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Political Fix by Gloria Penner

Back to the Future: the 2008 Presidential Nominating Conventions

In just a bit more than three weeks, I'll be on a flight to Denver to cover the Democratic Convention where Senator Barack Obama is expected to be that party's nominee for president of the United States. This journalist is getting very excited. Then a week later, I'll fly from Denver to Minneapolis to report on the Republican Convention and Senator John McCain's official acknowledgment as the GOP contender for the highest office in the land. My excitement grows and here are the reasons:

Although no convention since 1952 has gone past the first ballot to agree on a nominee, I recall the excitement of the 1960 Democratic Convention at the Los Angeles Sports Arena when an opening day demonstration in favor of Adlai Stevenson was so wildly exuberant that my skirt was torn by an out-of-control Stevenson enthusiast. I was covering that convention (as a novice assistant producer) for NBC's Today Show and I still can call up memories of the event and the glamour provided by the Kennedy clan, Frank Sinatra and the rest of the rat pack. Eleanor Roosevelt had proposed a Stevenson-Kennedy ticket. But the Kennedy youth and charisma won the day. Might Obama face a challenge on that first ballot?