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Outside the Stadium, Looking in

By Alec MacGillis
DENVER -- There are a lot of people inside the Invesco Field football stadium -- an astonishing turnout for a political event. But for all the people packed in here, there are others who got left outside.

Kiki Farley, a retired teacher in Denver, volunteered often for the Obama campaign last winter when it targeted the Colorado caucus as one of its key states in the battle against Hillary Clinton, helping Obama rack up a handsome delegate pile in the Rocky Mountain state.

She made phone calls, served as a precinct captain and contributed money. Her husband Gordon Farley, a retired physician, picked up the baton when the campaign moved into the general election, going door to door in Denver every other week.

But when the couple called the campaign a few weeks ago to inquire about getting tickets to the big night here, they were told there was a huge waiting list and that they might not be able to get in. What would help their chances, the campaign said, was if Kiki Farley agreed to campaign six more hours on behalf of Obama.

This was in keeping with the campaign's attempt to use admission as an incentive to commit to organizing work. But it irked Kiki Farley, who felt that she should get some credit for working for Obama back when he was still a much longer shot. So she said no thanks. The campaign said it would call back about whether there would be slots, she says, but never did.

"She was kind of offended by the request. She feels that she's done her job," said Gordon Farley. "It was kind of strange. They seem to have a standard way of accepting people and rejecting people and we fell into the rejection basket."

Volunteers like the Farleys who could not get inside may not be thrilled to know about people like Isabel Melvin, a 45-year-old snowboarding instructor who splits her time between Colorado and Philadelphia who said she got a ticket to the big night from a friend who is putting up Obama supporters in his home and gave her a ticket because he "knows I'm an active Democrat."

Melvin hasn't yet volunteered for Obama, but she was one of the several dozen who were sitting in a stadium concourse making calls to undecided Colorado voters, urging them to watch Obama's speech. She called 13, of whom only a few picked up the phone. She said she will also go door to door for Obama in Philadelphia, which she figures is more important than Colorado because it has more electoral college votes.

Farley will continue to volunteer, and both he and his wife will vote for Obama, but his wife does not have enough time these days to volunteer as before. By this afternoon, he had reconciled himself to not coming to the stadium, saying he was relieved not to have to deal with the traffic and long security lines. "I'm not so bend out of shape about it," he said. "I'm enjoying watching on TV."

By Web Politics Editor  |  August 28, 2008; 10:32 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Conventions , Democratic Party  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Watching the Speech from a Watch Party
Next: Live from Inside Invesco Field


Obama's speech was fabulous, the whole event was planned perfectly and it is a legend in its own time. I was so proud to watch on TV.

Posted by: Everything was on our (Democratic) side | August 31, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

If there was enough room, Obama could have smashed Germany's turnout right here in the USA. There is only so much that the campaign can do and people they can let into the stadium safely. I spent hours campaigning for him in the primary and I am sorry I didn't see it in person, but completely understand!!!! Tickets were given out within a day of going out to the public. It is just GREAT that he thinks enough of his supporters to have opened it up in the first place!! The stadium was AWESOME! We definitely saw much more on television than if we had been in the nosebleed section.

Posted by: Shannon | August 29, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

They can walk right in to the Nutter Center.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I walked over an hour; got there and they wouldn't let me in. I have contributed to the campaign. It's a shame.

Posted by: Tesosi | August 28, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: JakeD | August 28, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

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