Thursday, September 4, 2008
The atmosphere at the Xcel Energy Center was phenomenal last night. The Washington Center got passes to make sure that every student experienced at least one night at the convention with good seats. Last night was my night. I sat just three rows up from the red carpet. Granted, it was a side view, but we had the large screens to see the close ups, while we were close enough to take some pictures. I am at the library's computer so I can't post pictures, but I will do as soon as I can.
The professors and students who enjoyed the priviledged seats yesterday, arrived around four in the afternoon. Shortly thereafter the entertainment started with live jazz music and, compared to the ones later in the evening, insipid speeches by lesser known personalities. It was interesting to see how things work in real life. When I have watched the conventions, I always thought people brought their own handmade banners. For security, or whatever reason, banners are not allowed through the security gates. Before the event starts, young people came out with stacks of different banners that were distributed according to people's choices. There were Catholics for McCain, Hispanics for McCain. I held one that said Women for McCain. There were many others, and also for Gov. Palin. Someone behind me had a "Hockey moms for Palin" banner. They also brought smaller printed banners with McCain-Palin, and others with slogans. They are distributed where they know they will be picked up by TV cameras. By the way, during the speech I got a txt message from one of the students of The Washington Center, and another from my husband in Texas, telling me that they had seen me on TV during the Paling speech. My three seconds of fame!
Gov. Palin wasted no time setting the record straight as to her experience. Since she is running for VP and Obama for president, and they are both fighting against the inexperienced image, it created an interesting triangulation Obama, Palin, McCain. Interestingly, this week the Republican Party seemed to have changed strategy. Intead of distancing themselves from the last eight years, now they are accepting the past. They are talking about the benefits of the surge and how right was McCain in voting for it.
The only problem with the excellent performance by Gov. Palin is that it creates a higher expectation for McCain's speech. She is going to be a tough act to follow.
About 30 feet from the library where I am, there is one of the gates to enter the convention. I have been fortunate enough to be able to come Tuesday, yesterday and today. What a fabulous experience this has been! Next time I will tell you about tonight's events. Until then.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
During the weekend, I attended several parties. Saturday evening I went to a Media Party where I was able to take the enclosed pictures of the Mississippi River.
By the way, I got a picture taken of me with an unexpected guest.
Tonight there are many parties around town. However, they have quickly turned into fundraisers. This morning Laura Bush spoke at the Convention and urged people to help those who, because of Gustav, will be needing help and people swiftly followed her advice.
I hope that in my next blog I will share with you my experience at the Xcel Energy Center. See you next time.
Yesterday we saw a side of politics that is nothing like the presidential races. Minnesota State Rep. Patrick Garofalo, a Republican, and Minnesota State Rep. Steve Simon, a Democrat, spoke to The Washington Center. They came together, declared to be best friends; (and by the way they joked and teased each other, it is obvious that they are close friends) while at the same time presented their case for a subject that is sensitive in Minnesota: transportation and roads. Politically they could not be in more disagreement. However, they respected each other’s views and told us the way they have worked together to find a common ground to their ideas. I know this is not extraordinary. Anybody who has evere watched the House in session on C-Span knows that in general, that is the way politics is played. At the presidential level, though, it gets ugly.
The students have received their assignments. I will be working with Lifetime TV. None of us has credentials to go into the Xcel Energy Center the days of the convention. We all hope to get them through the organizations with which we will be working. Since we have no guarantee that we will get them through the organization we will work for, we try to meet as many people as we can and see if there are other venues that may provide credentials. Credentials are given a day at a time. Even with credentials, the access has degrees, from very limited to not so limited access. Credentials are needed to attend other events and there are tons of them. There are breakfasts and luncheons people from the media or politicians, receptions to delegates and other dignitaries and evening parties from interest groups. I plan to attend some of the receptions this weekend, and next time I write I will tell you about them. See you then.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
-April, Matt and Peter
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Eugene Alpert, Senior Vice President The Washington Center
Jill reading over a Peanut's character shoulder.
