While we waited for Howard Dean and other Democrats to finish their tour of Invesco Field at Mile High, standing under an incredibly blue sky on the green, green turf, several of us took off our shoes and dug our toes into the incredibly thick, even grass. "I've been paying for this place," said one photographer of the taxpayer-subsidized football stadium. "I might as well."
And certainly Dean didn't blame us. "This place is great -- makes me want to be a Bronco," the Democratic National Committee chair said when he came out and stood on the spot, or close enough, where five weeks from tonight Barack Obama will deliver his acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination for president.
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It was just over two weeks ago that the Obama campaign informed the DNC that the candidate wanted to make his speech in the stadium, before a crowd of up to 80,000, rather than at the Pepsi Center, where the convention convenes on August 25 and which only has room for 20,000 -- basically the delegates and the media. And what the candidate wants, the candidate gets.
So Dean was here to tour the Pepsi Center, now under construction according to plans made more than a year ago, as well as Invesco Field, where plans are still up in the air. But the Democrats' hopes are sky-high.
"This event is for the American people," said Federico Pena, Denver's former mayor and co-chair of the campaign. "That's why the decision was made to have the speech here. It's open, welcoming. It's what the west is all about -- open to new people."
Acknowledging the "pretty short notice," Dean said that the Thursday, August 28 schedule for the Invesco events is firming up. The design for the stadium hasn't been determined yet, and the ticketing plan won't be revealed until next week. "But when everybody comes together," he said, "you can actually get a lot done." -- Patricia Calhoun