August 25th, 2008
07:03 PM ET

The convention's first day feel

The Democratic National Convention comes to life on it's opening day in Denver, Co.

The Democratic National Convention comes to life on it's opening day in Denver, Co.

Anderson Cooper

After two days of working in the relatively empty pepsi center, it's a bit of a shock to suddenly see the place swarming with people.
The lines thru security are long, but once you're inside the excitement is palpable, if a bit unfocused. It has something of the feeling of the first day of school, a lot of nervous energy and people unsure where they are supposed to be.

Right now I'm in a room off a back hallway, waiting to go on the air. I checked out our set a minute ago and James Carville was getting mobbed – people asking him for photographs. Donna Brazile walked by in a yellow vest. "You look like a traffic cop," I told her. "They just made me a floor whip, and sent me to give the florida delegation their seats." For anyone who followed the drama over seating michigan and florida delegates, the irony is obvious.

It's still unclear if Senator Kennedy will speak tonite, but he is certainly on the minds and in the hearts of many here. Michelle Obama is speaking of course and her words will be closely followed by friend and foe alike.

Conventions are scripted, rehearsed, and polished, but that does not mean they are unimportant. These may not be the conventions of old, where backroom deals and floor fights were common, but they do serve a purpose. Certainly for democrats, some of whom have yet to accept the primary results, and who are now facing a dead heat, this is a chance to demonstrate unity, introduce their candidate, and draw distinctions between themselves and the republicans. I've got to go to the platform now, the crowds are getting thicker, and the clock is ticking.

Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Behind The Scenes • T1
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Terry from GA

    I have been watching CNN for years and I am completely and utterly disgusted and surprised at the way you and wolf have been acting tonight. You have been acting like little kids who don't have any patience. This is the Democratic Convention and not the Wolf & Anderson convention. You keep mentioning that the Dems are taking too long to get started or get the crowd motivated. The Dems took their time to talk about the themes that will be discussed and they have also paid "respect" to the elder dems. You and wolf, pissed me off so i decided to hear the entire convention without the comments of your coworkers and your pundits. Even though you're trying to increase your ratings, you lost to CSPAN tonight because they played the entire convention without commercials or comments. Are you going to be this RUDE during the GOP convention next week?

    August 25, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  2. Kathy, KY

    Hey Anderson!
    Hope you are enjoying the convention! As a die hard yellow dog democrat from KY, I totally agree with James Carville, we need some good old fashioned Republican bashing tonight. I've been watching since 6 pm and other than Ted Kennedy's awesome speech its been very boring. Hopefully, Michelle will liven things up.

    August 25, 2008 at 10:39 pm |
  3. Doug McCrory

    I am sitting at home watching CNN...

    I have to been honest... "I keep laughing to myself..."

    Mr, Obama has been so vague this year that the DNC does not even know how to articulate Mr. Obama's vision or specific plans.

    Tonight everyone is doing the Obama two step...

    Based on what I have seen so far...America still does not know the specifics of what Mr. Obama and the DNC is going to do for the USA.

    If it continues like this we are going to elect the oldest President in the HIstory of the United States.

    August 25, 2008 at 10:38 pm |
  4. kurt

    I just have a comment for all of the Hillary supporters out there.... of which I am one of them.
    I know you feel hurt. But don't hurt me and my family. I have been waiting and hoping to finally be rid of the Republican "War and Spend" machine,
    so that we can fix the domestic issues we so desperately need to address.
    Like Education, Infrastructure, Energy, just to name a few.

    If your sour grapes are just a game for you to "get back at" the nominee, I would rather your play your petty games with something that does not involve me, my family and everyone else on this planet.

    Keep your childish games to yourself and grow up.

    August 25, 2008 at 10:35 pm |
  5. Holly, San Francisco

    I too was upset that you and your BPTOT spoke over Nancy Pelosi's speech. Not only does she deserve just as much respect as any other speaker this evening, being the Speaker of the House, she deserves your apology. I'm excited to see her as the head of the California delegation, or Clinton Country as we call it. If you want to talk amongst yourselves, please turn off your mic's so that we can hear all the wonderful speaker's tonight.