First, let me tell you about the fieldwork assignments. Each student will give several hours of volunteer work to this convention. Students will be working with the Republican Party, with the media or with interest groups. These jobs provide great opportunities for students to network, to make a good impression that in the past has resulted in internship or job offers. It also provides the excitement of working hands on with those who will be reporting the news (CNN, Washington Times, Fox News and many more) to the nation, or in receptions given to dignataries attending the convention. These are just two examples, but the list of jobs and the list of benefits from giving our time to the volunteer work is long.
The second thrilling event was the tour of the Xcel Energy Center where the convention will take place starting next Monday. Those in charge started workin on the center July 20th. The amount of work that has gone into it is astonishing. A giant screen, second only in resolution and size to the one everyone saw during the Olympics in China, is behind the podium. The Xcel is a well-designed building with nice view from just about anywhere in the center. Just being there built up our excitement. We all could imagine how it will look next week and cannot wait to be there.
We walked from the Xcel Energy Center to the Landmark Building to attend a lovely reception offered to us by The Washington Center. The park between the two buildings has sculptures of the Peanuts characters honoring its creator from Minneapolis, Charles Schulz. Around the corner is the Fitzgerald Theater (named after Scott Fitzgerald, also of Minnesota), where Garrison Keillor's Praire Home Companion shows take place.
Starting this weekend there will be a number of events, parties, and of course, the convention itself, all of which promises excitement and fun. We will continue to keep you posted.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Sen. Hillary Clinton Sen. Hillary Clinton
With U.S. Rep., Ciro Rodriguez
Monday, August 25, 2008
After lunch, we had a three hour study group session. We discussed the electoral process, its strengths and weaknesses, and why even with its weaknesses we admire those who envisioned the wisdom of this complex process. We also looked at the syllabus. We have been given assignments that seem a bit overwhelming. They include a lot of reading (textbook, editorials, newspapers), writing (short essay, journal), and conduct a minimum of six interviews, including at least one Convention Delegate, one Elected Public Official at the local or state level, an Elected Public Official at the national level, a Media Representative and a political consultant or other individual not included above. We also need to do our fieldwork, which may open the door to meet the people we will interview.
The Augsburg College has been a great host to this seminar. They are providing meeting places, encouragement from the College President and faculty, and today they organized an ice cream social for us.
Tomorrow, after a morning session and our study group session, we will have a tour of the Twin Cities, and then we will go to the Minnesota State Fair.
The pictures are from the Texas study group that Frank and I attend, and a picture of the all the students and faculty attending this seminar.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
This seminar promises to be an intense, exciting, fun- filled work week, put together by the
We were told that there will not be much sleep, and I believe them. Today I started the day at 4:15 am to catch a 6:00 AM flight. Right now is 10:00 PM and before I can think of rest, I need to do reading that we will use at 8:00 tomorrow morning. We will have study, field work, and of course, the convention itself next week. We were warned that we can sleep when we get back home. I don’t doubt that to be exaggeration, but expect it indicates long days and short nights.
So far my first impressions are of friendliness, efficiency, motivation, excitement, and fun. I can't wait till tomorrow when we get into the thick of the action.
Left: Orientation. Right, Frank Carni II who won the first prize in the ice-breaker game.
Today we toured the Pepsi Center, the location for the first three days of the convention. Afterwards we saw Howard Dean speak before we went to Coors Field for the Rockies game.
The Pepsi Center:
Pepsi Center Foyer:
Outside of the Pepsi Center:
Expression of First Amendment Rights Outside of the Pepsi Center:
Howard Dean at the Colorado Convention Center:
An Awesome Car Downtown:
Coors Field, Home of the Colorado Rockies:
Saturday, August 23rd, 2008
Today we attended the media party hosted at Six Flags at Elitch Gardens. We will let the pictures explain it all.
Speakers at the Media Party
Amazing Flobots Concert!!!
Amazing Fireworks Show:
Pictures taken by Peter Sebesta