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If You Leave, You Can't Get Back In

Day 2 at the DNC: Hill-a-ry!

By Steve Rivas, 12:55PM, Wed. Aug. 27, 2008

The view from the Texas delegation.
The view from the Texas delegation.
photo by Steve Rivas

When you first walk into the Pepsi Center and look at the stage, it completely overwhelms. Fiberoptic stars twinkle on a black backdrop on either side of the stage. From the floor to the rafters, lights and video screens make you seem like you're at a U2 concert. In between guest speakers, the video screens pan across the venue to capture people dancing to soul and gospel music (and maybe a couple of disco songs every once in a while).

I'm not exactly sure what you see on television, but I can tell you what you didn't see yesterday on the floor of the convention.

There was not an empty seat in the venue. In fact, the most powerful person at the Pepsi Center was the fire marshal, who at one point decided there were too many people standing on the floor and aisles. Anyone having to use the restroom or a drink could leave, but wouldn't be back allowed onto the floor. Now you know why some of us were dancing around to the music a bit more wildly than the night before.

Just before Hillary began her speech, workers wearing florescent green vests walked through the aisles with black trash bags. Each of the workers wears a headset connected to a two-way radio. And on cue, they opened the trash bags to reveal "Hillary" signs as the crowd went wild with excitement. As a Hillary supporter, I noted that each sign had a surreal footnote reading: "Paid for by Obama for America."

After being introduced by her daughter, Senator Clinton received a standing ovation with thundering applause from everyone: Unity at last. For the first time in my life, I saw people wearing Obama shirts and pins waving 'Hillary' signs. For a few minutes, it was as if we were in some parallel universe where Senator Clinton, not Barack Obama, was the actual nominee.

Her speech was as far from self-centered as one could get. She urged Democrats to unite behind Barack Obama for president. Whether that will happen or not, I don't know. I hope so. What I do know is that for tomorrow's speech, we'll all go to the bathroom early and sneak in some bottled water.

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