Day 2: Live from the DNC

OPINION

  • A poster sits on a chair after the Illinois delegation breakfast Wednesday.
A poster sits on a chair after the Illinois delegation breakfast Wednesday. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune )
September 05, 2012|By Matt Fruth, @mattfruth | For RedEye

What's really going on at the Democratic National Convention? Matt Fruth, president of the Young Democrats of Illinois, is in Charlotte, N.C., as a delegate, and he's giving RedEye a behind-the-scenes peek at the event.

Everyone gets to see the speeches and videos in prime time, but delegates start arriving hours before that—it's important to get to your delegation and stake out a good seat.

Business and speakers begin at 5 p.m. local time every night. By the time you see us on TV, most of us have been there for three hours, and by the end of the night it's been six hours of standing and sitting and yelling.

The non-prime time speakers have a huge burden to bear with lots to lose. They have to keep the crowd's energy up and know they probably won't make TV unless they screw up. Speakers such as Corey Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J., and Gov. Quinn, among others, were able to engage a still-filling arena from the podium and then move around to visit with delegates.

I can safely speak for every attendee when I say that we can't wait until President Obama's speech Thursday night.

RedEye special contributor Matt Fruth is president of the Young Democrats of Illinois.

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