DELEGATE FORUM -- DAY 4
August 29, 1996
The delegates responded to these other questions:
A question from John Garter of Kent, CT:
On my TV set, the Democratic convention was not as lively as I expected. What was it like from the floor?
[Editor's note: tell us about one of the more memorable events you experienced while in Chicago]
The delegates respond:
Geraldine Ferraro, New York, NY
The goings on the floor of the convention are sometimes very different from what you see coming from the podium. There's a lot of networking, and people discussing not only what is happening on a presidential level, but local races as well.
New York has potential primary opponents for a 1997 mayoral race making contacts and getting commitments, as well as potential gubernatorial and senate candidates in ‘98. Nonetheless, the podium does produce a feeling inside the hall that never quite makes it on to the tube.
One such occasion was when Hillary Clinton addressed the convention. That four minute ovation she got was real. The signs were staged, the emotion was not. People, Democrats, women in particular, are fed up with the treatment she has gotten over the last couple of years. Republicans think they can hurt the President by beating up on her. Fortunately, the American public has shown them to be wrong. Clinton is ahead by 14 points and the gap continues to grow.
The delegates wanted Hillary to know that we're grateful for her strength and for putting up with the garbage.
Bobbie Coray of Logan, UT
It is completely different on the floor than it is on TV. I watch the coverage after we leave the convention and I don't even recognize the event.
Try to be a delegate someday, it is an incredible experience. It is very lively on the floor, but it is not the debate on the podium, but the networking and politicking that goes on between delegates, state chairs and congressional candidates that is the interesting part of the convention.
The early morning state caucus meetings are attended by cabinet members and other high administration figures. They give insider and first-hand information about the campaign and the issues. This is fascinating, and truly gives a delegate a feeling of being in the middle of all of the politics.
We in our delegation have talked with Secretary of Transportation Pena about the Utah Winter Olympics in 2002, and our transportation issues. Secretary of Labor Reich met with our Caucus as did Energy Secretary O'Leary. We've also met with a DCCC campaign coordinator who did a brief analysis of the polling they are doing - Democrats are doing well - and of course we've been meeting with Utah's Congressman Bill Orton on the Blue Dog Democrats' tax proposal.
I wish this could be made available to you on the PBS News or on CNN - so demand it, and maybe next convention you could be a part of the action!
Veronica Biggins of Atlanta, GA
Great Question!!!!!! It has been very exciting to be on the floor!! The delegates are exciting. Everyone here wants access to the main floor where the press and delegates are massed. Governors, senators, congressional representatives, and delegates from all walks of life, all together, participating fully in the democratic process
Benson Lichtig of State College, PA
Equally not as lively. I was a little disappointed that more attention wasn't paid to a lot of the speakers. I suspect that tonight, with President Clinton, it will reach its maximum liveliness.
Rachel Binah of Mendocino, CA
Pure chaos. What many people may not realize is that the speakers on the podium have special microphones which only pick up the sound of their voices. There is constant motion and noise which this special equipment does not pick up. All over the floor, people are talking, and screaming to each other and to the speakers at the podium, walking around, bumping into each other, tripping over cables, cameras, and showing wild enthusiasm.
For me, the most important aspect of being on the floor is the opportunity to speak with elected officials, not only in my delegation, but from all over the country. Many of us on the floor are networking on issues and strategies. We are using the opportunity of being together to plan what will happen after the convention.