Covering the 2008 Democratic National Convention

August 27, 2008 | By Justin Sullivan | News


DENVER – AUGUST 26: Ohio delegate Peggy Tanksley displays her Democratic Party pride during day two of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) at the Pepsi Center August 26, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will be officially be nominated as the Democratic candidate for U.S. president on the last day of the four-day convention. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Greetings from the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.  It’s been a busy 48 hours, and here are a few things I have learned over the past two days..

When You’re Waiting – Find a Subject


DENVER – AUGUST 25: Dennis Lockhart vacuums the stage at the Pepsi Center August 25, 2008 in Denver, Colorado prior to the start of the first day of the Democratic National Convention (DNC). The DNC, where U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will be officially nominated as the Democratic candidate for U.S. president, starts today and finishes August 28th. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Day two of the convention started early for me. I was on the early shift with my co-workers Mark Wilson and Cliff Hawkins. We cover the hall until noon when the rest of the crew arrives. The big event for the morning is Michelle Obama doing a sound and light check. When we first arrived, it was just me and AP photographer Charlie Dharapak on the floor. Within an hour, there were dozens of photographers jammed up against the stage. We stood like this for a couple of hours. Boredom sets in fast when you’re just standing there like cattle. We amused ourselves by taking tons of pictures of the guy vacuuming the carpet on stage.

Don’t Ever Assume People Aren’t There


DENVER – AUGUST 26: (L-R) U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, former president Jimmy Carter, and Jill Biden watch the proceedings on day two of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) at the Pepsi Center August 26, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will be officially be nominated as the Democratic candidate for U.S. president on the last day of the four-day convention. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

I botched up the Jimmy Carter appearance. From what I understood, he would only be appearing via a taped message. I took this as an opportunity to take a bathroom break. Of course, moments after I dropped down from my position and am nowhere near my camera, he walks out. Thanks buddy.

Michelle Obama Was Made for the Stage


DENVER – AUGUST 25: Michelle Obama, wife of presumptive Democratic nominee U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), speaks during day one of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) at the Pepsi Center August 25, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. The DNC, where U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will be officially nominated as the Democratic candidate for U.S. president, starts today and finishes August 28th. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

I think Barack made a mistake by picking Joe Biden as his VP. He should have picked his wife, Michelle. Her speech that topped the first night of the DNC was impressive. She was an amazing blend of real person and seasoned politician. The woman can speak. Men and women in the packed Pepsi Center were brought to tears as she spoke of family, dreams and her love of country. Michelle also appears to have had some serious stage training. Most political wives often seem uncomfortable and shut down (Teresa Heinz Kerry comes to mind) but Michelle comes off as intelligent and confident. She knows how to play up the crowd, comes out waving and makes sure she acknowledges the entire audience. From a photographer’s perspective this is great since most come out and barely lift their arms as they look at their feet.

Expect the Unexpected


DENVER – AUGUST 25: U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) speaks during day one of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) at the Pepsi Center August 25, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. The DNC, where U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will be officially nominated as the Democratic candidate for U.S. president, starts today and finishes August 28th. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

I was kind of shocked that Ted Kennedy spoke. I was thinking that he might come out and wave after Caroline gave her tribute to him. But, in typical Ted fashion, he came out waving to the energized crowd. They had set a stool next to the podium for him to rest on as he spoke and he just pushed it out of the way and stood for his entire speech. I am glad he didn’t collapse on stage or something. That would have been ugly. This could very well be the last time that we see this man. What a way to go if that is the case.

That’s it for today – stay tuned for more…

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    I think that you were right on with this article. You put a nice twist to it. Great job Justin.