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Seated at history’s table

Ruth Moon
Matt McClain, Rocky Mountain NewsDemand to see Obama speak has exceeded even high expectations.
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After long weeks of waiting, Eagle County Democrats had just five hours to pick 10 people to hear Sen. Barack Obama’s acceptance speech next week.

“We got a call saying it’s today ” you have to have a name, employer, address by five o’ clock today,” Eagle County Democrats Co-Vice Chair New New Wallace said of the call the local Democrats received a few weeks ago. “When it comes down to … noon and you have to find people by five, you take whoever responds.”

The group received 10 tickets.

“As soon as it was announced, everyone wanted to go. And then it was ‘Oh my God, how do we decide who gets to go?'” Wallace said. “It was a bit of a scramble.”

Some of the 10 attendees were selected by a lottery consisting of everyone who responded to an e-mail and others were selected for work they had done for the party, Eagle County Democrats Co-Chair Harvie Branscomb said. Branscomb, Onderdonk and Wallace are all going to the event.

“I want to tell my grandchildren that I was there when Barack Obama accepted the nomination,” Wallace said. “I don’t want to watch it on television; I want to say I was there. It’s history ” history in the making.”

Brascomb said he was surprised at the ticket rush given the low Eagle County turnout at the primary Aug. 15. He will be going to the speech but is frustrated by the event’s organization.

“This is the season where the parties have to resolve their internal differences,” he said. “I prefer to see that process happen with real grassroots activism. I’m not sure that’s going to happen with 80,000 people in a stadium with no pamphlets allowed. We will be cheering Obama, but we won’t be discussing politics necessarily.”

Delegates to the Democratic National Convention are automatically included in the audience, so Eagle County residents Bryan Gonzales and Debbie Marquez will be at the event, as will several other local residents who applied through the Obama campaign’s Web site.

Eagle resident and Eagle County Democrats Co-Vice Chair Fred Schmidt and his wife Nancy got tickets from Eagle County Democrats to hear Obama’s speech.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” he said. “I haven’t actually seen them, but people have said they’re around.”

Schmidt said he looks forward to hearing Obama, but could do without the rush of people.

“With traffic and parking, and the things that go with it, it’s not going to be an easy situation to get to,” he said. “And I have no clue where I could sit. During the World Series I sat next to the last row in the upper deck, so who knows where … The bottom line is it’s going to be historic, for sure, on a number of different fronts ” he being the first nominated black afro-American candidate ” and that it’s in a mega-size arena, meaning Mile High Stadium, is pretty awesome.”

More than 75,000 people are scheduled to attend Obama’s acceptance speech, which will be held Aug. 28 at Invesco Field at the Mile High Stadium in Denver. More than half the tickets will go to Colorado residents.


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