Excerpt: Page Eleven of Eleven
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Three days in Austin aboard the Obama/Clinton Press Show
DEBATE PREPARATIONS - THE FIGHT ITSELF - SECRET SERVICE - CHEAP DEODORANT - BAG SEARCHES - AND BEHIND THE GATES AT THE OBAMA RALLY
by Ethan Persoff, http://www.ep.tc
POST DEMOCRATIC DEBATE SHOW
The following is an eleven page excerpt from a larger work in progress
focusing on the upcoming Presidential election, with an emphasis on Texas and the upcoming brokered National Convention in Denver.
-DING- Aaaaand The final bell sounds. The press people immediately fizzle down and the room empties. A few stay in the room to work on their report, some to mingle.
Outside. Want some more coffee but at this point it's a destroyed empty beverage table. All that's left is a few squeezed lemon skins, two or three crushed soda cans, and a coffee stained tablemat. Big piles of garbage on the ground and a cluster of crap shoved between the wall behind an already full trash can. Funny soundtrack of constantly flushing toilets, overlapping, from both the Men's and Women's. Out of the restrooms wander bloated and red-faced reporters. I haven't seen any of these people earlier. They are all gin blossomed and beaten to shit. Likely showed up right before the debate itself. Wonderful faces, though, but checked-out, and rough. They stumble off, adjusting their pants and belching.
I'm noticing a lot more sound at the other end of the hallway. WELL LOOK AT THAT. Ah! Finally, I get it. It's the Spin Room! And there, finally, after a day of waiting ...is the promised Spin!
The Spin Room
During the day it's a media center, but after the debate the room takes on its full purpose. Local and national representatives for each political campaign fill into the CNN Spin Room for spelling out messages and talking points to the media. Each person (in this instance an Obama rep or a Clinton rep) is accompanied by a volunteer who holds up a sign. This sign is held behind the representative with the person's name and constituency. It is also a PACKED in TIGHT room and suffocating. Sort of a locker room feeling. If there is anyplace on this planet full of more namedropping career politicians I have yet to experience it. It's mildly exciting though, as any cluster of about 200 people in a hallway with signs and rhetoric is exciting. But to what purpose exactly? I see a lot of news getting jotted down but so much noise, so much literal noise. The only valuable thing I can imagine getting across here is "It's too loud, call me later" which I mean to say, ITS! TOO LOUD! IN HERE! CALL, I SAY, CALL! ME, no! ME! Call ME LATER!
But it's not the kind of fun excitement you'd want. Soon the initial effects wear off and I realize this public conversational orgy is the dullest thing I've seen all day. There's just no mystery, no opportunity for a story. And the tangling of conversation is ridiculous. You're probably annoyed just reading about it. A very nice woman snaps my daze for a second, asking me if there's an Obama representative that I'd particularly like to speak with. I politely decline and instead zip through the crowd noticing all the video cameras, competing bright lights and small handheld audiorecorders. The Spin Room is correctly titled. The room is spinning. I'm starting to feel nauseaus. I decide to exit before the effects are life-permanent.
CNN was not lying. This is indeed a beautiful room of spin. But the clattering conversation and movement all just sounds like a dishwashing machine on rinse. The constant signs made it all the weirder.
Soon had to leave
Ph-Following the Fuh-Pho-Tographers
Suddenly, WHATS THIS, The photographers are moving. Quickly, too, and to the other end of the hall! The photographers are moving. Shit, why not, I find myself moving too. What are they up to? The cluster is at end of the hall. This is where the steps upstairs to the Debate Hall are. I'm considering leaving, but have made the mistake of being wedged in this full crowd of about 175 photographers. Suddenly a loud authority VOICE booms, LETS GO PEOPLE, LETS GO. And I'm being moved up the steps with these people, past the debate hall and out the door. Ah hell, well this happened, didn't it? There's talk of some other opportunity for interviews with campaign advisors, that sort of thing. Pretty neat, keep on walking ... OUTDOORS NOW .. past two people with clipboards, check, keep walking. More loud voices, check, LETS GO LETS GO, QUICKER PEOPLE!! And then, in a roped off parking lot is one of those gigantic buses. Oh shit, I need to get out of this line. My better instincts prevent me from speeding up and jumping right into the bus .. instead, I sort of hesitate right by the throttling idle of the huge double decker black bus.
"Excuse me. WHO ARE YOU? Do I know you?" A woman with a clipboard is staring right at me. I explain how I got up here by the wave of photographers. They are still boarding and shoving each other in, so at least there's the visual aid there ..."Right, well, you have to LEAVE" ... "I know I do, sorry." Looking up, confused.
"What's the bus anyway?"
"Well you're not a part of the group.. and NO NO! You can't go back that way, either." She frowns as I suggest just going back the way I came.
"You'll need to jump over this gate" It's a big metal gate, a bit higher than my waist. It's questionable. "Here, I'll just walk you out." Ah shit. She starts walking me down the row of huge black buses, and towards a police stop. Suddenly a Secret Service guy comes up. "Yeah, he's not supposed to BE here", she tells him, "Can you escort him back out? I have to get back the bus" So I'm now walking for about fifty yards with a secret service guy. Unexpectedly calm moment, truthfully. I immediately offer, "Sorry just been spending the day with a bunch of those people" which is true and he responds agreeably, even with a sense of understanding. "Beautiful night" I mention. It's gorgeous outside.
"Yeah, it is." He agrees. We continue walking.
We get to the police blockade, I apologize again and knod to have a good evening. To my relief I get a kind of friendly wave in return. It helps that this guy had seen me previously all through the day, I'm certain, but what a screw up on my part. Phew though, my first ever Secret Service escort. Also I've managed freedom from the pull of the weird bus and its cluster of photographers. I look back and still see them in line cramming themselves one-by-one into the big black bus. Christ, how many does it hold and where does it go?
Now, outside of the Police blockade, I end up directly in the back of the building, and have to take a long way to get back. Four police checkpoints, each time with ID and stated intention. About ten minutes to get back to the front security gate. There are hundreds of people outside filing out of the Debate Hall. The feeling is identical to a finished outdoor rock show, with lingering and even some soul music blaring from a tailgait party some block or so away. And of course, merchandise tables.
THIS CONCLUDES OUR EXCERPT
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