The MPR News team has arrived in Denver. That's boss Mike Mulcahy, left, rounding up reporters Mark Zdechlik and Tom Scheck. Within a few days, they'll experience the down side of traveling with a blogger.
The airport is a $90 cab ride from civilization, for the record. "That's not a Denver accent," I said to the driver. He is originally from Istanbul. He moved here four years ago. "How do you like it here?" I asked. "It's too small," he said. "Istanbul is more like a New York City." I didn't get a chance to talk to him at length -- although on a $90 ride you'd think I would have -- so I didn't find out what led to him leaving his native country and then -- from all the cities to choose from -- choosing Denver. It is amazing, however, the lengths and sacrifices that people go to to come here, however. While many of us cynically look at the events in Denver this week -- and St. Paul next week -- it's important to remember there's a reason they do.
There was a surprising lack of delegates on the afternoon flight from Minneapolis. I did get a chance to talk at baggage claim with Lynn Wilson, the chair of the Goodhue County DFL in Rochester. Wilson is playing the good team member at this convention. She's pledged to Hillary Clinton, and is working hard to bring -- here comes the word -- unity to the state's delegation. She's meeting with Sen. Clinton on Wednesday.
Those of us from St. Paul and Minneapolis, of course, are paying close attention to how Denver handles things during this convention. On the flight out I talked with an official of Johnson and Wales University in Denver, who reports that classes have been delayed for a week this year because the dorms have been turned over to 900 National Guard soldiers who are, I'm told, keeping a low profile and are on a "just in case" mission here. I'll have to check with the Guard back home to see if Camp Ripley -- or even some closer location to St. Paul -- has a similar mission.
James Lileks from the Star Tribune has been dispatched. We met at the cab stand and know each other only via Twitter. I'm no longer posting on my old Twitter account, but have switched so that I can better define that my material on Twitter is not an extension of my MPR duties, it's just an extension of me. Lileks is blogging from here this week and shooting some video.
This will be the most blogged convention ever -- until next week, anyway. I blogged -- although we didn't call it that -- as far back as 1996 (I also did stories like this) in San Diego (Republicans) and Chicago (Democrats), and in 2004 in Boston (Dems) and New York. Back then, these sorts of scene-setters with occasional insightful glimpes were easy to get and stood out, I think, amid the coverage because nobody was here specifically to blog. This year there's a greater sense of competition online than ever before. I reckon I'll approach the task the same way as '96 and '04 -- ignoring what everyone else is looking at.