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updated 8/28/2004 3:38:07 PM ET 2004-08-28T19:38:07

Tea Party is compiled by MSNBC Politics Editor Mike Stuckey from reports by MSNBC, NBC and wire service reporters.

THURSDAY, July 29

Hot commodity
Today's official odd sighting of the day: about 50 jars of free "Bill Richardson salsa" stacked on a table inside the Boston Sheraton Hotel. We were in a quick hurry to run into a press conference that was occurring there, but intended to grab a jar after it was over. Alas, after we left the briefing, all the jars were gone. --Mark Murray

You go, Teddy!
We caught up with California's outspoken spokesman Bob Mulholland, who told us that at breakfast this morning the California delegation was treated to a mariachi band with Sen. Ted Kennedy — yes, Ted Kennedy — doing the lead singing.  "I had not seen Ted perform so well opening an event in all my life," Mulholland chuckled, "and I was a Ted Kennedy delegate back in 1980." --Andrew Ott

Ups and downs

At the Sheraton yesterday, we heard Andre Heinz was trapped in an elevator. Being the dedicated reporters we are, we trashed our lunch and raced back to the hotel where we found a lucky lady who had been trapped in the elevator with Andre. Word has it that Andre was the last person onto an elevator heading from the second floor to the first when it suddenly dropped, then stopped. Fourteen people were trapped for almost 30 minutes but our source tells us Andre was funny, nice and "smelled good." Our source also said others in the elevator teased Andre for being the last person on the elevator and therefore causing the accident.  We are happy to report that everyone made it out safe and sound. --Huma Zaidi

A hitter's pitch
Deciding that we wanted a fresh perspective from outside of Boston, we called Ron Mazzoli, a former 12-term Democratic congressman from Kentucky, who's attended his fair share of conventions but isn't here this week. What does he think of Kerry's upcoming speech tonight? "It's a fastball right over the heart of the plate, and it's the kind of ball that he can smash right out of the park, right out of Boston and right to the White House," he said. "But he can also swing and miss. I guess tonight is when the tall tales get made." Does he miss being at the convention?  "I miss it very much. It was a wonderful experience. I think the proper term is nonpareil. People should savor every moment. It's really a part of history." --Andrew Ott

Young at heart
Feisty 94-year-old campaign finance reformer Granny D — aka Doris Haddock — received the coveted Backbone Award (which, of all things, consists of a model of ... a backbone) today at the Progressive Democratic Convention at Roxbury Community College. Prior to receiving the award, Granny D warned voters "not to let this convention be a big can of Betty Crocker frosting for a cake that doesn't exist." In 1999, Granny D walked 3,200 miles across America to raise awareness for campaign finance reform and is now running for Senate in New Hampshire. Go, Granny, go. --Elizabeth Blumenthal

Raining on the parade
Our last report from last night's hot, hot, hot Creative Coalition party — filed at 8:30 pm — noted the huge crowd that was already forming there. Well, here is our update from later in the evening: Standing outside, we saw Jason Bateman (from "Arrested Development" and "Teen Wolf 2"), Jerry Stiller, Billy Baldwin and Wendy Malick (from "Just Shoot Me") all enter the party. We also got a glimpse of the menu, which included New England lobster rolls, a raw bar with native oysters, hot dogs, sausages, and ginger-flavored cotton candy. It all makes us wish we somehow got inside. ... The crowd was dressed to kill — women in black strapless dresses; men in suits and ties. But all of them weren't accessorized with raincoats and umbrellas. And it poured, so much so that it cleared the streets of gawkers. --Nancy C. DiBiaggio

Forget Ben, we got Barack
OK, forget Ben Affleck. Everyone here, it seems, has decided that there's only one true star in Boston: Barack Obama. So yesterday we did our best to stalk — er, stake out — the convention's superstar at the National Education Association reception. Obama spoke there for only six minutes, but the audience members went wild. They formed a ring around him that was so tight some people shouted for him to stand on a chair. When he finally did, they cheered. ... And some of the other notable folks at the reception there were still ga-ga over Obama's Tuesday speech. Said New Jersey Rep. Bob Menendez: "Great speech, great connection with both the audience and the convention center and around the country. ... It expresses that in America, anything is possible." ... Georgia Rep. (and Senate candidate) Denise Majette added, "He's part of the future of this party. His involvement reflects the heritage and the diversity and the richness that we have in the Democratic Party." --Andrew Ott

