#2 Gar Byrum’s Report from DNC Convention in Denver

Tom Haydn was sitting across from me eating lunch, and here we are about to nominate Senator Obama. 40 years ago, we were chanting the whole world is watching and now the whole world is watching for different reasons.

Last night went well. Hillary’s speech was very well received. I really think it helped to unify the party. I’ll know more later because a friend of mine is in a meeting of Hillary delegates from California. I’m sure there are still some reluctant to get on board. As Hillary pointed out, we will all lose if we don’t work for this victory. It is beyond any individual. It is for the country.

I think it is sifting into the consciousness of hard core Hillary supporters – some already went to work with Obama – for others, there is grudging respect. It is not as though people can turn a switch on for Obama. For them, Hillary was the person they believed in.

Besides Hillary last night, Mark Warner was the keynote speaker. One of the poorest keynote addresses I ever heard. It did espouse one of the key themes of the campaign, that we have to work on the same issues – American issues, and we have to work together pragmatically to find common ground. For that reason, I found it acceptable.

Governor Brian Schweitzer was dynamic at getting the crowd on its feet – getting across the message that we are going to get the same with McCain.

At today’s breakfast – it is obvious the Democratic party is working hard for all of the delegates to be united. Yesterday, it was governor’s day – we had Ted Strickland of Ohio and David Paterson of New York. They spoke about the financial impact each state is facing – diminishing income has put the states into debt and how they are dealing with the deficits for the states. Today was Senators day. We heard from Senator John Kerry, Senator Barbara Boxer and Senator Claire McCaskill. She was cute, she was amazed at how large our group. She is pleased about the polling she’s seen in California and encouraged the California delegation to work hard.

There is an interesting tactic at work so women aren’t too disappointed in not having a woman on the ticket. Yesterday all the women senators were on stage with the theme – 88th anniversary of women’s right to vote. Women vote more than men. Another theme last night – the promise of Obama to pass and sign equal pay for equal work.

There is a slow grudging movement on the part of the Clinton people towards Obama. Tonight’s speech is important in this regard. If Bill doesn’t follow up, it might destroy some of the hard work that’s been done — bridging the gap between the two groups.

Today is nominating process for Obama and Biden. When we got our daily delegate pass we voted. It will be repeated on the floor. A small controversy. Some wanted a secret ballot, but Chairman Art Torres said it was against the rules to have secret ballots.

Everyone was overwhelmed by Hillary’s speech and she has clearly grown as a candidate.. The Obama people respected what she did. I don’t see any real hold outs – just a few odd people.

I’ll give you an update after tonight’s session with Bill Clinton and Joe Biden.

Originally posted by Gar Byrum, Delegate

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