Live from Inside Invesco Field
DENVER -- 11:39 p.m. Hillary Rodham Clinton convention delegate Betty Fraley, a retired teacher with the Tennessee delegation, said the speech was "really good, covered everything he needed to." She said she was a bit surprised by his forceful tone in lines about the Republicans. "That shocked me a little -- I had not heard him do that before," she said. But she thought it was the right tack to take "because a lot of stuff is going to be coming at them" from the other side.
Jerome Wiley Segovia, 34, of Arlington, a member of the Virginia delegation, said he did not worry that the setting and theatrics were too imperial, as the GOP had described the staging
before the event. "This is a historic moment for a country as great as we are. It was a very fitting glimpse of how he might look standing in the Rose Garden speaking to the country." Like Fraley, he was impressed by Obama's fiesty delivery. "I liked the way he said 'enough!' with a lot of firmness."
11:29 p.m. "It was magnificent," said Robert Zimmerman, a longtime Clinton supporter from New York. "It was a call to action of historic proportions"
Sekou Kamara, 42, an immigrant from Senegal who lives in Denver, said he thought Obama "touched on every issue of consequence, not only to Americans, but to the people of the world."
11: 22 p.m. POOL REPORT: The view from right behind Obama at the podium was stunning: the nominee looked out onto a sea of flashing bulbs and blue "change" signs, his own campaign message flashed back to him tens of thousands of times over. The text of the address scrolled up in front of him, large white digital letters on a black screen, and also reflected on the plexiglass in front of him. As he spoke, Obama stood with his feet planted firmly parallel, calm and at times motionless. A cool breeze wafted across the stage area toward the end of the speech.
The real color came at the end, as Michelle and the girls came out to join him, followed by the Bidens. After the initial embrace, the girls started playing with the red, white and blue confetti -- trying to catch the star-shaped flakes as they fell, tossing them in each other's hair. Melia playfully picked up a long blue strand of paper as her father was walking back toward her. He gave her a knowing look, with a slight, winking smile.
Obama is stopping by a friends and family reception now, then going to the National Finance Committee gathering here, staying at Invesco until about an hour after the end of the speech.
--Anne E. Kornblut
10:24 p.m. The lights inside the stadium have been dimmed to a level that makes its corporate sponsorship logos barely visible.
The upper northeast corner of the stadium, for instance, has a massive screen showing Obama as he delivers the speech. But the Verizon Wireless lighting and the Invesco Field logo surrounding the screen are dimmed.
The only thing other than Obama's image that's visible: www.barackobama.com, in bright lights.
9:52 p.m. Our colleague Keith Richburg reports from Manhattan that "Times Square is packed with people watching the convention on a huge screen."
9:47 p.m. The Obama campaign Colorado state director announces the campaign has received more than 30,000 text message sign ups in the past hour.
9:42 p.m. During former vice president Al Gore's speech, police kept journalists and others from entering the stadium floor. One of those in the front of the line, held hostage, was Tom Brokaw, who had the endzone crowd on his side. A loud group of conventiongoers started a chant -- "Let Tom through! Let Tom through!" -- which only seemed to amuse Brokaw.
9:26 p.m. Obama has arrived at Invesco Field at Mile High stadium.
9:19 p.m. The Obama motorcade is en route.
--Anne E. Kornblut
8:55 p.m. The sun dropped below the rim of Invesco stadium just before 7 p.m. MT, leaving the crowd in perfect comfort. A slight breeze whispered around the bowl, just enough to set the American flag gently flapping.
Weeks ago,when the decision was made to move out doors, campaign manager David Plouffe had one request: "Dianna, no rain," he asked of Rep. Dianna DeGette, a Denver-area House member.
"David, I'm good -- not that good," DeGette said tonight, recalling the campaign chief's fears that rain would mar the event.
--Matthew Mosk and Paul Kane
8:50 p.m. Many of the concessions have run out of food, and some are out of bottled water. The skyboxes, however, are well stocked with Stoli.
8:35 p.m. Che Riley, who was outside the stadium selling Obama buttons to a 3-mile long line of people on Auraria Parkway, said she thought Denver has been a model of racial harmony during the convention. "I'm really excited about going back to New York and sharing with my peers how nice and peaceful it was." She said the respect she saw between races on the streets was "beyond her wildest imagination," and a different world from what she usually experiences in New York. "Coming into the Midwest, we didn't know what to expect."
Riley said button sales have been good, particularly buttons that have "Denver" emblazoned on them somewhere, but the cultural experience has been better. "We're doing this because we're part of a coalition that really wants to support Barack Obama ... the coalition of African American people."
--Vincent P. Bzdek
8:33 p.m. Actress Morgan Fairchild has scored a seat right next to Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (Pa.), directly stage right on the floor, about 20 rows from the stage.
8:31 p.m. As the excitement at Invesco mounted, Barack Obama remained out of view, back at the Westin hotel downtown. A crowd of onlookers gathered across the street to wait for his departure. The Secret Service contingent protecting him took even greater security measures than usual, bringing the pool of reporters to a secret location to wait for the motorcade.
