All posts by Bob Brink

At the center of the Palin Media Frenzy: Graduates of Yorktown HS (Arlington VA 22207)

The Governor winks; National Review’s Rich Lowry (Yorktown 1986) goes all weak in the knees, earning him Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World”:

Meanwhile, The Governor tells Fox News she was “annoyed” by the questions posed to her by Katie Couric (Yorktown 1975):

Here are some interview segments. You be the judge.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Watch CBS Videos Online

Watch CBS Videos Online

Watch CBS Videos Online

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Denver Report – Thursday, August 28

Shortly after breakfast on Thursday morning, we began hearing rumblings of massive pedestrian and vehicle traffic heading toward Invesco Field. The last thing we wanted to do was miss a second of the chance to be a part of history; so, shortly after noon, four of us (Minority Leader Ward Armstrong and his wife, Delegate Pam; Ward’s Chief of Staff Claire Wilker; and me) set out by foot on the 3-4 mile march from our hotel to the field. In all it took us two hours door-to-door, with a few stops in between. Our route took us down through a shopping area, so while Ward did a campaign conference call on his cell phone from the back of a pet supply store, Pam window shopped and I did Starbucks. Actual travel time was maybe an hour fifteen.

It was surreal to walk down the middle of six-lane streets approaching the center — the streets and parking lots had all been closed off for security. Under a warm sun and occasional breezes, the atmosphere was like a moving, political Woodstock: button and t-shirt vendors hawking their wares, religious proselityzers riding flag-mounted bicycles along the caravan route, and a lot of friendly and congenial conversation among the walkers (everybody knew Virginia is in play, and they urged us on. We told them to send money and volunteers.).

Because we were on the front edge of the tsunami, going through security was easy. We staked out our seats on the stadium floor directly in front of the podium (the state delegation floorplan was identical to the Pepsi Center, so once again Virginia was in prime territory right back of Illinois. That gave us a vantage point for spotting home state figures including Rahm Emanuel, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and his father, and my favorite — Mayor Daley). Then for the next five hours, as the sun set back of us and we were entertained by musicians including Sheryl Crow and Stevie Wonder, we watched this massive amphitheatre fill to near capacity with over 80,000 people.

Inside the Bubble, you get a different sense of the sights and sounds that are going on all around you: it wasn’t until I got back to the hotel and saw a rerun of the proceedings on TV that I saw the overall visual spectacle of all those people and all that energy. It was also the first time I had a chance to listen to what Senator Obama actually had said in his speech. (It’s hard to be analytical when you’re simultaneously standing on a chair waving a sign, shouting “Yes We Can” in unison with 75,000 other people, and trying to operate a video camcorder). So when people ask, “How was the speech?” the best I can come up with is, “It was great.” (In this morning’s Richmond Times-Dispatch I demonstrated my keen knowledge of sports by telling the reporter, “He hit it right out of Invesco Field,” where the Denver Broncos play football.)

So with streamers, confetti, and fireworks, our four days in Denver ended. We’re all headed home, tired but happy. Summer camp for political junkies is over, and now the real work begins.

Denver Report – Wednesday, August 27

Now that’s the ticket!

On Wednesday we were advised to be in our seats at the Pepsi Center at 3 PM in order to transact the main business of the Convention: nomination and voting on the Presidential candidate. After the names of Senators Clinton and Obama were placed in nomination, the Secretary of the Democratic National Committee began the alphabetical roll call of the states.

As the roll call progressed, a downside of our life inside the Convention Hall bubble became clear:while people at home could see a running total of votes for the two nominees scrolling across the bottom of their TV screens, we in the hall were in the dark unless we kept score as the states announced their votes. But then Senator Obama’s home state of Illinois in front of us passed and we progressed down to New Mexico; New Mexico yielded to Illinois, and its Delegation Chair, Mayor Daley, in turn yielded to New York.

It was Senator Clinton herself who made the motion to suspend the roll call and nominate Senator Obama by acclamation. And so, at 4:45 PM, we had ourselves a nominee. This was the moment in the Virginia Delegation, as captured on the front page of Thursday’s New York Times print edition.

(The guy in the lower right of the picture isn’t doing his FDR impression: he’s scanning around the upper galleries of the Convention Hall with his video camera.)

The next major event was former President Clinton’s speech. As was the case with Senator Clinton the day before, he was absolutely unsparing in his support for his wife’s former adversary. (Just as the President’s speech concluded, I got a text message from an Obama partisan who had fought the Clinton campaign for nearly two years. It read, “I like the Clintons again.”)

The line I liked best from Senator Biden’s acceptance speech was when he related some advice he had received from his mother when he was growing up in Scranton, PA: “When I got knocked down by guys bigger than me – and this is the God’s truth – she sent me back out and said, ‘Bloody their nose,’ so you can walk down the street the next day. And that’s what I did.” Sounds to me like a message to Karl Rove.

Video clips to follow — along with 75,000 of my closest friends, I have to get on the road to Invesco Field.

Denver Report – Tuesday, August 26


Note to file for the next National Convention: When the floor proceedings start at 3:00 PM and the day’s program includes somebody like Hillary Clinton, don’t expect to show up at the gate at 6:30 PM and waltz right in. Our delayed arrival was due to John the Videographer. He works for Newsweek Online, and they decided to do a “Day in the Life of a Delegate” piece on our colleague, Jennifer McClellan of Richmond. So we spent some time in the afternoon video-ing Jennifer at various locations across Denver. By the time we finished taping, navigated Denver’s traffic, and arrived at the Pepsi Center, the line to go through security stretched for over a block. (I was tagging along because John the Videographer didn’t have floor credentials — so I volunteered to tape Jennifer there.)


The evening’s proceedings, including Mark Warner’s keynote address and Hillary Clinton’s long-awaited floor speech, made the wait worthwhile. During those speeches and the others you see on TV, part of the convention stagecraft is for the delegates to hoist prepared signs bearing slogans or participants’ names. The signs are distributed with specific timing instructions like “Wave ‘Renewing America’s Promise’ at the end of Governor Schweitzer’s speech.” I guess it looks good as background on TV, but by the end of the evening we have several forests’ worth of signs at our feet. (The long vertical signs — “Michelle,” “Hillary” and “Unity” so far — are especially treacherous: they’re mounted on 5-foot long cardboard poles that could put an eye out.)


Tuesday’s endless Security Line; MSNBC commentator David Gregory chats up Bill Richardson, with Congressman Charlie Rangel on deck; Delegate Shannon Valentine does some retail politicking with Lynchburg native John the Videographer; a snip of Mark Warner’s keynote address; and a little bit of Senator Clinton’s speech.