Our Week at the DNC


by Tom Durian

From Tampa and the Republican National Convention, John Cuoco and I headed to Charlotte, N.C. for the Democratic National Convention.

From Tampa and the Republican National Convention, John Cuoco and I headed to Charlotte, N.C. for the Democratic National Convention.

With a few stops in between in Jacksonville, FL. and Savannah, Georgia we were rested and ready to hit the ground running in The Queen City.

It was clear once we arrived that this convention was going to be a different animal. For one, the security perimeter wasn't as confusing. It was a straight shot from the convention center to the Time Warner Cable Arena down the street. This was a welcome sight after the zig zag long walk to the convention in Tampa in the heat and humidity.

We hadn't been there 24 hours when the rumors started to fly about Thursday's speech. Local media heard first, then the news started to spread. Tuesday morning the White House, Secret Service, and the DNC would hold a conference call to decide if the threat of severe weather would move it indoors. Turned out it took a bit longer than that, but eventually the decision was made to hold POTUS' speech inside.

The move inside was a welcome one for many of the journalists covering the event. The arena was much better suited than the Bank of America Stadium to work as a makeshift newsroom. I'm sure the networks weren't happy... they had spent tens of thousands of dollars to build broadcast booths and run cables throughout the stadium. There was also the politics of the move... did the DNC move it indoors so that potential empty seats wouldn't be shown on TV? You can make your own decisions on that one.

Behind the Scenes sightings for you. One of the few moments I had some down time, I caught up with a former colleague in the hallway outside the broadcast booths. That hallway turned into a who's who of network news, politics, and celebrity. Here's a few... Eva Longoria, Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams, David Gregory, Bob Schieffer, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Brett Baier, and Wisconsinite Greta Van Susteren.

No matter your politics the conventions are like no other place. Often in TV news you get an inside look at things you might otherwise see JUST on TV. This was for me one of those career defining moments. I've covered elections, interviewed high powered politicians, and been on the scene of some of our nation's biggest stories... but this was different. Other than a few VIPs like the President and the other top tier candidates... everyone else is walking the same halls... drinking the same coffee... and yes using the same bathrooms!

I can only hope that viewers at home got to listen to the speeches from both conventions just like John Cuoco and I did. I hear too many people say I didn't watch the RNC because I'm a democrat, or vice versa. The differences were laid out in front of the viewers... and those who took the time to watch are better informed.

This is just the beginning of the political fight before November. Both campaigns assured us we'd be seeing their candidates in Wisconsin... likely more than once. So buckle up and enjoy the ride!!


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