Convention Countdown: Democrats Prepare for Denver

Delegates, party elite, celebrities and media prepare to converge on Denver.

ByABC News
August 18, 2008, 8:05 AM

Aug. 24, 2008 — -- In just under a week, the Democratic National Convention kicks off in Denver, aiming to deliver a made-for-television political extravaganza culminating in Sen. Barack Obama accepting his party's nomination for president before 80,000 people next Thursday night.

Tens of thousands of people -- party elite including former presidents, governors, senators and congressmen, celebrities like Oprah and Kanye West and Ashley Judd, over 120 bloggers, interest groups, multinational corporations, and media from 130 countries -- are expected to descend on the Mile High City for the Democratic Party's most sustained effort to woo voters until election day.

New this year, Democrats say, is a major push to use technology to connect with and register new voters.

"We're taking the convention and sort of blowing away the smoke-filled, back-room, insider version of the convention and opening it up to America," Jenny Backus, spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee Convention, told, "and we're doing it with technology, by moving the convention outside of the convention hall, and we're doing it with a huge recruitment drive for the Democratic Party."

So-called "technology delegates" are being asked to give up one of their caucus days to register new voters. Democrats are also touting their Denver convention as the "greenest convention ever" and one of the most tech-savvy.

The convention will also feature high-definition streaming video, touch-screen kiosks and HD television monitors throughout the host venue, the Pepsi Center, and three giant Plasma HDTVs prominently placed on the stage.

Each night before the evening news, the party will have 15-minute "webisodes" teeing up the speakers and themes for that night.

"This year's Democratic Convention is more inclusive and accessible than past conventions, in large part because of the complete, live HD streaming video coverage that will be made available on our Web site," said Aaron Myers, the DNC's director of online communications.

"More people than ever before will be part of the convention experience -- watching live or whenever is most convenient. All you need is a computer and an Internet connection."

Google and YouTube will also have a heavy physical presence at both the Democratic and Republican conventions, giving away -- in classic Google style -- free smoothies, massages, and "fireside" policy chats.

They will also provide YouTube "upload booths" where delegates and bloggers can upload photos and video from the convention.

"Primarily the Google area is going to be a filing place for new bloggers and citizen journalists," said Google's Niki Fenwick, who used to work with the McCain campaign.

MySpace is sponsoring a daily cafe and a nearby college campus will also broadcast "The Daily Show" live each day at midnight, starting Tuesday.