Reports from the Democratic National Convention

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Reports from the Democratic National Convention

Super Bowl of the political world

September 5, 2012

Yesterday was a very busy day. It was the first day of the Pennsylvania delegates’ breakfast. This means that our team had to be in the office at 6 a.m.

The morning was filled with hundreds of questions that were beyond my intern powers to answer.
For lunch, the girls in our group were allowed to attend the "We the Women" luncheon. The speakers included U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz; the vice chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, Penny Gerber; and the chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s Women's Caucus, Candace Faye Stitzman. The speakers where all very motivational and taught us that women can make it in the fast-paced political world.

After the luncheon, our adviser made us stay in the restaurant for five hours. She kept making up excuses, saying we needed to be there. During these hours of “lock-down in uptown,” we escaped to attend the Google party.

The Google party was held in a building that was constructed especially for this event. While we were having fun playing with the new gadgets, we got a call demanding we return to our new home in the Blue restaurant.

As it turns out, we were being held there because our boss got us credentials for the first night of the convention. The experience was amazing! I would compare it to the Super Bowl of the political world.

View during the DNC.Our view during the Democratic National Convention. 

My favorite part of the convention was seeing Michelle Obama speak in person. I think everything about her was perfect last night. (President Obama will have some competition in winning “my favorite speech” after her address.) 

Since this is my first convention, I am just amazed by every aspect. I am looking forward to what I will experience today.

Democrats know how to party

September 3, 2012

Last night the Pennsylvania Democrats allowed us to attend the delegates' welcome reception at the Mint Museum in Charlotte. The delegates in attendance were from Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Before the event I was talking to a lady who turned out to be Lackawanna County Democrat Evelyn McNulty. She has decided to take me under her wing and introduce me to some big names in politics.

One notable figure I was introduced to was the governor of Hawaii!

I am currently working on about three hours of sleep. We will be attending the Pennsylvania delegates' reception tonight. 

Camilla Cionni (center) and Breanna Blose (right) at the delegate's party at the Randolph Mint Museum in Charlotte. Camilla Cionni (center) and Breanna Blose (right) at the delegate's party at the Randolph Mint Museum in Charlotte. 

First day of fieldwork

September 2, 2012

My fieldwork placement is officially under way. I am very excited to be working with the Pennsylvania Democratic Party staff. Everyone is so friendly and makes you feel like you're a part of the team.

Last night the Washington Center interns all had the chance to attend the North Carolina Music Factory media party. It was a good opportunity to hang out with the other interns outside the classroom.

My day started with a staff breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Today is going to be a long day! Still, I am very excited to have the chance to attend the delegates’ welcome reception. I hope it will be an opportunity to make connections with our state’s elected officials.

Stage at the Democratic National Convention.

The countdown begins

August 30, 2012

Today I finally received my placement! I am going to be working with the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

I am so honored to have the chance to work with my home state’s representatives.

My tip in the first blog actually did come true: I made friends with a student who got me an extra ticket to Saturday nights’ media party. I have heard rumors about those who are supposed to be attending, and I am very excited.

Pennsylvania has also hooked their interns up. We will be attending all of the state delegates’ parties, as well as having the chance to attend President Obama’s acceptance speech next Thursday!

In preparation for our fieldwork, we had the honor of having Aaron Brown, Walter Cronkite Professor of Journalism at Arizona State University, talk to us in our small groups.

He told us not to hold back, and to take all the opportunities that we can.

Mr. Brown taught us that we shouldn’t be afraid of failure, because it will only hold us back.

I am now getting really excited to start my fieldwork placement and cannot wait for all the events to begin!

The Credential Search: The Hunger Games of the Political Convention

August 28, 2012

Tomorrow we are receiving our fieldwork placements. All of the interns are nervously waiting to see who we will be working with at the convention. 

Some placements open the doors to better credentials, which allow more access to events.

With this being said, I have come up with some tips to hopefully get you into an event, even without the proper credentials. (Notice: Lying should not be used to get you into events, instead you should find ways around it.)

