Thursday, August 21, 2008

NM-Sen: Tom Udall to Speak Next Wednesday at Dem Convention

The DNC reports that Rep. Tom Udall will be speaking at the Dem Convention in Denver next Wednesday. Udall will join New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), and Maine Rep. Tom Allen, former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and Oregon state House Speaker Jeff Merkley on the third night of the convention, which has a national security theme. The headline speech that evening will come from Obama's running mate, whoever that may be.

"As a proud Westerner and candidate for United States Senate, it is my honor to take part in this historic Convention for change," said Udall. "In my home state of New Mexico and around the nation, it's clear that voters will have a choice between leaders who will fight for our middle class and do what's right no matter what, or those who choose to stand for the same failed policies of the past."

All four Dems who'll be joining Schumer on stage are running for Senate seats this cycle -- in four of the premier Senate races in the nation. Jeanne Shaheen is challenging Sen. John Sununu in New Hampshire. Tom Allen is trying to unseat Sen. Susan Collins in Maine. Jeff Merkley, ironically enough, is challenging Sen. Gordon Smith -- a cousin of Tom Udall -- in Oregon. And, of course, Tom Udall is going up against Repub Steve Pearce to capture the Senate seat in New Mexico that's being vacated by Pete Domenici.

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August 21, 2008 at 10:34 AM in 2008 Democratic Convention, 2008 New Mexico Convention Delegation, 2008 NM Senate Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Personal Countdown to Denver

Denver Auditorium, site of 1908 Dem Convention,
the last time Denver hosted it

I'm finding it difficult to keep up my posts on local politics when there's so much preparation and planning to complete before heading off to Denver this Friday for the Democratic National Convention. We're expecting chaos no matter how much we manage to nail things down, and we're way behind on nailing things down.

I'm beginning to think that delegates have it easy. All they have to do is show up and allow themselves to be shepherded around, from the Albuquerque Sunport to DIA to the direct shuttle to their hotel, to the official events and parties. They're handed info packets and vouchers, maps and schedules, and they're all staying together at a hotel not far from the Pepsi Center, Convention Center and Mile High. They can focus on enjoying the events they attend. That's their job. Of course the downside is that they won't have anywhere near the freedom we'll have in Denver. We can go almost anywhere, anytime, following our curiosity wherever it leads. Or we can just sit still and watch the crowds passing by.

Still, it can be daunting to consider the challenges to be faced by the blogger contingent. We'll have to solve a myriad of technical and logistical problems, find the events we want to cover among a confusing array of calendars and listings, shoot the video and photos, take the notes and come up with story ideas. We'll have to write the stories and take the time to get everything uploaded with a variety of tools, some of them fairly complicated and new to us. We'll be dependent on phone and net connections that might be overwhelmed because so many other people will be trying to do the same thing at the same time. We've even been warned that Denver may experience brownouts because of the massive increase in power usage, especially if the weather is hot.

Quite a difference from the Pepsi Center,
and no TV cameras or net access

Blogger Logistics
As members of the DNC State Blogger Corps, our status is rather ambiguous. We're not delegates, yet we'll be sitting with our New Mexico delegation on the floor of the Pepsi Center. We're not really press either -- we don't have the support of any media outfit -- but we'll have media credentials and we've been receiving numerous emails that pertain to things that have nothing to do with bloggers. I'm still not positive we can ride the shuttles that will carry delegates to and from their hotels and around town, because we aren't delegates.

The NM delegation will be staying at the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Denver. We'll be staying where the DNC housing office assigned us -- about 35 minutes away (in normal traffic, which we won't have) in something called the Crosslands Economy Studios in Aurora out towards the airport. That means we really can't go back to our room during the day to rest, drop stuff off, change clothes, write, recharge batteries for our gear or upload files. We've been encouraged to attend and cover NM's delegate breakfasts -- which start at about 7:00 AM each day -- so we'll have to leave our room at some ungodly hour and we won't return until late at night. That means we'll have to lug everything with us all day and into the night.

At a minimum, Mary Ellen and I will each have a laptop, digital camera, Flip Video, cables, battery charger, spare batteries, extension cord and cell phone. Probably a jacket or sweater, rain poncho, water and munchy food. Of course we can't take the water or munchy food into the Pepsi Center -- there's a page-long list of items that aren't allowed.


