Zombie: Biden to Boxer and Beyond - Celebrity-Hopping Convention Style
(Zombie’s reports are cross-posted at Pajamas Media.)
The rumors are true. Political conventions are prime territory for star-chasers and celebrity hounds. In the space of just a few hours, I shook hands with the potential next Vice President (Joe Biden), had lunch with my Senator (Barbara Boxer) and a movie star (Danny Glover), then not long after met Dan Rather and San Francisco Attorney General Kamala Harris, and finally caught a glimpse of Hillary Clinton. And I wasn’t even trying. Real fame addicts have innumerable other opportunities in Denver this week to chum around with lawmakers, legends and superstars.
The Democratic National Convention is like a political Hollywood.
I was walking through downtown Denver on Monday when, completely unexpectedly, I ran into Joe Biden at the corner of Lawrence Street and 16th. I saw a crowd of people surrounding someone, and at first, even after getting a glimpse of him, I have to admit I didn’t even know who he was. Partly because he was inside a barbecue shack at that moment, and partly because I’ve been traveling since he was first nominated and haven’t had any time to read the news, so I wasn’t really familiar with what he looked like.
But then he came straight toward me and I realized it was the Vice Presidential nominee. Before I knew it, I was shaking his hand. (Now I’ve shaken hands with the entire Democratic ticket — I also unexpectedly shook Obama’s hand during a fundraiser appearance in San Francisco.)
An odd detail: notice the guy with the glasses hovering in the background.
He not only looked like the real Joe Biden, he looked exactly like the real Joe Biden. In fact, over the following minutes, some people in the gathering crowd couldn’t tell who was who.
As Biden waded through potential voters pressing the flesh, his doppelganger tailed behind (partly obscured by the guy with the green armband in this photo.) It was only later that it dawned on me that he wasn’t just another fan — he must have been Biden’s body double, used as a security measure I suppose.
Joe then hopped into the Bidenmobile — an eco-friendly armored Chevy Suburban (coughcough) and was on his way.
Minutes later I found myself at a banquet for an AIDS fundraiser, where Danny Glover and Congresswoman Barbara Lee ate lunch with us and then gave speeches.
To everyone’s apparent amazement, Barbara Boxer, my Senator, walked into the room right past me and went up to the podium to accept a surprise award. The theme of her speech was: We need a minimum of 60 Democrats in the next Senate.
The two Barbaras are good buddies.
The next day I swung by to check out “The Big Tent,” an alternative media center co-sponsored by Daily Kos. By chance, the speaker at that particular moment was Dan Rather, former CBS news anchor. I didn’t catch the title of his talk, but the portion I heard seemed to be about media ethics. (Ethics? Dan Rather?)
Dan then unleashed his greatest weapon: sarcastic scare quotes!
This was the size of his audience. And he used to have an audience of millions every evening at five o’clock. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Later, I was downstairs in the blogger area, using the wi-fi, when Dan came in for a tour and was corralled into giving an interview in front of a “Daily Kos” backdrop.
From The Big Tent, my next destination was the “Emily’s List Gala,” with the most star-studded speakers’ list all week: Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Nancy Pelosi. But as soon as I showed up, I ran into San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris (captured here in an unflattering moment), currently the center of a major controversy over her “humane” policy of extremely lenient sentencing for serious offenders. Despite that, she is widely considered to be a possible nominee for United States Attorney General should Obama get elected.
Turns out the Emily’s List event was overbooked and I couldn’t actually get a seat. I watched Hillary through the door briefly, but the security detail forbade photographs. Luckily, her speech was being simulcast on huge screens outside the auditorium, where I got a better view of her anyway. This is as close to Hillary I got that day. (Immediately after the Emily’s List event, she headed over to the Pepsi Center and gave her globally televised big speech.)
The rest of the country must be experiencing a severe celebrity shortage this week, since everyone even halfway famous seems to be in Denver.