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 here..so far) Sodas are $3. Sandwichs are $7.
A paramedic is riding around on a Segway.