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Floor time


THURSDAY, July 29, 2004 -- Based on observations from my trip to the floor of the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, Iíd describe the motto as "Forget politics, letís party." That summed up the mood as I made my way among the conventionís elite. I received a 30-minute temporary pass to access the DNC floor just as US Senator Bob Graham, of Florida, ascended the stage. Graham proved to be rather, well, boring. Especially since he came after Al Sharpton, who electrified the building with his speech. So who could blame the delegates for losing interest?

Indeed, as he held forth about the Bush administrationís failed war on terror, the din of chatter coming from the delegates nearly drowned out his remarks. I found the Massachusetts delegation, which boasts the best front-row seats in the FleetCenter. There, I spotted Massachusetts Democratic Party chairman Philip Johnston glad-handing as many of the stateís 121 delegates as he could. Senate President Robert Travaglini yukked it up with the likes of Senators Marc Pacheco and Dianne Wilkerson, as Representatives Alice Wolf and Ruth Balsar shook their fannies to the tune of "Shout." Life, it seemed, was one big celebration.

Other high notes from my floor experience:

My brush with celebrity. Standing beside the Massachusetts delegation, I heard a strapping bald man in a dark-blue suit shout out, "Clear a path! Clear a path!" Suddenly, from out of the anonymous masses came a waft of flowery perfume, followed by Sex in the City star Sarah Jessica Parker. Behind her, clutching at her waist, fellow actor and husband Matthew Broderick shuffled silently through the crowd. For all you wondering, Parker had straightened her golden locks, so it took me awhile before I realized that I was enjoying a celebrity moment. Then, just as quickly as she and her husband had appeared, they vanished. The one thing I heard Parker say? "Here. Take a business card," to a stunned party operative.

Second-best celebrity sighting of the night. Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, the political-consultant-turned-villainess of the popular TV program The Apprentice, caught my eye after the real-deal celebrity encounter relayed above. I wasnít especially impressed (as soon as Omarosa lied to Kwame on the show, I lost all respect), but plenty of kiss-up reporters were hounding Omarosa for her autograph. As I passed the horde, I heard one snappily dressed female reporter coo, "I got Omarosaís email!"

Best bit of gossip. The consensus among Massachusetts delegates (at least, the handful by whom I found myself standing) is that the most "obnoxious" delegation stationed on the floor is that of the oh-so-important swing state, Oregon. As my 30 minutes on the floor drew to a close, I heard one curly-haired young man, donning a Massachusetts State house "intern" badge, commiserate with his delegate colleagues. "Oh!" he groaned. "The Oregon people are just so mean!" Who knew?


Issue Date: July 29, 2004
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