Much attention is paid at the convention to access — who has what credential to get into where, who has what invitation or hook-up to get into which party. Some of the most coveted documents around are complicated spreadsheets denoting hour-by-hour where the party is and who is taking RSVPs. There are only a couple of people at the convention who don’t require credentials to get into either the Pepsi Center or parties — Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and their wives. Pretty much everyone else has increasingly thick lanyards hanging from the neck.
One of the hottest credentials in Denver is turning out to be the All-Access pass to the CNN Grill, just inside the security perimeter next to the Pepsi Center.
The cable channel has taken over Brooklyn’s restaurant and spend a huge chunk of money — probably well into six figures—converting it into a political sports bar, complete with top shelf drinks, an extensive menu (including milkshakes, burgers, mac and cheese, giant salads, and even “make your own cupcakes”), electronics charging stations, and a score of large flatscreen TVs — there’s even a special CNN beer. The best part? It’s all free. As the convention proceeded just yards away, scores of politicos and journalists wandered through, drinking, eating, gossiping, and laughing. Dan Rather enjoyed a quiet table in one corner while the Daily Show correspondents chatted away and Howard Wolfson held court next to the bar.
Those without the credential aren’t entirely out of luck: outside by the fence CNN was handing out patriotic-themed ice cream sundaes.
Garrett Graff is in Denver all this week, reporting from the Democratic National Convention. Head here for his coverage of parties, people, politics and more.