I’m all for reporters calling out the stagey aspects of campaigns and conventions. To that end (I think?), the AP’s Nedra Pickler probes the Democratic National Convention and Obama campaign’s controversial claims that “real people” “will appear” at the Denver convention:

An Indiana railroader, an Iowa mother and a Michigan truck driver are getting a moment at the Democratic convention to help portray Barack Obama as the people’s champion and counter GOP characterizations of him as an out-of-touch celebrity.

The idea is for these “real people,” as the campaign calls them, to share personal stories about why they are supporting the Democratic presidential candidate and how they think he will help folks like them…

And: “Real people also will be featured at an event Tuesday alongside Michelle Obama” (I’m confused, is that real real people or “real people?”)

Pickler reports that the Obama campaign “formally invited these people” (um, “people?”) to Denver, “providing airfare, lodging and great seats to watch Obama accept the nomination from a circular stage on the 50-yard line at Invesco Field.”

“Great seats” to the (sold-out) Obama Show, Pickler says! (Why let “the GOP” have all the fun with “characterizations of [Obama] as an out-of-touch celebrity?”)

Lest you think the “real people” will be keeping it real (“real?”), Pickler writes that “professional speechwriters are helping prepare their remarks…And just like any senator or other VIP speaker, an assigned staff member will oversee their schedules and logistical movements, including media interviews, speech coaching and on-stage rehearsals.”

Who else will be at the convention along with “real people?” Any “fake people?” “Real robots?” A superhuman or two? Pickler reports:

Besides “real people,” Obama’s campaign and the convention committee on Tuesday announced more names who will speak at the convention, including former President Carter; Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 presidential nominee; various Democratic senators and governors, and union leaders.


Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.