Man the Flag-Waving Stations

MAN THE FLAG-WAVING STATIONS….I don’t quite yet know what I think of John Edwards’ speech and I need to dash off for a few more hours, so I’ll just leave you with this bit of trivia.

If you watched wall-to-wall coverage on C-SPAN last night, you probably saw at least seven different kinds of signs waved in unison across the hall at different points in the evening, not to mention flags and other convention props. And instead of seeing all seven at the same time — in a sea of colors — you saw the disciplined raising of particular signs at key applause lines. If Democrats are as unruly as a herd of cats, how the heck did they coordinate that?

The Boiler Room, that’s how. On the upper levels of the Fleet Center is an operations room filled with Kerry campaign staff and DNC types who closely monitor the evening’s proceedings and coordinate the delegations’ participation in camera-friendly activities. And on the floor, each of the delegations has a contact person with a walkie-talkie linked up to the Boilerroom. They’re in charge of keeping track of those piles of different signs, passing them out throughout the delegation, and — when the Boiler Room says “Go!” — giving the cue to delegates to raise those signs and go crazy.

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Amy Sullivan

Amy Sullivan is a Chicago-based journalist who has written about religion, politics, and culture as a senior editor for Time, National Journal, and Yahoo. She was an editor at the Washington Monthly from 2004 to 2006.