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  • PIN THE TAIL/Daniel Rubin

    Observations from the 2004 Democratic National Convention

    Thursday, July 22, 2004

    Street Team 

    "Hi. Want to help us defeat Bush?"

    "Hi. Want to help us defeat Bush?"

    That's one of the siren calls outside the Au Bon Pain in Harvard Square - a half dozen sunny youths stopping sweat-soaked pedestrians in an effort to get them to 1. register to vote 2. vote. 3. give money.

    Another siren call came from a grizzled guy carrying a large cross: "I am not afraid!" he shared in a grave baritone. A third guy hawked the homeless sheet, Spare Change. A fourth was doing some fundraising for himself.

    I chose Paola Moll, 20, a student at mostly Republican Bentley College who delivered her spiel in a rapid-fire, fact-filled soft-sell. It's one of 60 a day she's been doing, and will continue doing for the Democratic National Committee until Election Day.

    She's one of 30 or so street canvassers. There are equal numbers of door knockers. ""This is about your future and mine," she said.

    Boston is starting feel like there's a convention coming.

    Transit cops started checking the bags of every 11th commuter this morning at two suburban stops. The ACLU is considering legal action.

    Construction crews near The Fleet Center, where things begin next week, are building a First Amendment pen where protesters are free to speak their minds - a bit far from the delegates and inside a sort of mesh cage that one of the contractors has likened to a prison camp. The ACLU is considering legal action.

    The fancy hotel next door will be scanning guests' irises as big wigs begin checking in this weekend. No word from the ACLU.

    Meanwhile, Bostonians are grousing about the inconveniences. Most of the merchants recently polled predicted the arrival of 35,000 politicos and their enablers will do nothing for their business, given how much gridlock and artery closings are predicted. They're betting on losing business.

    All for a $50 million pep rally to remove the word 'presumptive' from stories about John Kerry.

    Daniel Rubin

    Daniel Rubin is a staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He can be reached at


       •  July 2004

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