By Betsy Rothstein - 08/26/08 07:40 PM EDT
What would a Cynthia McKinney White House look like?
For starters, she’d likely get rid of the stuffy suits, ties and dresses typically worn by staffers. On Monday night, McKinney, who served six terms in Congress and is the Green Party presidential candidate, appeared at the hippie-ish, organic Mercury Café in a long black T-shirt, black sweatpants, black and white scarf and black and white Chuck Taylor sneakers to deliver a stump speech. Her hair was swept back in braids. Pinned to her T-shirt was a bright red cloth triangle with a “P” on it.
McKinney spoke of being divorced and raising a young black male and how difficult it was to find a black leader for him to admire. “It was Colin Powell,” she told the crowd, “and Colin Powell was not acceptable. It was Clarence Thomas, and Clarence Thomas was not acceptable.”
McKinney was not accompanied by a single campaign aide, but instead, a bouncer-type muscular young man who called himself “an escort” and a local activist.
“Sometimes she gets really mobbed,” said Jack Ringe, the “escort,” who lives in Boulder, Colo. “It’s really just precautionary. She is a presidential candidate.”
On stage she announced her vice presidential pick: Hip-hop activist and community organizer Rosa Clemente, whom she called “the best-looking vice president we’ve ever seen.”
The café, which serves as the stomping grounds of the anti-war protest group Code Pink, was filled with a serious grunge factor that included long-haired, long-bearded men, many in Ralph Nader T-shirts, and a horde of Code Pink members — one female protester wore a wild-pink boa; one male was in a pink tank top. A star audience member was Cindy Sheehan, who is running for Congress against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Sheehan noted McKinney is her national campaign chairwoman.
“Yeah, I do,” Sheehan said when asked if she’s got a good chance of beating Pelosi. “What do you expect a candidate to say — ‘I’m doing this to lose’? There’s a lot of excitement and energy and people are really disgusted by her leadership. I’m not going to say it’s a hundred percent win, but I think it’s winnable.”
If McKinney is elected president, she could consider Sheehan for a role in her administration.
“Y’all ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” said McKinney when she took the stage with her arm wrapped around Sheehan. “Cindy Sheehan, she’s my girl!”
Sheehan replied in kind: “Cynthia McKinney, she’s my girl!”
Though it was deemed an official campaign stop, the scene felt more like open-mic poetry night than a serious political gathering.
It was a raucous affair. Well into the evening, as the skies darkened, McKinney’s booming voice could be heard clear down the street, blasting out the café windows and into the mountain air.
Actress Daryl Hannah arrives to Bill Maher at time of Kennedy speech
Though once seriously romantically involved with John F. Kennedy Jr., actress Daryl Hannah, decked out in a slinky black dress with her long blond hair in a cascade of curls, showed up to the set of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” Monday night in downtown Denver at about the time Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) was scheduled to speak.
Hannah uttered few words as she sped across the red carpet and into the building. “It was pretty cool,” she said of an environmental event she had attended.
In the meantime, the peanut gallery of scribes behind the velvet rope had observations: “How can you be that beautiful?” a reporter remarked.
Cindy Adams, of the New York Post, added her two cents: “She’s sorta shy. She’s very nice, but she’s skittish.”
And fast. Not that long after Hannah entered the building, she left, walking quickly away from the cameras and down the street barefoot with her black heels slung over her shoulder.
Deadheads for Obama
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is known to be a dedicated fan of the Grateful Dead, so it was no surprise that he introduced a member of the band, Mickey Hart, at a fundraising breakfast at the historic Oxford Hotel on Tuesday.
Leahy acknowledged Hart’s presence as he held up a “Deadheads for Obama” campaign button. Hart, who later told ITK that he is “the new guy” in the group — “I joined in 1967” — said the Dead wouldn’t be performing at the Democratic convention, but will give a benefit concert for Barack Obama in Pennsylvania next month
Leahy, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, had some fun with fellow Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island by recalling that when Whitehouse joined the committee, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) had kidded Whitehouse about his aristocratic New England family background.
“He said, ‘Sheldon, all the members of this committee are either Jewish or Catholic. You’re the first WASP we’ve had.’ Sheldon thought for a minute and said, ‘This is the first time in my life that I’ve brought diversity into any group.’ ”
Blitzer jokes about oft-repeated network slogan
CNN anchor John Roberts hasn’t slept in 24 hours. That’s the hazard of reporting from a political convention taking place in Mountain time when the network runs on Eastern time. Roberts was working until the convention ended on Monday and had to be on the air at 4 a.m. Denver time Tuesday morning to anchor “American Morning.”
Over coffee and eggs at the CNN Grill, he noted he had time to go “back to the hotel to take a shower.”
At the network’s breakfast Tuesday morning, CNN anchors and reporters were enthusiastic, if a bit sleep-deprived, about being at the Democratic National Convention.
Each evening, “Situation Room” anchor Wolf Blitzer hits the airwaves the moment the gavel bangs and doesn’t leave until the last speech is finished.
How he does it: “You may have heard, but I have the best political team on television to help me out,” Blitzer said. He added he knows the network uses that slogan repeatedly but noted he wouldn’t say it “if I didn’t believe it.”
CNN has set up its Denver headquarters inside the security perimeter of the Pepsi Center. The network took over a local diner and remodeled it for the week. The place is filled with pictures of CNN reporters and anchors, along with several flat-screen TVs on the walls — all tuned to CNN.
Also making the trip out to Denver was the CNN “Magic Wall.” The oversized flat-screen monitor has garnered much attention during the election cycle, as reporter John King uses it to show voting patterns.