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Dem. Convention: From the Press Center 

Ed. note: Seven Days writer Kevin J. Kelley will be blogging this week from the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

And now for some convention color from last night:

I'm blogging this evening from a huge press filing center in an obscure corner of the Pepsi Center. There are maybe 100 reporters hunched over laptops and chattering into cellphones as I write. The place actually looks to be a sometimes-basketball court — there are hoops with fiberglass backboards at both ends of this space.

I got onto the convention floor earlier this eve for the first time. It isn't easy — unless you're a mainstream media Big Foot — to obtain one of the green floor passes whose distribution point is treated by the Democratic National Committee as top-secret info. It's chaotic on the floor in a merry sort of way — lots of noise, colors, constant movement in every direction by delegates, pols, press and whoever else has managed to get to the center of the action.

The Recreate 68 protest coalition hasn't produced much in the way of crowds or excitement so far. The demonstrators can't get within a quarter-mile of the Pepsi Center so they march through downtown Denver on a regular basis. A typical demo includes only about 200 participants. Meanwhile, the Denver cops ride around in full riot regalia on the running boards of SUVs or they tromp through the streets atop horses that are also wearing shield-type goggles. It's a totally disproportionate show of force and clearly an attempt to intimidate dissidents from exercising their all-American right to free speech.

A bunch of 20-something McCainiacs showed up this afternoon at a park where rock bands were serenading an assortment of Obama supporters and others who are well to the left of the Dem prez candidate. I expected a confrontation — at least a shouting match — but nothing developed in the 20 mins. I was there. Denver is an infectiously mellow city, even in its moment at the center of the political universe.

The photo shows an inflatable Liberty Bell displayed in a Denver park. It calls for Ralph Nader to be included in the presidential debates with Barack Obama and John McCain.

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