By Betsy Rothstein - 08/27/08 07:22 PM EDT
Walking around the inside periphery of the Pepsi Center’s convention hall can be a brutal endeavor.
As throngs of journalists, delegates, lawmakers and friends made their way around the floor, times became tough and voices grew loud.
“YES WE CAN keep walking!” angrily snapped a female member of the floor patrol as the crowd formed into a perfect bottleneck in some places.a
Minutes later, a member of the Hawaii delegation was being rolled through. This time a male patrolman shouted, “YES WE CAN let that wheelchair through!”
Overheard: Rep. Kucinich has an admirer
Outside Denver’s Pepsi Center late Tuesday afternoon was a mass of people heading inside to hear the speeches. One young woman along the path remarked to her boyfriend, “Damn it! I missed DK!”
She was referring to former presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who had delivered a floor speech a half-hour earlier.
Mama Obama: the cheapest perfume in town
The Obamas and the Clintons are not uniting side by side on the presidential ticket, but they are coming together in bottles of perfume.
Formulated especially for the two political power couples, the cost for two small bottles is a cheap $20. The smells vary. Papa Obama is “masculine and strong,” says the packaging, while Mama Obama is “gentle, innovative and inspiration.” Mama Clinton smells like sunscreen. Her package reads, “I’ll be there.” Papa Clinton, meanwhile, smells citrusy and bears the slogan, “Been there.”
The perfume salesmen were three men from Atlanta who said they consulted a chemist from Pakistan on their perfumes.
Asked to discuss the Papa Clinton perfume, vendor Robert Bailey remarked, “Bill? His smelled real good before Monica Lewinksy.”
Lifetime’s late-night party turns out Michelle Obama dancers
There are stars made famous by movies and television. Then there are those who just stand out in a crowd.
There was a little of both at Lifetime Television’s party at the Cowboy Lounge late Tuesday night. The red carpet was filled with familiar faces, such as actress Fran Drescher and musical performers Ashanti and Idina Menzel.
But out on the dance floor was where people-watching became an art form. All eyes were on a group of women dancing with life-size Michelle Obama signs to songs such as C & C Music Factory’s “Everybody Dance Now.” One woman managed to boogie down wildly with a sign and a tambourine. Then the Michelle Obama dancers made way for a short, bushy-haired man, who somehow danced the night away while maneuvering a full plate of food in his hands.
Also in the crowd were two Hill staffers — Jesse Broder Van Dyke, spokesman to Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), who said he had to serve as his 83-year-old boss’s bodyguard for the day as they fought their way through street crowds, and Trevor Kincaid, a campaign aide for Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas).
The party was also sponsored by Rock the Vote and White House Black Market, which boasts the black and white sleeveless dress worn by Michelle Obama on ABC’s “The View.”
Montel to PhRMA: “You are not the devil”; Talk show host caves and eats bacon strips
Talk show host Montel Williams rolled up in a dark SUV with large, imposing bodyguards Wednesday morning to the Denver Aquarium for a PhRMA reception.
Williams, the national spokesman for the group, urged the organization to stop being shy about its accomplishments. “I’m trying really hard to step up to the plate and change your reputation,” he told a crowd that included D.C. pollster Frank Luntz and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. “You are not the devil, but you guys have to do that yourselves.”
Williams praised the group for its efforts in providing drugs to people. He spoke of having multiple sclerosis and having to inject himself with a needle three times daily in addition to taking a host of medicines and vitamins.
At one point Williams grew emotional, saying that his doctor told him he’d be in a wheelchair after two years of living with the disease. “That was eight years ago,” he said, getting choked up. “I’ll be damned if I end up in a wheelchair.”
Williams announced his new show, “Living Well,” which debuts in November. But then, oddly, he admitted to caving into eating two strips of bacon at the morning reception.
“Why? Because it was under my nose,” he said. “Now I will have to drink green drinks and green smoothies all day to try to flush that out.”
Next up to the podium was actor Joey Pantoliano of “The Sopranos” touting his organization, No Kidding, Me Too!, which aims to remove the stigma from mental illness. He spoke of his depression and of the time he thought about committing suicide. Today, he speaks out on his illness to anyone who will listen, and many do.
“I’m proud I am mentally ill,” he told the audience. “I get away with a lot more verbally,” he added, to a roar of laughter. “[People think] ‘Oh, he’s just crazy, he didn’t mean it.’”
Pantoliano didn’t eat bacon at the reception, but did admit to purchasing two cowboy shirts in Denver, one of which he wore. “Montel had two pieces of bacon, I bought two cowboy shirts,” he said.
He mentioned his gallbladder and said it garnered “more respect” than his brain because society is more accepting if something is wrong with your gallbladder.
“I’ll go out on a limb here and say my brain is more important than my gallbladder,” he added.
Lawmakers at the reception included Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.), Rep. John Tanner (Tenn.), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (Texas) and Virgin Islands Del. Donna Christensen.