From 1908 to 2008: Denver gets its second convention in 100 years

(Editor’s Note: Julie Asher, CNS national editor, is perhaps the only journalist in Denver NOT covering this week’s convention. She’s a Denver native whose vacation at home this year coincides with convention week.)

DENVER — No one could argue that technology is not almost as much front and center at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver as the delegates, the Democratic Party leaders — local, state and national — and, of course, the the Democrats’ presumptive nominee, Sen. Barack Obama.

The Denver Post reported that for more than a year, tech workers have been preparing the Pepsi Center convention site. There are hundreds of cameras and lights on the convention floor and there are high-speed Internet connections, high-definition video streams, and phone and data lines galore. Workers installed whatever was needed beyond the technology already in place for the two teams that call the Pepsi Center home — the Denver Nuggets basketball team and the Colorado Avalanche hockey team.

But 100 years ago, the site for the Dems’ national convention was cutting edge in its own way — the Denver Municipal Auditorium had just been built. And the party’s nominee that year — William Jennings Bryan — used the technology of the day to keep up with the convention happenings through the telegraph and telephone; he delivered his acceptance speech with a telegraphed message from his home in Lincoln, Neb.

Today the convention officially gets under way, but various demonstrations have not yet heated up, though various protest groups are already forming in downtown Denver — ranging from Code Pink to Re-Create ’68 to the Raelian Movement. Wonder what groups the Dems heard from in 1908?

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