August 25th, 2008
04:46 PM ET

The DNC: A Hairy Place to Be

Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, opens the Democratic National Convention in Denver today.

Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, opens the Democratic National Convention in Denver today.

Jack Gray
AC360° Associate Producer

To borrow from an old line: There is nothing like a calm afternoon in Denver. And this is nothing like a calm afternoon in Denver. Like moths to a flame, delegates, politicians, journalists and demonstrators have descended on the Colorado capital in full force. Inside the fortified security perimeter, on the second floor of the CNN Grill, which I’m sure you’ve seen by now, Anderson and our team are preparing for this evening’s coverage. We’re focused on two key events: ailing Senator Edward Kennedy’s tentative, highly anticipated, appearance—a guaranteed DNC showstopper if there ever was one—and Michelle Obama’s speech. And in between research, discussion and eating granola bars we ponder whether angry Hillary Clinton supporters will attempt to bring the convention to its knees through procedural chaos later in the week.


August 25th, 2008
03:46 PM ET

Beat 360° 08/25/08

Ready for today's Beat 360°?

Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too.

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite!
Here is 'Beat 360°’ pic of the day:

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama and his vice presidential running mate Sen. Joe Biden, at a campaign rally Saturday, in Springfield, Illinois.

Beat 360°

Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions!

Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

Beat 360° Challenge

But wait!… There’s more!

When you win ‘Beat 360°’ not only do you get on-air prime-time name recognition (complete with bragging rights over all your friends, family, and jealous competitors), but you get a “I Won the Beat 360° Challenge” T-shirt!

Read more here….

Good luck to all!

Update: Today's Beat 360 Winner is Dana from Alabama who wrote:

I’m ready for my first fist bump!

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
August 25th, 2008
03:30 PM ET

Erica's News Note: The Other Stuff

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

We’re all focused on the conventions for the next couple of weeks, but that doesn’t mean we’re blind to the other news happening in the world. Today’s offering is lighter fare to ease you into the last official week of summer. Enjoy!

A newborn boy – just hours old – is abandoned in near-freezing temperatures. The infant would have died if it weren’t for a quick-thinking mother who happened to be nearby. She somehow scooped the baby up and added him to her brood of six… six puppies, that is.


A beauty pageant for nuns. No, that’s not a typo. It’s time for the Sisters to strut their stuff, and prove there’s more to these gals than a habit. Turns out, the world has some misconceptions about nuns, and one Italian priest is taking it upon himself to change them. Before you get ahead of yourself, the answer to the swimsuit question is “no.”

"We are not going to parade nuns in bathing suits," said the priest behind the pageant. "But being ugly is not a requirement for becoming a nun. External beauty is gift from God, and we mustn't hide it."


It’s no Miss Sister 2008, but American Idol has plenty of pageantry… and now a new cast member. Admit it; it’s your guilty pleasure, too!

A fourth judge is being added to the mix this year. After seven seasons, the producers were ready to mix it up.  Seems like this could be judge overload…though maybe a less predictable assessment of each performance is just what we need. I wonder if she’ll be as honest as Simon?

Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
August 25th, 2008
02:57 PM ET

Young delegate likes VP with experience

Editor's note: Jason Rae is a Democratic superdelegate from Wisconsin and has pledged his support to Sen. Barack Obama. He agreed to blog for 360° about his experiences.

Jason Rae
Democratic Superdelegate

Everyone was eagerly awaiting the text message from the Obama campaign last week. I was with a bunch of students at the University of Denver when it arrived in my inbox. And let me tell you, I was enthusiastic beyond belief! I think Senator Joe Biden is and will be a fantastic choice.

I first got the opportunity to know Senator Biden while I was a page in Washington DC in fall 2003. He is a leader who has worked for decades in Washington, but has never lived there. I remember him telling the pages how it takes the train each day from Delaware. He's an expert on foreign policy. He is perfectly suited to serve as Barack Obama's partner in the urgent mission to bring about the change America needs put our country back on track.