    August 25, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  6. Diane, Denver, CO

    Welcome to Denver and enjoy Brooklyns (one of my fav places to eat). What a snoozer of a night. It is pretty sad when it takes a 70 plus year old man to wake everybody up and have something meaningful that anyone is interested in hearing. Who is scheduling for petes sake? Sen Kennedy should have come right before Ms. Obama and the two messages should have tied together for hope, change, action and unity. Instead there is at least 30 minutes of yawn between the two speakers preceded by two hours of absolutely nothing. I am a Democrat and have been waiting forever for my party to strut their stuff in my hometown. All I can say is things have to get better in the next three days. (PS Thanks CNN for being honest enough to call it as you see it)

    August 25, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  7. Amy, Chicago

    I'm going to agree with David Gergen, & James Carville, the best part of the convention is the tribute to Ted Kennedy, truely a great man.

    There hasn't been anything of substance said by the party. Obama isn't there.

    Yes, great men tend to marry great women, however she isn't the one who has been nominated.

    I would be suprised if there is any bounce at all.

    August 25, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  8. Carrie in CO

    If you and your analysts weren't more interested in hearing yourselves talk maybe we could hear more of the message. I can listen to the live feed on our Denver channel and there is NO LACK OF MESSAGE. There's lots of talk about the past 8 years of Bush, and the same for McCain – but you all apparently aren't aware of any of that. You're too busy analyzing and cutting down – James are you sure you're committed to the Dem cause??? Start saying something positive – or maybe stop talking and start listening to the local politicians who deserve a chance to speak. They may not be stars – but they do deserve a time to speak and CNN should be streaming that instead of all of you!!

    August 25, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  9. Lorine Holtzclaw

    Please let us view the speakers instead of so many comments from those covering the convention!

    August 25, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  10. Mary

    Missed your neutral viewpoint. I listened to Senator Kennedy's speech in the car. Quite a powerful man. I still think that Senator Clinton wants, maybe deserves, more attention. I am looking forward to listening to her speech also. Have a great week

    August 25, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  11. brit

    Hi Anderson! I'm watching CNN's coverage of the convention and it seems like John King is hogging the camera. We want to see more of you!

    Looking forward to the rest of the convention!

    August 25, 2008 at 10:10 pm |
  12. Lilibeth

    Hi Anderson, I'm listening to Donna Brazile right now, and I agree with her. I'm a Clinton supporter, but I also realize that her stance on the issues is much closer to Obama's than McCain's, which is why I will support Obama 100%. I hope all other Democrats will see things this way and unite, as it is our only hope to win the White House and actually effect a positive change in this country. Thanks, Anderson and the Best Political Team, for a great coverage of the convention!

    See you later,
    Edmonds, Washington

    August 25, 2008 at 10:07 pm |
  13. Lisa L

    Dear Anderson

    I find the words inspirational and I would like to thank you for your coverage of this convention.


    Lisa L
    Sydney, Australia

    August 25, 2008 at 10:07 pm |
  14. Connie in SLC UT

    I am like a kid in a candy store watching the DNC all week long with CNN. I wish I could be there!
    Thanks to Bonnie McConnell for your very encouraging words reguarding Hillary supporters. I wish they all could share your common sense.
    I was very moved by Ted Kennedys speech and his appearance to support Barrack Obama. I hope he lives long enough to see him elected.

    August 25, 2008 at 10:05 pm |
  15. deborah, OH

    Welcome back, Anderson!
    Now, you get to see the REAL sharks!
    Have a good time & keep us informed.

    August 25, 2008 at 10:04 pm |
  16. Jacqueline, NY

    Hi Anderson,

    I wish I were there. Did make this one, but I will be at the inaurguation next year, most def! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy scheds to blog. It's been a while. I– we missed you. I felt like you deserted us. Give us notice next time before you take off, okay?

    Enjoy the convention! Hey, send me a postcard, will ya?

    August 25, 2008 at 10:02 pm |
  17. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Well, pop open a Pepsi and enjoy the effervesce. Sounds like an interesting place to be if you love politics.

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    August 25, 2008 at 9:56 pm |
  18. Tammy, LA

    And just think, next week you get to do this all over again with the Republicans! Enjoy!

    August 25, 2008 at 9:53 pm |
  19. Diane N.

    Sounds difficult and pressed. Still, you sound great and in high spirits for the occasion Anderson, you all the best political team on tv are doing a fantastic job.

    August 25, 2008 at 9:49 pm |
  20. Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz

    Hi Anderson,

    I was shocked a few minutes ago to hear Wolf Blitzer and other commentators speak describe Joe Biden's wife as "drop dead gorgeous." What was with that?


    August 25, 2008 at 9:44 pm |
  21. kay, Huntsville, AL

    This seems to be one of the most interesting political races in my life. It is unique. I do not vote per party. I vote per individual person. I still do not know who I will vote for yet. I guess it depends on who McCain picks as his running mate.