Celebrity letdown
We were all excited to score a spot on the red carpet to one of the hottest parties in town —the Creative Coalition's party at Louis Boston last night. News had it that the likes of Meg Ryan, Ben Affleck and Minnie Driver would grace us with their presence.  But we waited ... and waited ... and waited and well, saw none of the aforementioned celebs! Even media-hog Affleck snuck in through a back entrance along with the media-shy Leonardo DiCaprio. We did manage to spot Alyssa Milano, Richard Schiff (from West Wing), and Billy Baldwin.  After the guest arrivals, the rain started to pour but stopped in time for the Red Hot Chili Peppers who flew in from Japan to perform. Careful planners had placed yellow and orange umbrellas in the bushes for guests to use in case of the rain.  (Smart thinking, guys, I spent a lot of time on my hair!) ... After Edwards' speech had ended, a new wave of guests began to arrive but still no Meg or Minnie.  Our big score of the night was an interview with Sen. Patrick Leahy who had nothing but praise for John Edwards's speech and when asked what he thought of 12-year-old Kids-for-Kerry founder Illana Wexler's recommendation that Vice President Cheney take a time out for using the f-word,  he said, "I think she was right." If you remember, it was Leahy Vice President Cheney was speaking to when he used the bad word. --Huma Zaidi

Not Left out
Besides staking out Mr. Obama, we also caught a glimpse of one of the rarest sightings at the convention — outspoken liberals, who were attending a function sponsored by the progressive Campaign for America's Future and The Nation magazine. We saw plenty of ponytails, Dennis Kucinich T-shirts, and sandals. As it turned out — surprise, surprise — Kucinich was there, and he told the crowd that it's OK to vote for Kerry, because that's only the beginning of change in this country. In a way, the event seemed like an evangelical sermon, with someone there shouting out responses to the speakers' comments: "That's right!" "Yeah!" "Right on!" Others hissed when speakers described the actions and policies of the Bush White House. Robert Borosage of the Campaign for America's Future said everyone there agreed about the importance of electing Kerry. "On everything else," he said, "we'll see as we go." --Andrew Ott
Much obliged, guv'nor
Last night, up on the sixth floor of the Fleet Center, Howard Dean was making the rounds, and delegates and well-wishers shook his hand and requested photos with him. But the most interesting person trying to meet him— according to our eyes — was Kerry's oldest daughter, Alex. She stopped Dean, shook his hand, and said, "I just want to thank you for being here." It was a friendly moment, but Alex certainly wasn't as friendly with Dean as she was with Ben Affleck, according to today's Boston Herald's front-page photo of the two. --Erin Fogarty

Good vote hunting
Ben Affleck — actor, screenwriter and now, Democratic roadie. The movie star, a ubiquitous presence at the Democratic National Convention this week, plans to depart Boston by bus Friday with the newly minted presidential nominee. Affleck will campaign with Kerry and running mate John Edwards through weekend stops in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.
Affleck’s hits have included Oscar-winning “Good Will Hunting” and “Shakespeare in Love,” although recent movies “Gigli” and “Jersey Girl” have been box-office disappointments.
Kerry and Edwards together plan to cover 21 states during the two-week tour, which begins by bus but also includes travel by boat and train. --Associated Press

WEDNESDAY, July 28

Chillin' at THE
hot spot
Boston Tea Party's correspondent outside tonight's hot, exclusive, you've-gotta-be-somebody-important-to-get-inside Creative Coalition party (featuring the Red Hot Chili Peppers) reports that the place — already at 8:30 pm — is a complete zoo. Hundreds of people. Barricades. Absolute madness. Those who get into tonight, we salute you.--Nancy C. DiBiaggio

All in the family
Imagine the overwhelming experience of being a delegate, but then also bringing along your husband, your three children, and your five grandchildren. That's airfare and hotel costs for 11 people. And that's precisely what Nevada delegate Naomi Goynes has done here in Boston. Goynes, a retired junior high school administrator, wanted her grandchildren (ages 14, 12, 11, 8 and 19 months) to have a civics lesson in American politics — and it's something she and her husband, Theron, have always done to educate their family. But the pricetag for this particular civics lesson? Between $8,000 and $10,000. This bring-the-whole-family-everywhere routine, however, has produced three college grads and grandchildren on the honor roll.--Nancy C. DiBiaggio