--Anne E. Kornblut
8:30 p.m. The Obama campaign was making a considerable effort to capitalize on the high tech potential inherent in a gathering of 75,000 people.
Scoreboard contests asked those in the stadium to guess how much money Obama would seek to save each American for college, and text in their answers. In lights around the stadium, the campaign posted its web site address. And ticket holders were asked for their e-mail addresses when they signed up to attend.
The strategy is one of the earliest Obama used to develop an enormous grassroots network. During his first national tour, at the start of primary season, the campaign collected e-mail addresses on clipboards at every major rally. The campaign then used those addresses to get out Obama's change message, and, to ask for money.
The text messages are now an even more critical part of the campaign's strategy. Obama's field team plans to text supporters to reach them at critical moments -- most importantly, to urge them to vote on Election Day.
8:18 p.m. Conventions are known for funny hats, but Kenneth Sherman, 71, didn't stop there.
With red-and-white striped pants, a star-spangled shirt, and a wispy white beard, Sherman was a regular Uncle Sam.
This was a new look for the one-time hippie, who moved to Canada years earlier. "I've been to two other conventions," Sherman said. "But I was on the outside, protesting. This is my first time on the inside."
Sherman said he was inspired by Obama to join Democrats Abroad. Now he wears his costume at festivals in Ontario to register American citizens who are living up north.
Sherman is one of 21 delegates who live abroad. He got picked, he said, in part because he registered more than 1,000 new voters -- most duel citizens. "Not bad, considering I live in Canada!" he said.
8:17 p.m. While Tim Kaine took the stage for his big speech, a gigantic crowd and throng of cameras surrounded celebs Susan Sarandon, Anne Hathaway, Hayden Panettierre, and Allan Cummings, all seated several rows off the floor behind the camera riser. Also Tim Daley and the woman who plays coach's wife on "Friday Night Lights."
8:10 p.m. Jettie Ann Hill screamed uncontrollably from her seat with the Minnesota delegation. Security guards turned, the masses moving through packed aisles paused.
After calming down, Hill said she came to Denver with two wishes. One was to see a unified Democratic Party. The other was almost too much to hope for: to meet Oprah.
Then came a text message from her son, who was in a VIP section up by the skyboxes.
"Oprah's here!" Hill said.
8:00 p.m. Singer Sheryl Crow took the stage to sing her '90s hit "A Change Will Do You Good", playing off Obama's main political theme this campaign. The crowd in front of the stage is peppy, wiggling and dancing. Even the signers -- translating the song into sign language -- are dancing while signing.
7:59 p.m. On the 45th anniversary of his father's "I Have A Dream" speech, Martin Luther King III said watching Obama secure the nomination by acclamation was a "very positive, chilling experience" last night.
In an interview after addressing the stadium today, King said Obama's nomination was a major step along the path toward achieving his parents' dream. "I feel that my mom and dad are looking down upon us, smiling," he said, as the strains of the unofficial Obama campaign theme song "Yes We Can" was sung by Will.I.Am and John Legend on the stage.
King predicted Obama's speech would provide "an energy that this stadium has never felt, not even when the Denver Broncos are playing."
7:53 p.m. Not content with drawing a crowd billed as being close to 80,000, the Obama campaign is using the evening to increase its collection of cell phone numbers whose owners can be called -- and called upon -- for fundraising and organizing purposes in the weeks ahead.
At 7:03 EST, campaign supporters signed up for text messages received the notice "Final night of the convention is tonight -- don't miss Barack's speech! To get involved locally, REPLY: VOL plus your FIRST NAME and TOWN (ex: VOL Ann Chicago)." And, shortly after that, Invesco Field attendees were exhorted to take out their cell phones and sign up for Obama texts.
7:47 p.m. Despite the long lines and tensions beyond the gates, the mood in the stadium is relaxed and upbeat. Former Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis navigated through the thicket to find his VIP seat. Former governor Tom Vilsack, briefly a candidate himself this year, stood in the endless line outside, just another Obama supporter. Veteran newsman Dan Rather scored a prime second-row seat.
7:43 p.m. An Invesco Field customer relations guard in Section 101 who gave his name as Curly said he's been to "all the games" -- and says he's never seen anything like this here. "Usually I just deal with drunks. This is amazing," he said.
4:31 p.m. As promised, the Obama campaign has dispatched its ground game here in force. Just don't tell the press.
Obama staff members are registering voters, roping in phone bankers with promises of floor seats, and promoting a "Weekend of Action" this Saturday, Sunday and Monday throughout Colorado. But don't go looking for details in the papers tomorrow.
When this reporter approached a young woman registering voters, he was curtly told she was not allowed to talk to the press. Remy Jeffrey and Kate Robinson, two Colorado University students registering to vote, gushed about their jobs handing out signs tonight to the crowd. But they were allowed to speak, as mere volunteers.
A young man loudly hawking the Weekend of Action shut up fast as soon as a reporter approached. He grudgingly allowed me to take a flier -- he refused to actually hand it to me -- then said nothing as I walked away.
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