    August 25, 2008 at 9:34 pm |
  22. Annie Kate

    Hi Anderson!

    Sounds like an exciting place to be. Glad you are there and covering all this for us. I'm really looking forward tonight to hopefully hearing Senator Kennedy speak and seeing the tribute they have done for him. Its like seeing the passing of an age.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 25, 2008 at 9:28 pm |
  23. laila

    David Gergen is so strange. He is basically commenting that the Convention has no substance? whatever? how biased is he, you have been skipping over every speaker including Nancy Pelosi, and she had plenty to say. I am so dissapointed in the best. What a liar Cynthia...vote for who you want your threats mean nothing Hilary lost and so will McCain

    August 25, 2008 at 9:13 pm |
  24. EJ (USA)

    I approve of CNN being in the Pepsi center. Pepsi tastes much much better than Coke. What say you, Anderson?

    August 25, 2008 at 9:13 pm |
  25. Jo Ann


    Everything you have described sounds very exciting, but conventions are meant to appeal to people’s emotions, not to their intellect. It is much different than standing alone in a voting booth deciding what will be best for the country.

    I am disappointed in much of your coverage so far and I have to admit that I have changed channels a number of times over the weekend. CNN has done its best to try and convince the viewers that the Hillary supporters are either silly or not serious about their positions, but that is not the truth.

    You are right, “conventions are scripted, rehearsed, and polished,” but I don’t think that they are very important. I doubt anything said during one week will change months of divisiveness and dirty politics.

    At least the media are enjoying themselves.

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    August 25, 2008 at 9:00 pm |
  26. Katie Stauss

    I love that Anderson Cooper wondered what people in Zambia think about the toilet on that awesome lady's hat! I am in Lusaka right now, and was thinking the same thing to myself about others here watching... and he up and mentions Zambia! (Well I felt special...) Anyways, found out I had to be here for work during the convention... and the first thing I did from Washington DC before booking my hotel was to check the hotel to make sure they get CNN. You all rock!

    August 25, 2008 at 8:52 pm |
  27. Kylie M

    Hey Anderson Welcome Back ! We All Missed You! This is so exciting to see you at the convention!

    August 25, 2008 at 8:49 pm |
  28. Dennis

    Is Pepsi now the official soft drink of the democratic party?

    August 25, 2008 at 8:48 pm |
  29. Fay, CA

    The word is out and we are out to sink the media”s golden boy.

    Not only will you be sinking the "golden boy", but you're sinking yourselves as well. McCain doesn't need two terms to inflict more damage to this country by continuing in the same disastrous vein as the Bush Administration. I continue to be amazed and disturbed by the reckless and foolish behavior Democrats who are so willing to jump ship and support McCain, a candidate whose policies are completely opposed to everything Hillary Clinton stood for.

    Anderson, Wolf Blitzer keeps mentioning the music in the Pepsi Center–I think he's just dying to get up and bust a move...

    August 25, 2008 at 8:36 pm |
  30. Lilibeth

    Anderson, I’m so excited about the Democratic Convention! Seems like we’ve been talking about it for months, but it’s finally here!

    I hope that all the drama that got us up to this point will have a happy ending…that all Democrats will look at the big picture, get past our differences and do what’s best for the country, which is to be united and support Sen. Obama in his bid for the White House. Some say this is not doable in a week, but I’m optimistic.

    What a great opportunity you have to be there in person, to see something history-making and groundbreaking. I get goose-bumps just watching it on TV; I can only imagine what it’s like to see it in person! How exciting for you!

    Thanks for blogging about this today. I hope to hear from you again later!

    Take care,
    Edmonds, Washington

    August 25, 2008 at 8:35 pm |
  31. Hannah Storm

    I have been watching CNN programming all weekend and it has been very exciting. It certainly seems different with people actually in the Pepsi Centre. Keep up the great work Anderson and BPTOT!!!!

    August 25, 2008 at 8:33 pm |
  32. Paula, Colorado

    Hi! Welcome back–and to Denver.
    Your coverage has been great–with the convention just beginning. I hope you are enjoying the atmosphere. It's great you have time to write on your blog.
    I'm looking forward tonight to Sen. Kennedy's appearance, as well as the speech from Michelle Obama.

    August 25, 2008 at 8:33 pm |
  33. Katia


    I just turned on the TV and was frustrated to find your media pundits talking over Nancy Pelosi's speech. Fascinating as it is to listen to all of you, the news is the speech, not the talk about the speech. Please: stop talking and let us hear what she has to say! I hope you and yours won't be talking over the speeches as they occur these next few days. It's very frustrating, and you're missing the news.

