US & World

VP Nominee Joe Biden Addresses Democratic Convention; Obama Makes Surprise Appearance

The Democrat's vice presidential nominee Joe Biden spoke Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. KPCC's Special Correspondent Kitty Felde is in Denver and took in the speeches last night with a group of people who didn't have credentials. Kitty talked about that with Morning Edition host Steve Julian.

Kitty Felde: Well you know, Steve, there are so many people here in Denver who felt like they had to be here. And they didn't come with credentials, they're trying to get into anything they can, but they also stick around together in this big public area at a couple of the hotels, and watch on television, and they are so enthusiastic. And it's just kind of this amazing camaraderie that happens among all of these folks.

Steve Julian: How did they react to the speech by Joe Biden?

Felde: He was a big hit. Actually, he was a bigger hit than Bill Clinton–

Julian: Really?

Felde: – and I thought Bill Clinton gave a pretty good speech. Yeah, I asked several people what they thought, and it was a, they thought he really talked about all the things that matter. And I think would people are hungry for here in Denver was a little bit more attack dog, a little bit more meat and a little less potatoes on the plate.

Julian: Of course, we have that surprise appearance last night by Barack Obama, too.

Felde: Well and it was funny. I was interviewing a lawyer from Sausalito, a gentleman named Charles Bonner, about why he came to... to Philadelphia, where are we, to Denver, to talk about what it was that he–

Julian: It's Thursday, it must be Denver.

Felde: (laughs) That's how it's beginning to feel! So I asked him, you know, what brought him here, and in the middle of it, everything happened. It's a great piece of tape. Let's hear this.

Charles Bonner: This is a historical imperative. There comes a time in history, and we've seen it again and again, and we've seen it from the time of Moses, from the time of Jesus, from the time of, of Martin Luther King– (interrupted by cheering)
Felde: Wait a minute!
Bonner: Yes, we've seen it–
Felde: Wait a minute, I think that's Barack Obama on stage.

Felde: That kind of gives you a little bit of the flavor of what it's like to be in that room. I mean, I think it was actually much more exciting to be around people who are just, you know, not political experts, just people who come for the passion, and that's what that room was full of.

Julian: The convention moves down to Invesco Field tonight, where the Broncos play, and that's where Barack Obama will give his acceptance speech tonight. The Mile High Stadium, Kitty, is not big enough though, is it?

Felde: Oh my gosh. There's 76,000 people gonna be in there, and I think there must be 276,000 people in Denver trying to snag a ticket. And people, like I said, they're working the rooms, they're calling their representatives, they're calling anybody they know to find out whether or not they can get a credential. This is Gwen Collins Austin from Los Angeles.

Gwen Collins Austin: Tomorrow's my birthday! I need a pass to get into the, to the, to the stadium! I'm like, very upset right now, because I don't have a pass. And like Barack just said, nobody should be turned away.

Felde: You know, I don't know how many lucky people are going to be out there to get those tickets, but I suspect there's gonna be a loooot of folks standing around the perimeters of the Mile High area tonight.

Julian: You know, we've been talking all week about what has been going on inside the center there, but what about outside, Kitty? All the protests?

Felde: Well you know, most of the protests have been extremely small. Monday night, there were a number of arrests, and then yesterday was the largest group that we have seen so far. I would say there was more than a thousand people. Now, I have to describe this. Most of them were at a Rage Against the Machine concert, a free concert in the park in the afternoon.

Julian: We should note that that's a band, by the way.

Felde: (laughs) Well maybe they are actually raging against the machine, too. But they joined the Iraq Veterans Against the War march. So, the group swelled, and then a group of bicyclists came by with slogans on their shirts which said the things like "More bikes, less oil," and they all marched down the Pepsi Center, where they met all these riot police.

And Denver got more than $50 million for security, and a lot of that's gone to overtime, because you've seen all the personnel on the streets. But you know, I spoke with some of the protesters, and most, it was an anti-war protest yesterday, and I said, "Well, you know, they just nominated a guy who has promised to take the troops home from Iraq," and they said "Yeah, but it's not fast enough! And we want them out of Afghanistan as well!"

Julian: Hmm. Kitty, have fun tonight.

Felde: (laughs) I don't know if that's the word, but I'll be there, Steve. Thank you.

Julian: All right, thanks very much. Kitty Felde, reporting from Denver, at the Democratic National Convention.