Everyone I talked to about Senator Biden, young and old, male and female, whatever demographic you want, was absolutely thrilled to have his name on the ballot. The firmly believe that the two make a group team and am excited to see them move forward.

Filed under: Jason Rae • Raw Politics • T1
August 25th, 2008
01:51 PM ET

Greening of the convention

Environmental activist and producer Laurie David before Green Sunday at the Red Rocks Democratic National Convention welcome concert.

Environmental activist and producer Laurie David before Green Sunday at the Red Rocks Democratic National Convention welcome concert.

Laurie David
Global Warming Activist/Producer/Author

As soon as Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper learned that his city had been chosen for the 2008 Democratic Convention, he became giddy with the possibility of hosting the first green political convention ever. You see the results of his efforts the moment you arrive at the Denver airport and are greeted by smiling DNC volunteers standing by brand new Chevy HYBRID Tahoe’s (with the added bonus of that great new car smell). As you leave the airport, glance to your left and you will see acres of newly installed solar panels to offset the electrical use at the airport.

One of my favorite green touches that Denver came up with is the thousand bicycles sitting curbside around the city available for all to use, free of charge, for carbon neutral transportation. All bikes are equipped with an odometer to measure the green miles logged. Virtually every aspect of this convention was rethought from what kind of paper products the food is served on to briefing the hundreds of restaurants in the community on how to reduce waste. And how about the fact that 1,300 tons of plastic were saved from a landfill by switching to biodegradable wood key cards for the local hotels. Now that’s sweating the details!

It is not an exaggeration to say that a huge shift in consciousness went into the greening of this event. And long after the convention is over, the city of Denver and it’s beloved Mayor will have set a new standard by which all other large-scale events should be measured.

To learn more about what Denver accomplished go to the 2008 DNC website.

August 25th, 2008
01:21 PM ET

Laying out the issues: housing and mortgages

Editor's Note: Below is a transcript of an interview between CNN's Soledad O'Brien and Representative, Barney Frank, (D) Massachusetts on the Obama-Biden ticket and their role in the nation's economy and the housing and mortgage crisis.

O'BRIEN: Joining us to talk more about the Democrats' plan to tackle the worsening economy, one of the most influential members of Congress, Congressman Barney Frank.

Congressman Frank's been at the forefront of efforts to deal with the nation's housing and mortgage crisis.

Thanks for being with us. We certainly appreciate it, congressman.

Let's start with Joe Biden. As you just heard Christine talking sort of about how he's voted, do you think that he is a good choice on the economic front? Everybody knows him on the foreign policy front. But what about the economic front?

Filed under: Raw Politics
August 25th, 2008
12:53 PM ET

Showtime for the Democrats...

Claire Brinberg
CNN Election Center Senior Producer

On the flight to Denver, I found myself sitting next to Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey…not so much a household name, but still a very pleasant and chatty neighbor. And here's what I learned:

  1. Frank Lautenberg was the force behind the law banning smoking on airplanes (Go Frank!). 
  2. Frank Lautenberg tops his oatmeal with a generous pinch of salt...says it "puts hair on your chest."

If conventions are the Oscars of politics, Frank Lautenberg is kinda like Jerry Stiller: a familiar face, but no marquee draw.

Ted Kennedy, on the other hand, is Jack Nicholson: Always there year after year…weathered with the passing of time, but now and forever a Major Star. The crowd expects him, but the moment he swaggers on stage, it’s still serious thrill time. Delegates go all giddy…even the most jaded among them, awestruck.

Well this year, it didn’t look like Teddy was gonna show. Battling brain cancer, his doctors worried the Senator’s immune system would be compromised by the grueling trip to Denver. And Democrats were faced with the prospect of a Ted-less convention for the first time in decades.

