Friday, August 29, 2008

Day 2 & 3 Impressions

The insanity continues...but I am starting to discern some interesting order. There are at least three orders of participants: the plebiscite that travels on foot, the political sharks seemingly lounge just inside roped barriers (how they move from party to party is still unknown) and Elite, who definitely travel by screaming motorcade.

There are also stars there, of both the political stripe and movie types. I was at a party for 14 Women, a movie about the women of the Senate. I am not sure about the movie, but the celebrities were fast and thick...Anne Hathaway, Susan Sarandon, Angela Bassett, Annette Benning, Ellen Burstyn, Toby from the West Wing, Rachel Leigh Cooke, Tony Goldwyn...etc. Since I had a press pass, I got to go up to the "VIP Lounge" and hang out with them, sort of. In many ways they were very regular folks...just with lots of security about. I spoke with a couple of them, just quick chats, but it was interesting at least.

I have not provided any impressions of the actual political speeches, events and people. That is because I only saw the convention when I actually left and watched it on TV. Frankly, I was working a lot and did not get to see anything.

That is not to say that I did not see some of the back office. I got into the "unassigned press gallery", which I thought would be some impressive set booths on the floor, something like you see in the Senate with Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Don't think so, it was two stories under the floor of the arena. There were long tables with hundreds reporters all typing and filing away on their computers. There were a number "spin doctors" floating about, but I believe they were about 14 and from we must have not been very important.

I also wandered behind the TV studios and got glimpses of the floor through the bright lights of the studio...but that was about it.

There were two other notable encouters. The first was with my old boss's, boss's, boss, Ed Rendell, now the Governor of Pennsylvania, but formerly the Mayor of Phiadelphia. I saw him going into the Westin and quickly introduced myself as a former employee. He stopped everybody, turned towards me and asked what I was doing now, how I was doing, etc. It was the same old Ed magic and it was thrilling for me.

The second was a 10 minute chat with Gary Knell, CEO of the Sesame Workshop. I introduced myself and he came and sat at a table I was at and we compared notes about public broadcasting. I am a great admirer of his leadership in charting a new media course at the Workshop and that was also a thrill.

OK, so this post, again, has nothing to do with public media, and almost nothing redeeming about it, but I will have to think about what I learned...and share with you the amazing footage we got at the convention for the If I Were President campaign.

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