So I get home from work today at 3, maybe 3:15. The wife is working, the baby’s “asleep”, and so I hop on the computer to check the e-mail. Lo, and behold, in my box are about a dozen or so messages from other members of the RMA all on the subject of “VP event credential request.” What’s this? I say. Turns out some savvy members of the Bush/Cheney team are aware of the emergence of blogging, are likewise aware of the presence of the Rocky Mountain Alliance of Bloggers, and would like some of us to cover tonight’s event.
Of course, the next question from my mouth was “what event?” Turns out the Vice President and his wife have chosen to watch the debate and do the post-game show from here in Denver.
So, at this point, it seems there is a big event in Denver, with a distinctly partisan crowd starring George W Bush, and I’ve been invited to go. Ummm. . . OKAY! Of course, I’ve been gone every night this week so far, so. . . let’s see. How to present this to the wife. Of course, that might be underestimating the Bewitching Mrs. Best Destiny.
[interlude: Ted Hallaby, Colorado GOP Chairman, has stopped by, so we’re gonna chat with him for a minute—
Asked about the role/influence/ presence of blogs, Hallaby replied [it] certainly was made clear with the Rather fiasco. . . [which]publicized the growing influence. . .Further questioned about it .particularly keeps the mainstream press on its toes. . .
Mike Coffman—use technology to disseminate imfo to the faithful. . .as Treas its non-partisan so the info from him is from a self-selected group, but it grows old . . . options provide a check and balance on major media outlets . . . on the school budget situation, I think we need to rethink the way school finance is handled; cited a 45% reduction in StVrain admin costs as a good step and evidence of waste in the system
Okay—turns out Clay is pretty well connected, so we may be interrupted on a number of occasions to speak with dignitaries such as the two above.
1735 so, as I was saying, . . .the Bewitching Mrs. Best Destiny looked at me and said “this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Go. So, whoo-hoo.
Fly out the door after bringing my oldest home from school, because I need to check in by 4:30. From Arvada into downtown in less than 30 minutes, rush hour, not to mention that my tendency downtown is to just get lost. But, luck was on my side, I go straight to my destination, luck out with some on the street parking (yeah—I’ll probably have a parking ticket later tonight), and I’m there. Right at 4:30.
Now comes the fun part. Amateur journalist, never done something like this before, so how do I handle this? Turns out the people down here with the campaign are about as nice as they could possibly be given the security situation and all. Walk up to the first person I see with a nametag, ask “is there a separate entrance for press (heh heh heh—I’m “press”)?” and immediately I’m guided down the stairs to the person who can walk me through the secret service and everything else. Jared walks in right behind me, and thus is a blog event begun.
From there, we’re directed to the room, and our table, whereat Clay and Jonathan are already busy at work. A few jokes about pajamas and how quickly the MSM move away from us when they find out who we are. . .
And I’ve settled in, ready to cover the big event.
Now, I’ve got a couple hours to kill here before the debate starts, so I’m going to fill with off-the-cuff observations.
Immediately to my left here, in a little adjunct room, are about 30 volunteers busily stamping Bush/Cheney campaign materials. I guess there could be no better place or reason to find motivated volunteers, eh?
The room itself is about 100’ by 90’ (and, yeah, I have a very bad sense of distances in that regard—it seems to be a little further from here to the opposite wall than from 1st to 2nd base), and at the moment, is largely empty. As evidenced by the interviews I’ll be posting, there are many GOP dignitaries on the scene, as well as a small paddock of impatient-looking MSM. I recognize Adam Schrager from channel 9, and Greg Nieto from channel 2, but nobody else. They seem content to remain in their paddock and compare notes.
The sound system is blaring country music—what a surprise. I have to admit, I really was not a fan of country music. At all. Even as recently as two years ago, my general opinion was dismissive—just nothing there interesting to me. Of course, the women of country music tend to be rather attractive, so I didn’t mind buying the CD’s for my wife. I just didn’t like listening to it. That’s another one of those things that changed after 9/11; most notably with Toby Keith, but also in the general mood of country music, I found a musical style that was unapologetically patriotic (Dixie Chicks excepted). It even turns out that some of those good-looking women can flat-out sing—much more pleasant to listen to than Alanis Morrisette or some of the other Rock and Rollers. So, I would have to say that I don’t mind the emphasis on country music here.
Yes, I know—time to kill.
1815 The room’s starting to full up pretty good. Lots of energy and excitement, a pretty big contingent of veterans. And everybody seems pretty happy—a very pleasant bunch in the room.
Greg Walcher (CD 3)—has to use technology to get the message out unfiltered. . . contest whatever spin the media puts out . . .
Shari Williams of the Leadership Program of the Rockies dropped by; deadline for the institute—October 8th; find it at leadershipprogram.org
1830 Pete Coors is addressing the crowd. . .Query: did Ken Salazar show up at the John Kerry event a couple weeks ago?? Um, no. As Jared says, “it was the stench of death he was avoiding” Coors seems to be here to introduce Bill Owens
1833 Gov. Owens is addressing the crowd. He’s pretty well loved in this room. A prediction from the Gov—a good year, starting with the re-election of Pres. Bush and VP Dick Cheney. And he’s here to introduce the Veep.
1835 Lynn Cheney gets to start—she is so easy-going in front of the crowd. It seems to be a very easy role for her to assume, and she projects pride in her husband, a love of country, and in particular the West, a sort of self-effacing humor that is instantly endearing. I’ve seen her a couple of times now, and she never fails to poke a little fun at her husband, which humanizes them both to a degree the elite just can’t fathom.
1837 Dick Cheney is up now, poking fun at the Kerry camp for it’s disapproval of the lights on stage at the debate. What? Too much yellow and orange? He’s very comfortable in this role, as well. He interacts with the crowd, works right through a misspeak (called Edwards Kerry—what’s the difference, really?). And then he slips into his stump speech, starting with terrorism.
As I’m thinking about it, I’m going to make one more prediction: Bush’s implacability, combined with Kerry’s adrenaline and aggression, will cause John Kerry to lose his cool. Maybe just for a moment, probably towards the end of the debate, but I bet he talks himself into a corner or gets flustered and confused at some point. May be wishful thinking, but I’m convinced it’s a possibility.
1844 The room is not quite full as the Veep is talking. Not surprising—I think I follow things about as closely as anyone, and I had no idea this event was happening. Probably just not enough time to mobilize.
1847 The Veep is done now, and everybody seems to be settling in to watch the debate itself. I guess this is about the end of our pregame show. I’m gonna go stretch a bit, and come back ready to blog the debate.