The Kennedys, pushy media and Walden's 'no' vote

Editor's note: Democratic National Convention delegate Paulie Brading, of Medford, offers her impressions of the convention, which continues through Thursday in Denver. Republican National Convention delegate Donna Cain, of Rogue River, will write from that convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul on Sept. 1-4.

I leaned over a second-floor balcony in the convention center overlooking the VIP entrance Monday night. Ethel Kennedy entered surrounded by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Kennedy men were straightening one another's ties, and cowlicks were patted down on some of the younger boys while Ethel Kennedy was signaled out by the security guard. I watched Mrs. Kennedy extend her arms, smiling graciously as the guard waved his security wand around her petite body.

The tribute to Senator Kennedy was about to begin and yes, it was emotional. It was a historical rewind of the part the Kennedy clan continues to play bringing civil rights and equal rights to all Americans. Tears flowed as this is very likely the last Democratic National Convention that Edward Kennedy will ever attend.

Imagine having a golden ticket to all the floors of the convention center to roam freely. Delegate convention credentials issued are delivered to the hotels housing delegates at 4:30 each morning by Colorado State Police officers. State delegates pick up their credentials between 7 and 7:30 each morning at their hotels.

Sky boxes are on the third floor of the convention center overlooking the podium. Private parties sponsored by individuals, organizations and companies serve the really fancy-dancy food to their invitees. The second floor is chaotic with national and international press carrying tripods and cameras, jousting between delegates and lines for the elevators and the food court stands. The Oregon delegation enters the convention floor from there. Access to buy a $6 hot dog or a $4 bottle of water is right by the entrance and best of all, bathrooms.

It isn't unusual to see Dan Rather or Ted Koppel stroll by while many of us are checking the large screen TVs reporting convention news. The main story some media are flogging about the division of Obama and Clinton delegates just isn't happening within the Oregon delegation.

Michelle Obama and her daughters seemed quite delighted to see Barack Obama on a huge screen last night. I enjoyed the girls' spontaneous comments! Children really do say the dandiest things.

Tired from long walks to and from venues, 2nd Congressional District delegates, especially the ones who stayed up really late last night, continue to talk about Congressman Greg Walden's "no" vote on June 5 to discontinue county payments for 33 of Oregon's 36 counties. Walden, the only Oregon member of Congress to vote "no" on the county payments, may not realize his vote has made it harder for those who carry the heaviest load. Our neighbors in Josephine County will suffer even more, as will Jackson County.

Wyden did cheer us up with more details about his ambitious plans to campaign for Senate candidate Jeff Merkley. I'm off to a nationwide planning session for getting out the vote this afternoon.

More later.

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