Convention Countdown: Democrats Prepare for Denver

Both parties' conventions have been criticized in recent decades as nothing more than highly choreographed television sideshows, with the outcome already known.

The first Democratic National Convention, held in Baltimore in 1832, nominated Andrew Jackson as the party's presidential candidate. Over the next 100 years, conventions -- and their smoke-filled back rooms -- were replete with drama.

But over the years, in no small part due to the introduction of television coverage, political conventions have developed into large-scale pep rallies for the party's nominee, more than forums for a nomination fight.

Fortunately for all those spoiling for drama, this year's bitter primary battle has left some room for political intrigue.

Sen. Hillary Clinton's name will be put in nomination as a symbolic gesture to mollify the 18 million Democrats who voted for her.

It's the first time a losing Democratic presidential candidate has had his or her name formally placed into nomination at the Democratic National Convention since 1992, according to the Democratic National Committee.

After both Clinton's and Obama's names are placed into nomination, there will be a roll call vote. But, Clinton, D-N.Y., has made clear she is voting for Obama and wants her delegates to support him, too.

Clinton, who won 52 percent of women voters over the five-month Democratic primary contest, will speak on Tuesday night on the 88th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote in 1920.

Former President Bill Clinton will speak on Wednesday night -- the same night that Obama's yet-to-be-announced vice presidential candidate will deliver his or her acceptance speech.

Democratic Party Unity?

The former president gained widespread media attention recently for defending his behavior during the primaries and offering a less than enthusiastic endorsement of Obama's readiness to be president: "You could argue that no one is ever ready to be president," Bill Clinton told ABC News' Kate Snow in an Aug. 4 interview.

Democrats argue that both Clintons need to demonstrate at the convention that they are solidly behind Obama.

"What's going to matter is what Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton say at the convention," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic strategist. "People are going to listen to what they say and look at their body language and then the convention will be all about Barack Obama."

The tensions during the five-month long primary battle will also be remembered during the debate over the party platform's language.

The platform document gives a nod to Clinton supporters in an extensive section on women's rights that says Clinton's candidacy created "18 million cracks in the highest glass ceiling."

Star-Studded Convention: Hollywood Parties, Celebrities Descend on Denver

Parties and celebrities will also be in heavy supply in Denver.

Oprah Winfrey hasn't confirmed her attendance at the convention but she has rented a house in Denver at a cost of $50,000 for seven days over the Aug. 25-28 convention dates.

Bono's One Campaign against HIV-AIDS in developing nations will also be in Denver in full force, parking a campaign bus outside the convention hall.

Music star Kanye West is expected to appear at an invitation-only One Campaign and Recording Industry of America Association on the Wednesday night of the convention.

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