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Charles Barkley Shows Up at Kaine Party

Tim Craig

DENVER--Former Basketball star Charles Barkley made an unscheduled visit at a party for the Virginia delegation that was sponsored by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D).

Barkley mingled with the crowd for more than an hour, posing for pictures with delegates and numerous elected officials, including Kaine and former governor and Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder.

But Barkley almost didn't get into the party, which was held at a bar on Denver's bustling 16th Street Mall, according to Del. Mark D. Sickles (D-Fairfax).

Sickles said Larry Roberts, Kaine's chief counsel, initially turned away Barkley, who is 6-6 and most recently played for the Houston Rockets. Roberts, who was working the door, apparently didn't recognize Barkley and his entourage, Sickles said.

"Larry Roberts said you can't come in, it's a private party," Sickles said. But Sickles said he recognized Barkley and said, "I think that is Charles Barkley."

"Charles, do you want to come in and meet the governor?" Sickles said he asked.

"He said, 'Yeah, that's why I'm here'," Sickles said.

Barkley finally made it inside the bar, and was quickly surrounded by adoring Virginia Democrats.

Later, Roberts denied that he didn't recognize Barkley.

"I did know, but I made him work hard to get in," Roberts said.

Barkley's visit was the highlight of Kaine's party, even though the governor was also a big hit when he took the stage with a harmonica.

U.S. Reps. Rick Boucher and Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, both Virginia Democrats, Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) and House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry) also attended the event.

By Tim Craig  |  August 26, 2008; 10:15 AM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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