We've seen schedules that claim the official events in the Pepsi Center will begin anywhere from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM each day. We still don't know which is right. To get in, we'll first have to work our way through several layers of security perimeters we've heard will begin a couple blocks out. We have to pick up a new credential each day downtown. The delegates get theirs each day at their hotel, where they also will receive various info and tickets for other events and parties. We're on our own in that regard. We hear the media will have access to a bunch of gatherings, but we don't know which ones yet. Almost no parking. Many major streets, and even I-25, will be closed at times. Cabs will be scarce.

We're Anxious, But Really, Really Excited
I know, it sounds like I'm whining, and I guess I am to some extent. We're leaving in a couple days so we're feeling just a bit nervous and overwhelmed. But make no mistake about it, we're also incredibly excited and feeling really lucky to be the recipients of blogger credentials that will give us unprecedented access to the action. We still have to pinch ourselves at times. And I guess that's part of the pressure we're feeling too -- we want to do a great job of providing coverage to you and people, literally, around the world. We've been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we want to perform at our very best -- but still leave time to have some fun.

I wish we knew more about the conditions under which we'll be operating. I keep having this dream that all the power goes off in Denver and stays that way for a good long time, causing fumbling and confusion galore. We're keeping our fingers crossed.


I'm glad we purchased passes to what's known as The Big Tent, created by bloggers for bloggers. It'll probably serve as our main sanctuary when we aren't at other events. It's a couple of blocks away from the Pepsi Center and will be filled with geeks and writers from all over the country who will certainly know more than we do if our equipment goes haywire. The Big Tent will offer daily food, drink, camaraderie, moral support, wi-fi, speakers, panels, entertainment, live feeds from the Convention and workspace all week -- for the measley sum of $100 per person. They even have yoga in the mornings.

As part of the DNC's state blogger corps, we'll have more connection with our delegation, more deals and more access to official events than others who are going up there independently, either for blogging, protesting or side events. We should be counting our blessings instead of venting our anxieties, right? Well, there's a time for everything. The anxieties are coming out now; the awe and joy will come later. No doubt about it.

Check in Often
Keep coming back for video, photos, stories and anecdotes about the Convention from now until Obama is offically nominated before 75,000+ people at Mile High Stadium on Thursday night, rain or shine. If we can work out all the technical, geeky details as we go along!

Support Us If You Can
If you still haven't donated to help us cover our expenses, I hope you'll click on the orange "Donate" button on the upper left-hand side of the page. We have to cover more than a week of hotel bills, food and gas. We each paid $100 for Big Tent passes. We've purchased Flip Videos, a new digital camera, extra memory cards, a MacBook to replace my olden Dell PC, extra cell phone service, various wires, cables and gizmos and a few bags to carry it all in. Our time and energy is donated too.

If you like reading our blog, please support us financially, either by donating or purchasing ads, and please do the same for New Mexico FBIHOP. Matt has been running up gas bills like crazy covering the campaigns, and he's also heading up to Denver this weekend. We need your help now. Big shout out of thanks to all of you who've already contributed -- or who'll click that button now.

Click on photos for larger images. Click to see additional Convention photos at the DNCC website.

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August 20, 2008 at 02:26 PM in 2008 Democratic Convention, 2008 General Presidential Election, 2008 New Mexico Convention Delegation, Democratic Party, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Gov. Richardson to Speak on Third Night of Convention, When VP Nominee Will Also Speak

CD1 Obama delegate Pamelya Herndon, of Albuquerque, talks about the upcoming Convention

The DNCC has announced the speakers for the third night of the Dem Convention, and Gov. Bill Richardson is among them. I would think that pretty much rules out Richardson being picked by Obama for VP because the VP nominee is set to be the keynote speaker that same night. Of course it also appears to rule out Evan Bayh and Joe Biden, who will also be addressing the delegates on Wednesday evening.

Will Obama's VP be a Republican? Notice how Obama's foreign policy is characterized as essentially nonpartisan in the release. A clue that Sen. Chuck Hegel -- or even Colin Powell -- will be Obama's pick? Pure conjecture at this point.

A political newcomer, Gaye Pollit, a NM-03 Obama delegate from Santa Fe, is excited about Denver

From the DNCC and Obama for America Campaign: Wednesday’s program – Securing America’s Future – will feature the voices of Americans who share Barack Obama’s vision of making America stronger and safer. The headline prime-time speaker on Wednesday will be Barack Obama’s Vice Presidential Nominee.

