Just to give you a sense of what it’s like here:
I showed up at 2:30 (six full hours before Obama is supposed to speak) and discovered a line that had to be at least a mile long. It took me an hour and 50 minutes to make it as far as the magnetometers, but folks were surprisingly cheerful in the blazing sun.
All along the way, people were hawking Obama-themed merchandise: $10 t-shirts; buttons, three for $5; $10 caps; replicas of his high school basketball jersey for $30 and $40; car flags; rally towels; posters, and something called Obama in a Bottle (the vendor told me that for $10, you got a water bottle, mints, a bracelet, a flag and sunglasses). But my very favorite was the man selling lemon popsicles. If he runs for President, I’m voting for him.
It took me an hour and 10 minutes just to get as far as the parking lot, where some of my colleagues in the media were demanding to jump the line and find the media entrance. A police officer yelled, “No special entrances!” At that point, everyone around me burst into cheers.
Just inside the entrance, I encountered a large phone bank of volunteers calling undecided voters in Colorado urging them to watch the speech tonight. One of them, Brett Engle, told me that the campaign was putting the names of everyone who made 12 calls into a lottery. The prize: A seat on the floor for Obama’s speech. Engle, however, says he wouldn’t take it, even if he wins, because he wants to sit with his friends in the nosebleed seats.