    August 25, 2008 at 8:33 pm |
  34. Cynthia

    Anderson, good to see you back. I've been watching the coverage on CNN and it looks like they are having a really great time. The Democrats do know how to party and I hope all of this translates into votes for the Democratic Party.


    August 25, 2008 at 8:33 pm |
  35. Kara

    You guys are talking over Pelosi's speech! The other networks are broadcasting her speech any reason CNN isn't?

    August 25, 2008 at 8:28 pm |
  36. Amy, Chicago

    I'm a McCain supporter, however, I will say it's nice to see so many people smiling, laughing, dancing and getting excited about something.

    This country needs that "feel good" to get things moving along, regardless what side they are on!

    August 25, 2008 at 8:18 pm |
  37. laila

    i am so proud of Obama and I am so uplifted by this historic convention. it is a little annoying that the pundits just wont let it be, and let us see a little more of it but that is what c-span is. i love Hilary she is going to put an end to the racist puma and the immature GOP lying on the Clintons.

    August 25, 2008 at 8:14 pm |
  38. cynthia

    I am a very unhappy Clinton supporter. I am not only voting for McCain but I moved and reregisted to vote in VA. I have found many others doing the same thing. Want a story check the RV and trailer parks in swing states. The word is out and we are out to sink the media"s golden boy. Let's face it, McCain will not win the white house twice, let's hope the democrate party gets it's act together by 2012.

    August 25, 2008 at 7:54 pm |
  39. Maureen T

    Welcome back Anderson!! You were missed! How exciting to see you at the convention! I suspect you`ll be easy to spot in the crowd! Have a blast with the Democrats and get up and dance with Donna Brazile! 🙂

    August 25, 2008 at 7:52 pm |
  40. Michelle

    Anderson and Wolf thanks for what you all just said
    your goals of covering the conventions. You guys rock.
    Can we hear from some Obama delegates ?

    August 25, 2008 at 7:47 pm |
  41. Lori, Boston

    HI Anderson,

    Watched you over the weekend. What a exciting and busy week. Looking forward towords tonight's show.

    August 25, 2008 at 7:42 pm |
  42. EJ (USA)

    I wish I could be there! There is something about the start of this convention that is much more exciting than any others I've seen before. I almost feel as though I need to "tape" it (I don't have that DVR thing). To save it forever. I bet election night will feel the same way – even more anxious and more exciting.

    Anyway – I'm glad you get to be there Anderson!

    August 25, 2008 at 7:39 pm |
  43. Jim-Calgary

    Why would Wolf read us part of Michelle's speech before she delivers it-how rude

    August 25, 2008 at 7:37 pm |
  44. Pamina

    Hi Anderson,
    This convention is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in a long time. I'm looking forward to the coverage. I wonder what the impact will be for Obama given the Republican convention is right on the heels of this one. Have fun out there!

    August 25, 2008 at 7:35 pm |
  45. Sarah Atlanta, GA

    Sounds like a busy and hetic place. I hope you enjoy your time at the Convention, Anderson.

    August 25, 2008 at 7:34 pm |
  46. Bonnie McConnell

    Regarding Hillary Clinton supporters (of which I am one), Because you are angry with Mr. Obama, you plan to vote for McCain. Just remember, if you vote for McCain, you are voting AGAINST Hillary Clinton. Don't be like little children who didn't get their way and kick and scream and pout. Don't cut off your nose to spite your face.

    Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have basically the same political views. Think about why you voted for Hillary. If you honestly voted for her because of what she believes in, then a vote for McCain is a slap in the face to Hillary.

    August 25, 2008 at 7:31 pm |
  47. Amy, Chicago

    Looks like a lot of fun! – Glad you are all ok after last nights storm – Looking forward to all of your comments!

    August 25, 2008 at 7:27 pm |
  48. Kathy

    A new kind of sharks – right Anderson? Enjoy your time there!

    August 25, 2008 at 7:26 pm |
  49. Jennifer - Michigan

    Hi there,
    Sounds like a very busy place there at the Pepsi Center. Good luck tonight. This is such a big historic event and you're right in the middle of it all. Have a great night, see you later.

    August 25, 2008 at 7:25 pm |
  50. Cindy

    Great to see you back on TV! Glad to see you weren't lost or kept out by security since you've been MIA for a week! LOL

    I'm looking forward to see what the Dems have to say and if it is just the same ole same ole. But I do hope that Ted can get up and say a few words. Just to show that he is ok healthwise.

    C-Ya tonight!!


    August 25, 2008 at 7:24 pm |
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