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DNC Postponement of Media Walk-Through Symbolizes Lowered Expectations for Convention

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The host committee for the upcoming Democratic National Convention will almost certainly miss the June 16 deadline for raising the estimated $40.6 million it said was needed to put on the big show in August; a Demver blog has more details. But all but lost amid the flurry of desperate last-minute fundraising was the postponement of a media walk-through scheduled for the same week --a move that contrasts sharply with a Howard Dean-hosted party preview detailed in a November 15, 2007 Message column.

The DNC went all out for last fall's event, which attracted hundreds of folks representing local and national news operations -- most notably the New York Times, whose enormous contingent suggested (inaccurately, as it turns out) that the print-journalism business wasn't doing as poorly as advertised. Committee execs such as convention CEO Leah Daughtry spoke at length prior to a series of Pepsi Center press tours capped by a pricey luncheon featuring a keynote speech by DNC chairman Dean, who delivered an enthusiastic valentine to what he referred to as "the new West."

Hard to say how Dean feels about Denver these days in light of the severe fundraising difficulties. As for local spokesperson Chris Lopez, he stressed in a Rocky Mountain News article published on June 14 that the postponement of the latest walk-through -- a move that forced the Denver Press Club to put the kibosh on a June 18 shindig for visiting journos -- had nothing to do with dollar woes. Instead, he cited "outstanding issues."

Outstanding debts is more like it. Sorry, members of the national press corps, but what looked to be a first-class affair last November is shaping up as a bargain bash. -- Michael Roberts

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