The Washington Times - August 24, 2008, 05:21PM

Only the armies of armed security were moving quickly in downtown Denver on Sunday. Most of the roads were closed, save for the dozens of police in full-on riot gear — think machine guns, face masks and bulletproof vests — riding the running boards 10 deep.

They were there to keep the peace during a day of protests. You know, to keep the streets safe from the guys with the giant stuffed polar bear there to remind conventioneers about global warming. And from this guy: retired highway patrolman Tony Viessman of Rolla, Mo.

Mr. Viessman, 74, drove to Denver with his friend, Les Spencer. They call themselves “Rednecks for Obama.” They have the hats, banner and T-shirts to put on a good protest.

“I’m here because I am a redneck and I love Obama,” Mr. Viessman said. “We’re here to tell the guys with the guns and speedboats that Obama is not going to take those things away from him. Obama is a brilliant man.”

Several hundred protestors marched down Aurauria Parkway ouside the Pepsi Center at midday Sunday. Security officials closed not only the street — a main artery in and out of downtown — but also the media entrance to the grounds of the Pepsi Center. Hundred of reporters, photographers and other media folks waited in the sun until they were allowed back into the media tents. Meanwhile, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a huge Hillary Clinton supporter, waltzed right through Secret Service after flashing her congressional ID.

Back in the sweaty media line, not so fast. Because of the protests, security was extremely tight. Bomb-sniffing dogs, metal detectors and visual bag searches were all put into use. Among the substances not allowed: firearms, naturally, as well as water bottles and produce of any kind. So dump out that apple pilfered from the hotel, pronto.


With all the street closures and Denver’s attempt to be the greenest convention ever, biking might be the way to go.

Humana Associates and a group called Bikes Belong have set up seven centers around town. They have 1,000 bikes that people can rent for free; they just need a photo ID and a credit card deposit.

Bike Belong rents bikes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to riders over age 18, says spokesman Mark Frederick.


Several bars around Denver are enticing delegates with special DNC-themed drinks.

The bars Mezcal and Tambien — home of some exclusive Hollywood parties later in the week — is offering the Lean-n-Green Margarita, the official margarita of the DNC. The lean-and-green part comes from local foodies, who have asked caterers and other restauratuers to make this the healthiest convention ever (which, of course, led to backlash from meat-and-potatoes-loving types).

Anyway, the Lean-n-Green Margarita features 100 percent agave certified organic tequila and fresh-squeezed lime juice in a pint glass.

Over at Elway’s in Cherry Creek, bartenders have created four DNC drinks: Prickly Pear Margaritas (Denverites must really like Mexican food), 5280 Tonic, Peach Perfected and the Blue State.

At the Hyatt Regency, they are serving the Star-Spangled Lemon Drop. Bio-Diesel Martini, Wind-Powered Chocolate Martini, Greenhouse Punch, Solar-Powered Margarita and Blue-tinis.