Democratic Convention Diary

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The Independent US

* The competing cable news channels have gone further than ever in trying to make their mark. CNN and Fox News have taken over two local bars and utterly transformed them. The CNN Grill is especially impressive. The inside of what until last week was "Brooklyn's" has been repainted in deep CNN red and one outside wall is decorated with a giant neon star that, we are told, took six weeks to build and weighs 2,000lb. Why all the effort and money? (Did we mention the open bar?)

"Political conventions are like the Olympics for us," said Scot Safon, CNN's worldwide chief marketing officer. This political team is not complaining.

* There is understandable anxiety about Bill Clinton's speech tonight. Humorist Andy Borowitz reports that officials have found a way to protect against disaster: a five-second delay on the broadcasting of Bill's speech, in case they have to cut in and interrupt. "We hope and expect Bill Clinton will give a stirring and perfectly acceptable speech," Democratic chairman Howard Dean tells Borowitz. (Not really.) "However, if we see his face turning red and his forehead starting to throb, we'll be there to pull the plug."

* Everyone in Denver expects at some time to see a celebrity or three, whether it be Ben Affleck or Bruce Springsteen. One British colleague did a double-take after spotting Eva Longoria disappearing around the corner of his hotel corridor. She was not, apparently, looking for his room.

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