While watching the August 6 news conference at which the ticket giveaway plan for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's August 28 Invesco Field at Mile High acceptance speech was announced, I had a nagging sense that the sunny platitudes being dispensed by Denver National Convention Committee CEO Leah Daughtry, former Denver mayor Federico Peña and Colorado governor Bill Ritter weren't infused with much reality, and disappointment was sure to follow. Well, slap me on the back and call me the Amazing Kreskin, because bummed I am. Based on everything Daughtry and Peña said, there should have been absolutely no reason why my wife, Deb, shouldn't have gotten tickets. But yesterday, she received an e-mail (reproduced below) telling her she'd been wait-listed -- and we all know what that means.
Why do I think we were scammed? Two specific reasons...
Before the procedure was announced, there were rumors aplenty that the Dems would require ticket applicants to volunteer for the campaign in exchange for passes -- but when a member of the press asked about that, Daughtry rejected the notion specifically and unequivocally. In addition, Peña made it seem as if the clock had just begun running. "Start making your calls immediately. Go online immediately," he said. "It's first come, first served."
Naively buying that line, I raced to the Invesco Field parking lot after the press conference ended moments later and called Deb, the principal of a school in the Archdiocese of Denver, who was at her facility readying for the new academic year. She immediately went to the designated site and registered twice -- once for her and one of my twin daughters, who are fifteen and big Obama fans, the second time for me and the other one. She did so despite the fact that we'd already signed up on another site a couple of days earlier; we linked through Channel 4 after hearing a piece by reporter Jodi Brooks. But we didn't want to take any chances.
Oh yeah: I told Deb that Daughtry had said no volunteering was required for tickets, and since we've both been working twelve-hour days of late, she left that particular box unchecked.
Since then, of course, evidence has arisen to suggest that volunteering was indeed the key to getting tickets; check out this blog for audio evidence. If the process had really been first-come, first-served, Deb would have been among the first to get welcome news. Instead, she was among the first to get the Heisman.
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Here's the deal: If the campaign had said volunteering was required, we would have done so. It would have been hellish, but the sacrifice would have been worth it. Instead, I believed what Daughtry and Peña said -- and my family is now paying the price. Granted, I may still have a chance to attend, since I'm in the running for a press pass -- although that remains up in the air less than two weeks before the event. Moreover, I haven't received my official rejection yet, nor have my daughters, whose e-mail addresses were also used at the original website. If we get good news, I'll update this post and eat some of my words. But given Deb's experiences, I don't expect that will happen.
The Obama speech at Invesco is supposed to be a feel-good event -- but I don't feel good right now. Instead, I feel misled and lied to.
Here's the e-mail we received. -- Michael Roberts
Dear Deb --
We've been amazed by the number of people expressing interest in attending Barack's acceptance speech on the final night of the Democratic National Convention here in Colorado.
Unfortunately, there are only a certain number of seats in the stadium, and we cannot fulfill every Coloradan's request to attend the event.
Due to the high demand for Community Credentials, you have been placed on a wait list.
We may be distributing more Community Credentials in the coming days, but we cannot guarantee that you will receive a credential. We will update you as we approach the beginning of the convention.
Barack's acceptance of the nomination will be a truly historic moment, and there is another way you can make sure that you enjoy it.
Sign up to host or attend a Convention Watch Party on Thursday, August 28th.
All across Colorado, people like you will be hosting Convention Watch Parties to gather with fellow supporters, watch convention events, and talk about the best ways to build this movement for change in Colorado.
Learn more about hosting or attending a Convention Watch Party and other ways to get involved:
Anne Filipic General Election Director Colorado Campaign for Change