Barack Obama offers a new, tough foreign policy approach that is neither Republican nor Democratic.  Obama will implement a strong, smart American foreign policy that makes us more secure at home and advances our interests in the world by ending the war in Iraq responsibly and focusing on the threats of the 21st century - al Qaeda, nuclear weapons, and energy security.

Hillary Clinton delegate Johnny Montoya of Taos, in CD3 is ready to learn something and have some fun 

Former President Bill Clinton will speak on Barack Obama’s commitment to a stronger and safer America, as well as the history of Democrats making positive change in the lives of all Americans.

Governor Bill Richardson and Senators Evan Bayh, Joe Biden and Jay Rockefeller will echo Obama’s call for a new direction in national security and outline his policies and plans to secure America’s future.

One of the greatest security challenges facing the country today is reducing our dependence on oil, especially from foreign sources. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will discuss Barack Obama’s plans to make America more secure by investing in smart energy policies.

Senator Ken Salazar, the Convention’s home state Senator, and House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn will also speak as part of the Securing America’s Future program.

A bedrock component of Obama’s national security plan is increasing our support to active duty military, veterans and military families. Representative Patrick Murphy (D-PA) and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth will lead a tribute honoring those who give so much to secure our nation’s future.

Click to see the complete listing of New Mexico delegates to the 2008 Dem Convention. Check this archive for previous posts with videos of our delegation and this one for other Convention-related posts.

The Democracy for New Mexico blog was selected by the DNC to serve on its State Blogger Corps representing New Mexico. We have floor credentials and will be seated with the NM Delegation for the four days of the Convention so we can blog about the local angle from Denver. DFNM will have videos, photos and stories about the event starting the weekend of August 23rd.

Videos by M.E. Broderick, from a recent gathering of NM delegates.

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August 14, 2008 at 03:40 PM in 2008 Dem VP Candidates, 2008 Democratic Convention, 2008 New Mexico Convention Delegation | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, August 11, 2008

DNCC/Obama Unveil Convention Speakers and Themes

The Democracy for New Mexico blog was selected to represent our state on the DNC's State Blogger Corps at the Convention. We'll be reporting from Denver and will be seated with the NM delegation. We attended a recent gathering of our delegates and Dem officials and got a chance to interview many of them about their thoughts on the Convention. Keep an eye out because we'll be posting videos like this one with State Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas, an early Obama endorser who'll be in Denver as part of Obama's team.

In a press release today the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) and the Obama for America Campaign announced the themes for each night of the 2008 Convention, which will be held in Denver from August 25th through August 28th.

"The 2008 Convention is about ensuring that those peoples’ voices are heard and their call for change is heeded,” said Kansas Governor and Convention Co-Chair Kathleen Sebelius. “From Monday through Thursday, our Convention program will highlight the people of this country who want positive change and who believe Barack Obama is the leader who will listen to their concerns and get our country moving in the right direction again.”

State Auditor Hector Balderas talking with State Treasurer James B. Lewis at NM delegate gathering earlier this month

Monday, August 25 -- One Nation
Headline prime-time speaker: Michelle Obama.

Tuesday, August 26 – Renewing America’s Promise
Headline prime-time speaker: Senator Hillary Clinton

Wednesday, August 27 -- Securing America’s Future
The Vice Presidential Acceptance Speech
Headline prime-time speaker: Vice Presidential Nominee.

Thursday, August 28 – Change You Can Believe In
Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech

Note: The word is that former President Bill Clinton will be among the speakers on Wednesday, but he's apparently not being billed as a headliner.

On Thursday night, the DNCC says it will throw open the doors of the Convention and move to INVESCO Field at Mile High so that more Americans can be a part of the fourth night of the Convention as Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination. Obama will communicate the urgency of the moment, highlight the struggles Americans are facing and call on Americans to come together to change the course of our nation. 

The DNCC will unveil additional Convention program details and speakers throughout this week.

Click on photo for larger image. Photo and video by M.E. Broderick.

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August 11, 2008 at 11:10 AM in 2008 Democratic Convention, 2008 General Presidential Election, 2008 New Mexico Convention Delegation | Permalink | Comments (0)