By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
In May, a passenger at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport complained about a voice recording of Republican presidential candidate John McCain that greets passengers in the terminal. "Hello, this is Senator John McCain. Effective immediately, the Transportation Security Administration has limited the items you may take on board the aircraft. Please see a TSA representative for more information," the recording says. The airport has had several famous people record messages, including Jill St. John, Robert Wagner and Tai Babilonia. The McCain message was removed because of its political implications.
In July, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless announced a plan to give 500 movie tickets, as well as Denver Zoo, museum and cultural facilities passes, to hundreds of homeless people during the Democratic National Convention. Denying an effort to hide the homeless, coalition president John Parvensky said the point was to keep them from getting into trouble or getting mixed up with protesters.
In a video on its website, Focus on the Family asked people to pray for a "rain of biblical proportions" during Barack Obama's acceptance speech at Invesco Field. The Colorado Springs organization said the video was meant to be humorous, but pulled it after complaints from some Focus members.
In August, less than two weeks before the DNC was set to begin, a Canadian man of Somali descent was found next to a jar of cyanide in his room at the Burnsley Hotel. The poison, which can be used to make chemical weapons, as well as the large amount that was present, prompted a major hazmat response. After an investigation, police and the FBI determined that Masjid Abu Bakr probably committed suicide and wasn't in town to do damage to anyone else.
Shortly after Governor Bill Ritter began his speech in front of the 84,000 people gathered at Invesco Field, his teleprompter went bonkers. "It started scrolling about a thousand times faster than normal.... It finally came back on for the last line of the speech. In between then, all it said was, 'Hello, I'm Congressman Ed Perlmutter,'" Ritter told the Denver Post. Perlmutter also spoke that night.
Two days after the convention ended, a California tribal leader, in town for the festivities, died after getting into a fight outside the Diamond Cabaret. An autopsy of Gabriel Pico, 41, a member of the wealthy, casino-owning Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, showed the cause of death as asphyxia. In October, strip-club bouncer Bryan Coe, 27, was charged with reckless manslaughter in the case.
Election officials asked early voters in Denver not to wear their Halloween costumes into polling places, saying they wanted to keep the voting dignified and to make sure that no one wearing politically themed masks — such as ones depicting Sarah Palin or Barack Obama — could be accused of illegally trying to influence voters.
This spring, the city introduced the Denver Daisy, developed specifically for Colorado and designed to be planted so that millions of daisies would sprout in time for the convention; 30,000 packets of seeds were handed out. Unfortunately, most of the daisies didn't grow unless gardeners followed the directions to the letter.
During the DNC, at a political protest outside the Denver Mint, Re-create '68 protesters tried to highlight economic disparities in the U.S. Instead, the poorly attended event attracted members of the 9/11 Truth movement, who believe the 9/11 terrorist attacks were sponsored by the U.S. government. And when head Truther Alex Jones spotted right-wing media pundit Michelle Malkin, he went ballistic, screaming, "Shame on you, you little monster! You little fascist piece of trash!" Malkin, who has written a book defending racial profiling and the use of internment camps, tried to ignore Jones, but he kept yelling, and she eventually fled, with Jones in hot pursuit. Malkin later wrote about the protest, calling it "an abysmal failure." As for Jones, she said, "I should have brought my spit shield. Ick."
A week after the DNC, the GOP held its big shindig in Minneapolis — and Colorado Republican delegate and personal injury lawyer Gabriel Nathan Schwartz was there. But tens of thousands of dollars in jewelry, money and other possessions disappeared from his posh hotel room. He'd met a woman in the bar, she'd made some drinks, and that was the last thing he remembered, he told police.