Howard Dean v. The World's Largest Rubberband Ball

Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean blew into Denver mid-day Wednesday to kick off the one-year countdown to the Democratic National Convention. He stood on the sweltering concrete outside the Pepsi Center, along with Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and Gov. Bill Ritter to pump up hundreds of party loyalists, thank volunteers, shake hands and answer questions.

But just blocks away, another heavyweight was making an appearance. The world’s largest rubberband ball, sponsored by OfficeMax, rolled up to the corner of the Sixteenth Street Mall and Glenarm Street, outside the Denver Pavillions, for what was labeled a “one of a kind crushing event.” It was the ball’s first public appearance since its Guinness Book of World Records induction in Chicago last November, the office supply chain said.

Though the two events likely appealed to different crowds, the following is a blow-by-blow comparison:

The 2008 convention is expected to draw 25,000 people. The rubberband ball weighs 4,594 pounds.

On Wednesday, Dean promised to turn red states into blue states next year and host the greenest convention in history. The rubberband ball is made up of 175,000 red, blue and green rubberbands, among other colors.

A crane was used to lift the rubberband ball up and drop it on ten items that have caused heartache for local residents; items included paraphernalia from the Denver Broncos’ AFC West rivals, a car door, a riding lawn mower tractor and an ugly bird statue. A driver named Tom drove Dean from the airport, the former governor said before pledging to crush Republican rivals in next year’s presidential election.

Dignitaries in attendance at the Pepsi center included: Hick, Ritter, convention host committee president Elbra Wedgeworth, State Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff. No known dignitaries attended the rubberband ball crushing event.

Both events featured free press parking, a question and answer session and music.

Notable quotes: “As we put our nominee on the path to victory starting here in the West, we will create a Convention that reflects the values we share and our vision for America.” – Howard Dean press statement

“Just as OfficeMax stores are starting over with a new multi-purpose store layout, the world’s largest rubberband ball is giving Denverites the same chance for a fresh start.” – OfficeMax press release

-- Jonathan Shikes