If only tickets were votes

The last morning breakfast of the Utah delegation was jammed Thursday morning, with many new Utah Democrats in town looking for tickets to Thursday night's historic speech at INVESCO Field at Mile High when Barack Obama accepts his party's presidential nomination.

Utah State Democratic party chairman Wayne Holland said over the past few days he has "begged, borrowed and stolen" to get more tickets to the event. He said for the size of the Utah delegation — just 29 delegates — he believes his staff has rounded up a greater percentage of tickets based on size than any other delegation except the host state of Colorado.

And for those who still couldn't get tickets, there are a number of "watch" parties around Denver where Democrats can gather together and watch Obama on TV.

There may not have been a million people watching, but at the delegate breakfast Holland and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon gave their brief roll call speeches. They didn't get a chance to make those speeches during Wednesday night's roll call of the states. That's because the roll call is alphabetical, and with "U" coming so late in the roll call, New York, with Sen. Hillary Clinton giving the call, had already moved that Obama be picked by acclamation.

While Obama may not be coming to Utah to campaign this year (Utah is too red of a state and will almost for sure vote for GOP candidate John McCain), outdoorsmen and energy-supporters can still support Obama and feel good.

David Hayes, Obama's top energy adviser, addressed the Utah delegation Thursday morning saying the senator has a multi-faceted and reasonable energy plan, which was released on Obama's Web site several weeks ago.

"While McCain and the Republicans just want to drill our way out of our oil crisis, Sen. Obama has a plan that will create 5 million new jobs in renewable energy," said Hayes, a top natural resource administrator in Bill Clinton's presidency.

Obama "is not an ideologue. We have to be smarter about energy supply and conserve at the same time," said Hayes.

Profits on free

Utah Democratic executive director Todd Taylor tells this funny story: When someone comes in to volunteer their help at the state office headquarters, they are sometimes set to the task of making campaign buttons.

When state chairman Wayne Holland recently attended a union meeting in Las Vegas, he was amazed to see a number of the delegates wearing "I'm a Utah Republican for Obama" button — buttons that are free at party headquarters.

Asked where they got them, one man said he drove to the convention and stopped at a bookstore in Murray, where the buttons were for sale. He bought one. Those free buttons apparently have resale value.

No heels

There will be no heels, at least no big ones, on hand when Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination Thursday before an expected 75,000 people at INVESCO Field at Mile High.

Security won't allow them. To explain, Utah delegates were warned that security won't allow people to pass wearing high heels — defined as anything more than an inch and a half in height. Apparently, those are viewed as potential weapons.

"And the measuring tape police will be out," joked delegation chairman Wayne Holland.

Security also won't allow umbrellas, or filled bottles of water (more potential weapons or explosives). Empty bottles are fine, and can be filled inside the arena, Holland said.

Other convention work

While conventions are, of course, to nominate a presidential candidate and tell the world about a party's message, Utah Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bob Springmeyer has been about another type of business here. That business is seeking party and financial support for his campaign.

He has met with some political action committees, for example, of mining groups, explaining his stand and hoping it may attract some financial support for them.

"I've also been going to a lot of events put on by the Democratic Governors Association," he said, adding it has helped with support and connections for his campaign.

No GOP pizza, thank you

Utah delegate Kurt Bestor, a composer and singer, says he is "friends" with a lot of people, but he has to draw the line somewhere.

Thursday, Bestor got a text message while in Denver at the National Democratic Convention where he is a delegate from Jason Chaffetz, who is the GOP nominee this year in the 3rd Congressional District. The message came through Facebook, where Bestor is a "friend" of Chaffetz.

Chaffetz was inviting Bestor to a Friday night Pizza and Politics gathering, hosted by state Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan.

"I found that fairly odd," said Bestor. "Needless to say, I won't be attending."

Buttars is a controversial figure roundly criticized for his statements about homosexuals. During the last Legislature he referred to a school bill as a black, ugly thing, which in turned led to calls for his resignation by the Salt Lake chapter of the NAACP and various other individuals.

Buttars apologized, ran for re-election this year and despite being challenged by several Republicans, won his party's primary at the Salt Lake County GOP convention this spring.

"I wonder if Buttars will be paying for the pizza with a check," joked Bestor, referring to an embarrassing incident by fellow GOP Sen. Curt Bramble, who demanded from a pizza delivery girl that she accept his personal check despite the company policy of not taking personal checks.

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