But for the Senator “the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

Ted Kennedy is in Denver today. His spokesman says he “wouldn’t miss it for anything in the world.”


August 25th, 2008
12:35 PM ET

At the DNC, is protesting unpatriotic?

Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D.
AC360° Contributor
The Ethics Guy,

The fear that as many as 30,000 protestors will disrupt the 2008 Democratic National Convention this week has led to preparations for an unprecedented turnout by federal and local authorities, according to the New York Times. The city of Denver has spent over $2 million on protection equipment for police officers, and millions more from the federal government will be tagged for Secret Service, FBI agents, and others charged with maintaining law and order. It’s quite possible that protests planned for the Republican National Convention, to be held in Minneapolis-St. Paul from September 1-4, will be even larger and more intense.

With such a hefty price tag for keeping the peace and the logistical nightmare of doing so, wouldn’t it be better if the protesters just kept their mouths shut? Isn’t it unpatriotic to voice dissent about political matters? What good does protest do, anyway?

The correct answers are: no, no, and a lot.

Here’s why.

August 25th, 2008
12:19 PM ET

At Dem's party, who's the biggest celebrity?

Musician Sheryl Crow, center, performs at the Green Sunday At Red Rocks Democratic National Convention welcoming concert in Morrison, Colorado.

Musician Sheryl Crow, center, performs at the Green Sunday At Red Rocks Democratic National Convention welcoming concert in Morrison, Colorado.

Kay Jones
AC360° Editorial Producer

Last week I blogged about one of the most interesting things about the conventions, the mingling of celebrities and politicians. Last night, I witnessed that first hand, and it was hard to determine who was the bigger draw, the politicians or musicians.

I went to the Green Sunday at Red Rocks concert, hosted by Laurie David, who is best known as a producer on former V.P. Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Laurie got a group of her friends together to put on an amazing concert and raise consciousness about the environment.

Red Rocks was packed. The night featured performances by Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews, and the country pop duo Sugarland. But the crowd was just as into the speeches by Rep. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Laurie David and Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter.

Couple highlights:

  • Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, believed to be on Barack Obama's short list for VP, instead dancing along to Sheryl Crow, and toasting her as she sang “Strong Enough.”
  • Green For All Founder Van Jones doing his best to keep up with Laurie David while dancing to Sugarland’s set.
  • Sugarland’s Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles visibly in awe not only of the crowd, but the political powers in the audience.
  • Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar in his cowboy hat, keeping beat during Sugarland’s performance.
  • Finally, a mellow Dave Matthews taking the stage, and I think that was Gov. Ritter dancing during the set.

More from the CNN Grill later today!

August 25th, 2008
11:59 AM ET

Reaction to Obama's VP choice

Editor's Note: CNN.com contributors explored what Sen. Jospeh Biden's selection as the Democratic vice presidential nominee means for the presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain. We share with you two viewpoints. Go to 'Reaction to Obama's VP choice'  to read their full commentary.

Leslie Sanchez | Bio
CNN Political Contributor
Republican Strategist

Folks who were hoping Barack Obama's choice of a running mate would spice up the presidential contest are probably disappointed. Instead of change, they got the archetypal Washington insider: Delaware Sen. Joe Bien.

Biden, who entered the Senate when he was 30-years-old, is a lock-step liberal and, despite the early rhetoric, a skilled partisan infighter. His 36-year legislative record is obviously meatier than Obama's, but still thin...

Roland S. Martin | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN Political Analyst

When the Democratic presidential candidates squared off in all those debates last year, I always felt that Sen. Joe Biden was the strongest.

He was consistently clear, though, decisive and unwilling to say what we wanted to hear, but willing to say what we needed to hear. A lot of strategists are talking about Biden's foreign policy experience, his ability to connect with white working-class voters, and his 36 years in the U.S. Senate. But for me, it's about style, in addition to substance...

Filed under: Barack Obama • Leslie Sanchez • Raw Politics • Roland S. Martin
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