Conventionist: Highlights From DNC Day 1

Ted Kennedy at DNC
Delegates holding "Kennedy" signs while Ted Kennedy gives an emotional speech at the DNC | Photo by Sommer Mathis/DCist

One day down and three more to go here in Denver at the Democratic National Convention. Below are some of the top moments of Day 1 for DCist (and a couple lowlights for good measure).

  • Sen. Ted Kennedy's speech, obvs. The expectations going in were that this would be the senator's final public speech — but Kennedy walked out on stage and continued standing during his entire speech, defying expectations that he would look different, appear to be very weak and need to sit on the stool that had been brought out for him due to his cancer treatment. Several delegates we were near had already started to get teary during the video tribute to Kennedy, so the emotional impact of the incredibly popular senator promising that he would "be there next January on the floor of the United States Senate" packed a real wallop. Kennedy was the hit of the night on the convention floor.
  • Michelle Obama's speech was a close second. I had to head out of the Pepsi Center while she was still talking, but the entire house was rapt as she described what she and her husband have in common: "He was raised by grandparents who were working class folks just like my parents, and by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did," she said. Mrs. Obama did a good job convincing the crowd that she is a working mother who can identify with the struggles of ordinary Americans, proving herself a real asset to the campaign.

  • At a party co-hosted by the Distilled Spirits Council of America and The Hill newspaper, Hill Editor-in-Chief Hugo Gurdon told DCist that he had hired some local band he couldn't remember the name of for the entertainment, largely because he couldn't justify spending $250,000 to hire someone like Tom Petty. That "local band" turned out to Denver's own DeVotchKa, who are certainly in my top 10 favorite bands, if not top five. I happily rocked out after being surprised when strains to "Queen of the Surface Streets" started spilling out of the club.
  • Not great moments: Getting in and out of the Pepsi Center. I already told you how it took a long time to get inside in the afternoon. Well I made a mistake on my way out and ended up getting myself stuck in the shuttle bus bay and forced to ride one in to downtown Denver, even though that wasn't actually where I had been intending to go. Naturally, traffic was so backed up that the bus ride took three times as long as it should. Hopefully tonight I'll be able to find out which way I have to go to be allowed to walk out of the perimeter and find a taxi.
  • The food in the Pepsi Center: not good. Basically there's just limited stadium concessions, things like hotdogs and pre-made deli sandwiches. Maybe the fancy big time media outlets are somehow managing to feed their reporters dinner, but I couldn't figure out any other option than to pay $6.50 for a mediocre hot dog. If anyone who's in Denver figured out some way to eat a meal while working last night, let me know!
This post is by Sommer Mathis, Editor of LAist's sister-site DCist, who is attending the DNC as official member of the DNC's state blogger corps.