Chicago Sun-Times
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Sweet: Report from inside Obama election party in Chicago. $200 internet; $3 soda.


CHICAGO--The Obama Super Tuesday election night party is in a small ballroom in the belly of the Hyatt Regency on Wacker Drive. And only half the room is really available for people to stand in to celebrate Obama's victories, since the whole set-up is really designed for optics: to look good on television and in pictures.

A multi-tiered press riser--a mother of all risers--is in the middle of the room. The actual space where an Obama supporter can stand is quite limited. Reporters are banned from leaving a penned in area to talk to people in ballroom, though they are free to mingle in the hallway, which right now has the feel of a giant cocktail party.

While there is room for people to stand behind the risers, there's no way they would be able to see anything except on the jumbo televisions.

There is a roped off area for VIPs who hold blue tickets. There are several VIP events going on; a reception on the same level as the ballroom;a room for elected officials; and an event being run by the Obama Finance team for their best donors and fundraisers.

The cut-away risers will get Obama in a shot with an American flag in the background. And there are five level of risers behind the podium where Obama will speak. That suggests Obama will be flanked by a who's who of his world.

I don't expect a modified stump speech; there are teleprompters in place, suggesting Obama will be reading from text.

The Hyatt is a chain controlled by the Pritzker family of Chicago. Penny Pritzker is Obama's finance chairman. Reporters who need internet service are being charged $200 for a few hours of use. (Boss: my air card is working down far) Sodas are $3. Sandwichs are $7.

A paramedic is riding around on a Segway.


the massachusetts loss for mr. obama can be described in a lack of coordination. the endorsers failed to coordinate activities as well as election day itself. the kennedy "labor" failed to materialize, the deval patrick "grassroots organization" proved to be mythic, and john forbes kerry, senator live-shot, arrived at an election night event in a smelley cambridge cellar to ramble on about winning another day. drag. not a good day for the junior senator from illinois, but even more devastating for gov. deval patrick. his senate and house leadership went with ms. clinton along with boston mayor thomas menino.
wowie zowie.

I'm curious - do the other campaigns keep the media penned in at events like these? Is it to protect the attendees from being 'pestered'? I just don't understand the point.

Feeling a little left out huh?

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on February 5, 2008 7:47 PM.

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