Unmentionables
Yesterday we decided we just had to meet those sassy girls from Running in Heels, the anti-Bush interest group that's trying to get single women — who vote disproportionately for Democrats — to head the polls. Started four months ago, this groups want to engage women voters by hosting fun and clever events, like happy hours and yoga parties. They also give away female underwear with slogans that would even make Whoopi Goldberg blush. At their dessert party yesterday afternoon, activist Arianna Huffington, Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, and Kerry staffer Heather Zichol stopped by to speak to the crowd. --Nancy C. DiBiaggio

Oh my, it's Omarosa
Well, we finally got the interview we'd been waiting for: an interview with Omarosa. Unless you lived on Mars this past spring, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth was the infamous woman who sought a big paycheck and a new job on NBC's hit reality show, "The Apprentice." She's now doing pretty much the same thing — but for the Democrats, not for herself. In fact, in her "official" capacity as an adviser and vice chair of the African American Leadership Council, Omarosa has been a big presence here in Boston. Our big question: Have people here reacted to you negatively? "There has been no negative reaction. Maybe there would have been if I had gone to the Republican convention," she laughed. She also said she's attended almost every Democratic convention in her adult life, but the "big difference this time was all the top-level access to anything and everything I want to do. ... It has been pretty amazing."  Omarosa said Teresa Heinz Kerry did a wonderful job in her speech last night, and she didn't think Elizabeth Edwards needed advice because "she has already been there for her husband in a public way and will do a phenomenal job speaking about him." She had less kind things to say about the media's coverage of Heinz Kerry. Citing the shove-it comment, Omarosa said it is sad that the media can "pick one moment out of her life and misrepresent it. There is so much more to these women than what happens in one second." --Michelle Jaconi

Say this very carefully
We dropped by FCUK's Rock the Vote Party yesterday, where the young and beautiful had turned out to combine a little shopping with a little politicking. (FCUK, by the way, stands for French Connection UK). "FCUK You, I'm Voting" T-shirts were de rigueur, as were fab red and blue cocktails served up in white martini glasses. Among the partygoers was Art Alexakis, lead singer of Everclear and member of the Oregon delegation. And once again, there were rumors of an appearance by Ben Affleck, and once again we were disappointed. Ben, where are you? --Elizabeth Blumenthal

  1. Other political news of note
    1. Animated Boehner: 'There's nothing complex about the Keystone Pipeline!'

      House Speaker John Boehner became animated Tuesday over the proposed Keystone Pipeline, castigating the Obama administration for not having approved the project yet.

    2. Budget deficits shrinking but set to grow after 2015
    3. Senate readies another volley on unemployment aid
    4. Obama faces Syria standstill
    5. Fluke files to run in California

Cocktail chatter
We made it into Planned Parenthood's swanky "Cocktails, Condoms, and Celebrities" party last night. We didn't spot any celebrities or condoms — but boy did we see tons of cosmopolitans and sour apple martinis for the mostly female crowd there. Yet this wasn't your typical "Sex-in-the-City"-like gathering. One woman in attendance talked nonstop about the September Washington State gubernatorial primary between Democrats Christine Gregoire and Ron Sims. Another woman recited by heart the races the Democrats need to win to take back control of the Senate — an impressive feat considering all the cosmos and martinis. --Mark Murray

Any Soccer Dads out there?
By now, we've all heard of NASCAR Dads, those swing voters (from mostly Red States) who love to watch NASCAR. Well, yesterday we ran into a self-described NASCAR Mom, Texas delegate Martha Williams. She has season tickets and travels around the country to races. In fact, her two sons even race cars. We asked her how it is being a Democrat from Texas, where almost everyone seems to be Republican and Bush supporter. Is Texas getting any love here in Boston? "Texas," she replied, "is the only delegation stuck out at the Airport Hyatt." --John Canady

The infamous no-shows
We stopped by the first-ever Young Democrats of America Hall of Fame award ceremony. Rumor had it that seven awards were waiting on the counter — including one with Delaware Sen. Joe Biden's name engraved on it — but only one recipient stopped by to accept their award: Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland. The low turnout among award recipients didn't seem to dampen the mood of the young Dems, however. Malia Lazu from Showtime's "American Candidate" started the party with an impassioned battle cry for youth involvement in politics. And wrestlers "Ivory" Moretti and Mick "Cactus Jack" Foley from the WWE's Smack Down the Vote took the mike to raise the roof and work the crowd into a frenzy. Hoyer took it all in stride and enjoyed his time in the spotlight. Bantering with the stunning-looking Ivory, he told the crowd, "I don't care what she says, I just enjoy watching [her]." --John Canady

PREVIOUSLY IN TEA PARTY ...

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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