Greek gods, a birthday billboard and other Denver nuggets

August 28, 2008

And the Obama campaign thought their biggest worry was getting the right mix of substance and style in tonight’s big speech. Not so much.

rtr21rli.jpgThe task now seems to be either: a) recapturing the attention of 15,000 journalists busy Googling the difference between Doric and Ionic columns, or b) attacking McCain’s lack of global experience because his campaign is mixing up the Romans and Greeks.
Someone should have put a primer on Classical Architecture and History in the DNC convention guide.

The controversy of course is the unveiling of preparations for Obama’s speech at Denver’s massive football stadium, Invesco Field, which has been transformed into what the McCain campaign has called “The Temple of Obama.”

A stage featuring huge plywood columns painted off-white to look like marble has been set up at the 50-yard line of Invesco Field, and Obama is expected to stride out from between the columns to address some 75,000 supporters — all choreographed for a massive prime-time American television audience.

If the clean white columns were supposed to evoke Washington’s Capitol building or even the White House — some generic presidential-like setting — they have instead sparked a (Roman?) fountain of jokes about Greek Gods and Roman ruins.

A snarky memo from the McCain campaign betrayed the difficulty critics have when faced with such a juicy target — deciding on a single funny nickname for the venue seems as hard as picking a vice presidential nominee that won’t offend the Republican base.

“Today, workers at Invesco Field are putting the final touches on the newest wonder of the modern political world — The Temple of Obama (“The Barackopolis”),” Deputy Communications Director Brian Rogers noted in an e-mail to “interested parties”.

Rogers went on to advise a dress code for the event, complete with photos of various toga styles from “the Nobleman” to “The Senator”. Instructions on how to “wrap your toga” were included.

“Nothing says ‘out of touch with regular Americans’ like Greek columns,” lamented the Huffington Post, urging the Obama campaign to tear down the columns before it is too late.

With the speech just hours away, the columns will likely stay. Historically inaccurate jokes about togas, chariots and Icarus will flourish.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are scrambling to refocus reporter funnybones on the imminent celebration of John McCain’s 72nd birthday on Friday.

Invitations are out for a “More-of-the-Same Birthday Party” in Dayton and Youngstown, Ohio, to coincide with the expected announcement in that state on Friday of McCain’s vice presidential running mate.

The events will feature a “mobile billboard” of McCain, Bush and a birthday cake. And yes, they’re promising 72 candles. No word on the dress code, but flame-retardant clothing may be advised.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

- Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Bourg (Obama does a late-night walk through  at Invesco field where he will give his acceptance speech.)

3 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

The billboard and Greek columns are tacky. What happened to voting for someone with class and dignity? Obama will “change” America all right!

The McCains have more class and dignity in one finger than the Obamas and Dems have in their entire bodies.

Senator McCain has always been sensitive to national crises. In the 2000 race he postponed his announcement — “because of the situation in the Balkans and we are monitoring the situation very closely.”

JOHN McCAIN IS A GOOD CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT. HE WILL SERVE AND PROTECT US. I TRUST HIM.

THE CLINTONS ARE HOSTAGES OF THE DNC. THEY HAVE TO SUPPORT OBAMA ALL THE WAY — IN ORDER TO GET HIM TO PAY OFF HILLARY’S CAMPAIGN DEBT.

YES, the Clinton’s both gave good speeches. However, read between the speech lines people! What they are saying isn’t close to what is happening, nor to what either of them believe!

I THINK HILLARY WILL RUN AGAIN IN 2012.

I’M VOTING FOR JOHN McCAIN IN 2008.

Posted by STOP THE DRAMA-NO OBAMA --- GET A BRAIN-VOTE McCAIN! | Report as abusive

When I picture Barak in a “temple” setting, Greek, Roman or otherwise, the first thought that comes to mind is the Obamanation of desolation. How low do you think his “sweet chariot” will swing tonight?

Posted by Vaughn | Report as abusive

In the end, the Greek columns contributed to a homey feeling with Biden and Obama’s family in the foreground. It looked like they were retiring into the White House that they’re aspiring for.

Posted by Mr. Thomas | Report as abusive