June 14, 2008

Walk-Through Abruptly a No-Go DNC Planners to Reset Media’s Pepsi Center Visit

By Kevin Vaughan

The committee planning the Democratic National Convention abruptly canceled a media walk-through at the Pepsi Center scheduled for next week, citing unspecified "outstanding issues."

Party officials on Friday denied that fundraising woes led to the cancellation, which was expected to draw "a few hundred" members of the media from around the country.

"It is not due to money issues," said Chris Lopez of Denver's convention host committee.

The committee has been struggling to raise the $40.6 million it is contractually obligated to have on hand by Monday.

In mid-May, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper acknowledged that the host committee had banked only about half of the money it was supposed to raise for the convention.

Natalie Wyeth, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Convention Committee, was cryptic about the reasons for the cancellation.

She said the group wanted to make sure it could provide all of the information needed by members of the media who will cover the convention, scheduled Aug. 25-28 at the Pepsi Center.

Wyeth said a new date for the walk-through would be set in the "coming days."

"It's almost purely logistical," Wyeth said of the information that would be shared during the walk-through. "When we do hold the spring media walk-through, when we do have the new date, we will be providing a total and complete picture of those details at that time."

Several hundred representatives of newspapers, television networks and other media outlets attended an earlier walk- through, on Nov. 12. It featured Democratic National Committee chairman and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

In an e-mailed statement, Theodore LeCompte, director of media logistics for the Democratic National Convention Committee, said he recognized that the cancellation posed a "significant inconvenience" to those who had to travel to Denver for the event.

Wyeth said she did not know how many of those planning to attend the walk-through were from outside Colorado, or how many already had made travel and hotel arrangements.

Originally published by Kevin Vaughan, Rocky Mountain News.

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