Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Democratic convention stage is hip, just like Obama

| 10 Comments

from the print Sunday Sun-Times....

DENVER -- Barack Obama's Democratic convention stage was unveiled Friday at the Pepsi Center here, and like the presidential candidate, it is hip --dressed with giant plasma HDTVs -- and larger than life -- about 8,000 square feet of projection space.

The bold design could be a metaphor for the Obama campaign -- the stunning rise of the 47-year-old charismatic, iPoded junior senator from Illinois who defeated Hillary Clinton and others, assisted by cool applications of social networking tools, wealthy donors and a relentless message of change and hope. Need I remind everyone that just four years ago, Obama was the keynote speaker at the Democratic convention in Boston, not yet even elected to his Senate seat. Now he will be the nominee.

But since Obama clinched the nomination -- it's official Thursday after the roll call -- his campaign has become more conventional. Fired up and ready to go has been muted.

Obama has had a change of heart on offshore oil drilling, opted out of public financing, angered his activist base by backing a foreign intelligence surveillance law, and demonstrated he indeed has the stomach to approve negative ads.

"He made a set of compromises all in a row that freaked people out on the progressive side of the party," said Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign For America's Future.

Obama's team also allowed to fester resentment remaining from die-hard Clinton supporters. And just as the convention is about to start, there are stories about whether Clinton herself is showing the proper amount of enthusiasm for Obama. The Obama team is trying -- a few days ago, the Illinois Clinton delegates were invited to his national headquarters in Chicago for special briefings.

Obama had a mostly successful trip to Europe and the Middle East, creating relationships with world leaders should he become president. But the decision to hold a giant rally in Berlin only provided much-needed inspiration to rival John McCain, who mocked him as a celebrity, invoking the names of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

Obama's luck held up, though -- the Arizona Republican stumbled badly a few days ago when he said he could not remember how many homes he and his wife owned.

One of Obama's advisers was unperturbed when we chatted recently about Clinton's supporters at the convention because the team is convinced that by the end of this week, Democrats will leave Denver unified and energized. Giving Clinton a speaking slot Tuesday and Bill Clinton a place on the stage Wednesday is a cheap price to pay to jazz up the troops.

That energy is crucial to the Obama plan, especially as Obama seems in a dead heat with McCain. The Obama team talks about the "enthusiasm gap" they can tap and McCain can't touch -- that is, the people who tell pollsters they will vote for Obama can be counted on to actually vote in the general election.

The convention will be another chance for Obama to tell his story. Storytelling is a central element to the success of the Obama campaign, and on Monday night, a string of people, highlighted by wife Michelle, all will focus on Obama's biography. That comes as Obama has been sharpening his economic message.

What he needs, suggested Borosage, "is a narrative about his life that ties his life to his positions."

While Denver waits for Obama, bedecked and bunted -- the Republicans meet the next week in Minneapolis-St. Paul -- the Obama family dined out in Chicago on Friday night. Hours later, news leaked out that Obama tapped Delaware Sen. Joe Biden to be his running mate.

10 Comments

There's a great set of DNCC (and RNCC) links on USA Media Guide. They have links to the official sites, the protest sites, local Denver and Twin City media coverage, where to watch them online, and links to blogs reporting from them.

The link is http://www.USAMediaGuide.com

TELL THOSE PROTESTERS THEY'RE AT THE WRONG
CONVENTION!
MINNESOTA IS EAST OF COLORADO!

IF THURSDAY NIGHT IS ANYTHING LIKE TONIGHT, YOU
CAN STICK A FORK IN MCCAIN!

oh i forgot 2 tell u that the 4-mile is a pub just as u come into Aberdeen. beside the garage. it's difficult to do it all at once and thats why the world will unite and the party will go down some day in the future when the aliens visit us. I will NEVER GIVE UP and i'm unrelenting (will not stop). send some1 2 meet me 2nite 2 talk or whatever. PEACE!

FOX NEWS HAS TO DECIDE WHO TO COVER NEXT WEEK
IN MINNESOTA, IS IT MCCAIN OR RON PAUL!

SUPER SPEECH BY MRS. CLINTON!
HILLARY CLINTON WILL RECEIVE A GREAT CABINET POST!
LET US ROLL UP OUR SLEEVES TOGETHER AND DEFEAT
MCCAIN HE WANTS US TO FIGHT, HE DOESN'T WANT US
TO LOVE EACH OTHER AND RESPECT EACH OTHER, WE ARE
ONE, WE ARE THE TRUE DREAMERS FOR DEMOCRACY!
HILLARY SUPPORTERS I RESPECT YOU AND WANT YOUR
HELP FOR OBAMA AND BIDEN!
PLEASE HELP THE TICKET, PLEASE!
ANYBODY THAT DISRESPECTS HILLARY'S PEOPLE ISN'T
A TRUE DEMOCRAT, SAY HELLO AND BE POLITE AND
TELL THEM WE WANT YOU TO HELP, WE NEED YOU GUYS!
IF WE CLOSE ARE HAND, WE ARE ONE!
IF WE OPEN ARE HAND, WE ARE NONE!
LET US UNITE UNTIL VICTORY IS WON!

LOL
Only a bunch of out of touch liberals who worship image of substance think this TEMPLE OF OBAMA will play well across America. Sounds like a scene from spinal tap(look it up).
What a tacky over the top bunch of Bullsh*t.
And you still can't tell me why this man should be president.
Oh yes...the polls show Obama is getting NO BOUNCE in the polls. So stick a fork in who?
I cannot wait to see you nit wits cry on election night when the faux messiah is defeated.

sorry i'm so late in a response to the over the top debacle that was the democratic convention. his stadium speech was more reminiscent of a fascist rally than a convention of democrats. what was the meaning of the grecian columns the many tv's and generally why change the venue. should not the appeal of the democrats be to moderation not glorification. i have been a lifelong democrat and I'm upset that the party has put me in the position of wishing for it's loss this year. it was hillary's turn and no amoun t of wishful thinking on axelrod's and the dnc part will bring women like me back this year. sure send out hillary to try and compensate for the dnc's insensitivity and to bring us back. not happening

Where's the photo?

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets

Video

Lynn Sweet

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

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 24, 2008 11:28 PM.

McCain team crashing Democratic convention. was the previous entry in this blog.

Obama team wants to smother diehard Clinton backers with respect. Tuesday Clinton speech exercise in group catharsis is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.