Barack Obama as their Party's nominee for the next President of the United States. And I'll have a front row seat! Stay tuned to KTTC for the coverage with a local twist. -Tom

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