  • Instead of saying:  “My faculty leader is inside.”
    Say: “My faculty leader might be inside”

    This way you aren’t lying if you did not see him inside. How do you know? He might be inside!
  • Instead of saying: “My name has to be on the list”
    Say: “My name might be on the list” 

    Saying your name has to be on the list makes you sound like a big shot. This will most likely annoy the person working the door.

In today’s society, we are all a part of the media. Everyone has a Facebook page or Twitter account. In an attempt to gain access to Saturday night’s media party at the NC Music Factory, one could technically say he/she is a “member of the media.” 

I can’t guarantee that any of these ideas will work, but it will be fun trying.

No matter what credentials the Cal U students end up receiving, we still have had the chance to take a few photos with President Obama and Vice President Biden. They might have been cardboard cutouts, but it’s the best we could get at this point.

I’m hoping we can see them in person next week.

Portrait of Cal U students with cutouts of President Barak Obama.
These Cal U students received credentials to pose with
President Obama and Vice President Biden ... the cardboard cutouts of them. 

An inspiring message

August 27, 2012

Today we had the honor of attending a lecture presented by Patricia Cotham, North Carolina state legislator for District 100.

Mrs. Cotham began her political career at the age of 10, working Saturday mornings on a local campaign. She then went to become a teacher in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. After this, she was promoted to principal.

In 2007 she was asked to run for the North Carolina State House. Her victory was amazing, because at her young age, she was considered the underdog of the race.

Mrs. Cotham’s lecture was very motivational, because she showed that even though she was a young woman, she has what it takes to be a state representative. She inspired all young women in the audience, because she was very down to earth and showed that you didn’t have to change your outlooks in order to be elected.

Charlotte fun fact No. 1: Cam Newton, quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, can be spotted at Wendy’s getting his lunch. The students who were not with us were very jealous of our first celebrity sighting. 

Bruce Grover, Breanna Blose and Courtney Cochran meet with North Carolina state legislator Patricia Cotham.
Bruce Grover, Courtney Cochran, and Breanna Blose (right) meet with
North Carolina state legislator Patricia Cotham (center-right). 

Welcome to the Queen City!

August 26, 2012

Charlotte is a beautiful city, and it’s amazing to see the transformations that are currently taking place to prepare for the more than 35,000 people who soon will be traveling here.

I have learned that one must take a few steps to prepare for the fast-approaching Democratic National Convention.

How to Prepare for a National Convention in Five Days 

  1. Make friends — Preferably friends from big states with a lot of delegates. This is a good connection to have in case they get extra credentials for a convention event.
  2. Learn the local customs — In Charlotte, one can receive a fine of up to $250 for jaywalking. Anyone who knows me can tell you, I am always attempting to walk out in front of traffic.
  3. Plan ahead — If you fail to make friends with connections, go straight to the source. This might involve staking out the Pennsylvania delegates’ hotel, so bring snack foods. You never know what time the delegates will be returning, so snacks are a necessity.
  4. Dress the part — Look like you are someone important. Everyone on the street thinks you are someone important because of the pass around your neck. Even if you end up setting up chairs or sweeping floors, everyone outside thinks you’re a big shot.
  5. Do your homework — Make sure you get all of the assigned homework done before the deadline. There is a lot of work that needs to be done for The Washington Center program, and you don’t want it to get in the way of attending cool events during the convention.

If No. 5 is not possible, go to Buffalo Wild Wings with your group and eat cheese sticks until you feel better about spending your evening with your required readings. 

Courtney Cochran with Breanna Blose.Me with Cal U student Courtney Cochran (left), receiving our required reading material through The Washington Center program. 

Convention Details

Sept. 4-6
Charlotte, N.C.

Democratic National Convention logo.

Other Reports

Portrait of Breanna Blose.Lucie Fremeau

Portrait of Camilla Cionni.Camilla Cionni
Portrait of Emily Martik.Emily Martik