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Woo-hoo! It's official. The Spewker will be live blogging the presidential election direct from NPR World Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on election night. And I couldn't be any more excited!!
Okay. That's not exactly true. I could be more excited. For instance, I could start jumping on the couch and screaming at the top of my lungs about how much I love a country that lets an obscure unheralded blogger like me play political pundit on the most important night of the year. But then, what's the point? Pulling a Tom Cruise is already so done and tired it's cliche. Besides, it's no fun to go completely bonkers without a live audience to appreciate the level to which I could completely lose it.
I don't think my little family qualifies as an audience. Not yet, anyway.
So, join me here in this very spot on election night. Bookmark it if you have to. This article will be regularly updated beginning at approximately 8:00 p.m. on November 4th and continuing until they've called a winner. I'll have all the election news that's fit to print and maybe some that isn't. You might laugh. You might cry. You might even see a wee bit of video.
Because live blogging is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.
Nov 4th 12:23 a.m. - Drat. I may not be able to sleep tonight. My inbox is brimming with press information, NPR World Headquarters PR, NPR correspondent bios, guest blogger guidelines, specs on next day coverage, and quite frankly, my head is spinning.
Going over everything now to avoid having a cow on my way to Union Station. Or maybe I'll drive in and take my chances with parking. Can't be any worse than the 4th of July.
For anyone tuning in early, you won't believe all the social media these NPR people have cobbled together. An election blog, a streaming Twitter report, an unverified voter reporting map, a voting problems aggregator, and an extremely impressive press room wiki -- I'm still navigating all the links.
Wow! CurrentTV is also covering the election using VoteReport. Their program starts at 9 a.m. That's less than nine hours away! Advocacy groups, news reporters, and anyone with a gripe about the election can tune in early and monitor these reports, hopefully do something to fix any broken situation rather than just sit there and grumble.
I can see it now. By the time I reach NPR Headquarters, I'll be running on pure adrenaline. One hundred twenty people doing live coverage with live mikes broadcasting our every word, sniffle, and sound bite. OMG!
I can't wait.
2:35 a.m. - I just found the coolest vote tracking map ever. It's interactive. Can't wait to see how it tracks the returns. Just one caveat: It's from FoxNews. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
2:58 a.m. - Dixville Notch, NH is the first jurisdiction to register a win for Obama-Biden. With 100% turnout, no less. Hoo-ah! FoxNews map hasn't changed one iota.
Come on, peeples. Get out there and vote!!
2:00 p.m. - Still haven't left Baltimore. My scheduled dentist appointment took longer than I thought. Such a pity too. These lovely ladies were standing outside of a local elementary school willing to give rides to the polls.
Sadly, I didn't get their video up in time. The free rides ended at 1:00 p.m. But these women are such a dedicated bunch, I decided to give them the extra recognition they deserve.
Doing my part, however ineptly.
Earlier today I happened upon my friend and relative Greg G. Greg is shaking up the election with his own exit poll at Pikesville Senior High (video to post a little later). Follow Greg's unique election coverage with video, live updates, and news at Baltimore Jewish.com.
4:30 p.m. - Leaving for D.C (finally)! Just might miss traffic if I hurry up. Darn computer. Needs disk space, no time to compress. YouTube video of Sandy Rosenberg hot off the presses (finally). Oh no. Must be a conspiracy. Even YouTube is against me. The video didn't load. At least that's what my YouTube account is showing.
Taking an additional laptop to NPR just in case my world weary steed won't free up ram. Crossing all body parts. Wishing for the best.
Approx. 6:30 p.m. - