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California Democratic Delegates Gather in Denver

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KPCC's Kitty Felde is in Denver to cover the Democratic National Convention. She attended a media briefing this morning by the convention chairwoman, Nancy Pelosi. Morning Edition host Steve Julian asked Kitty about what Pelosi discussed.

Kitty Felde: Well it was actually what did reporters want to talk about, which is how fractured is this party, which Miss Pelosi kept insisting was old news. "You guys are old news," she kept shouting at reporters! In a humorous way, of course.

People wanted to talk about how much of a kerfuffle the Hillary Clinton supporters will put up. Should there be a roll call? Yes, Nancy Pelosi said. Should they be allowed to vote? You know, these are the kinds of questions that people kept asking. It seems to be the national story of the day.

And I have to tell you Steve, it's kind of interesting, because outside, yesterday, there was actually just a lone couple of women walking up and down, shouting to anybody who would listen to them, "Please, Hillary delegates, do not give away your votes!" So there is that sentiment still here in Denver.

Steve Julian: Well there's also a poll in USA Today that addresses that. Talk about the poll.

Felde: Yeah. It said, USA Today asked Hillary Clinton supporters whether they were ready to support Barack Obama, and the bad news for the Democrats is that fewer than 50 percent said, at this time, they were willing to make that kind of commitment.

And Nancy Pelosi, what she told reporters was, well listen. Who's going to be better for women? Is it gonna be Joe Biden and Barack Obama, or is it going to be John McCain and fill-in-the-blank? And that was the argument she made.

Julian: Kitty, Hillary Clinton was supposed to talk to the California delegates this morning, but she canceled. Any word why yet?

Felde: No, but you know, it's very interesting, Steve. The California and New York delegations are sharing the largest hotel in downtown Denver, so the New York breakfast is like, up on the second floor, and over the bridge, which is why I'm out of breath. I've been running back and forth between the two!

Hillary is speaking last to the New York delegation, and what was supposed to happen was she was supposed to speak earlier to the New York delegation, and what was supposed to happen was she was supposed to speak earlier to the New York delegation, and then come over to our delegation and speak. No word on the California side why we got stiffed, but the delegates are getting Nancy Pelosi for breakfast this morning, and that should get them juiced up for the day.

Julian: What are the New York delegates expecting to hear from Hillary Clinton?

Felde: I don't know, and it was interesting, 'cause Chuck Schumer was speaking when I left the room. It was too noisy. And, Steve, it was interesting to compare the two delegations in the same hotel. I mean, you could tell where people are from just by their attitude, and what they wear, and, you know, even before they open their mouth and you hear that New York accent.

And you go up to the breakfast area and it's like 2,000 degrees, you go into ours, it's about minus zero degrees, as far as temperature goes. Californians are very casual, the New Yorkers are very formal. It's like two separate worlds in one hotel.

Julian: One of your jobs this week will be to track the delegates. What's their mood like as the convention begins?

Felde: Oh, my gosh. See, people are so incredibly excited. And I have to say, the group that I'm particularly interested in talking to, there's a group of African-Americans, I would say women over 60, who are here, and a lot of people who even aren't delegates have brought– delegates have brought their families, their friends, their relatives.

All these people keep saying when I talk to them, they say "I want to be part of this historic moment. I've been waiting my whole life. I witnessed the civil rights movement. This is the culmination, and I could not not be here in Denver." And that kind of mood has carried over with delegates and all their hangers-on, if you can put it that way, alike. So there's kind of an underground excitement that's going on in this hotel particularly.

Julian: We'll hear from you the rest of the week, Kitty. Thanks very much.

Felde: You're welcome, Steve.