Obama To Accept Democratic Nomination
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Barack Obama will accept his party's presidential nomination tonight before an audience of about 76,000 people packed into Denver's football stadium. The Democrats took the convention finale to a much larger venue in order to accommodate people beyond the delegates and the dignitaries.
And Obama, the first black presidential nominee for a major political party, gives his acceptance speech on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech.
Our colleague Michele Norris is at Denver's Invesco Field. How are you doing, Michele?
MICHELE NORRIS: I'm doing good.
SIEGEL: The event has moved from the Pepsi Center where you've been all week. What's the scene like at Invesco?
NORRIS: Well, in a word, big. It's a big wide open space. And perhaps because the games just ended, it strikes me as having the feeling of almost like an Olympic venue. The delegation is on the floor much as they were at the Pepsi Center. But you've got this widespread of stand all around the stage which will - which are expected to be packed with general admission seating.
The idea was to open this up to the general public so they'd have a chance to experience this beyond the delegates and the dignitaries and all the political high rollers at the big open space under a wide open sky. And I suspect that by the end of the day, there's going to be a lot of sunburn which may give sort of new meaning to the phrase red, white and blue.
SIEGEL: Yeah, sunburn raises an important question. The forecast, I gather, is good for the weather, basically.
NORRIS: Yeah. The weather god smiled on them for this.
SIEGEL: What are you hearing from people there about all this?
NORRIS: Well, a lot of people here are very committed Democrats. And so, they've been following Barack Obama and this hard fought primary and caucus race all along. So it's not like the sort of television viewing or radio listening audience that might be tuning into this race for the first time.
They're interested in what he has to say not just about his race, but about party in general. They say the party seemed to be slightly adrift. But you know, in the last race, you had a race between John Kerry, George Bush, two very privileged men.
What we've seen here night after night is the concerted effort to show that this is a party of sort of working class people, to recast the party. You heard Joe Biden talking about his Scranton roots. You heard Michelle Obama talking about his south side root.
I suspect Barack Obama will be talking about being raised by a single woman depending on food stamps for a time. So, what I keep hearing form the delegates here is that they want the party to really take control of its own image.
SIEGEL: What actually happens, before the speech by Barack Obama, the actual speech, what else happens at this event tonight?
NORRIS: A lot of speakers and a lot of entertainers. It really is the feeling. It's kind of a big open concert to some degree because you'll hear from Will.i.am and other performers.
You're also going to hear from Martin Luther King III. You're going to hear from Al Gore, you're going to hear from John Lewis, King and Lewis of course, speaking in part because it's also a very important anniversary. And then, much later, Barack Obama will take the stage.
And I just have to note, it is quite an interesting stage. Perhaps this is - he's paying homage to soldier fields(ph). But with these Doric columns, it sort of has this - I don't know, it looks it almost resembles Caesar's Palace or something.
SIEGEL: Mm-hmm. You know, as for themes in the Obama speech, you say identification with humble origins, humble roots might be one. What are the themes you think we might hear stressed (unintelligible)?
NORRIS: Well, it's hard to imagine, Robert, that he won't talk about America coming together because of this important anniversary. But - you know, nominees generally have a long list of things to do. Barack Obama has specific things.
In part, he has to get specific about his plan, for instance, to get the economy going, about what he plans to do to bring troops home. He also has to try to connect with people because there are number of people who still feel like they don't really know him. They view him as someone who's somewhat exotic. And so, I think that you'll hear him try to bring the rhetoric down sort of closer to the ground tonight.
SIEGEL: Okay. Thank you, Michele.
NORRIS: Good to talk to you, Robert.
SIEGEL: That's our colleague Michele Norris who is at Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado.
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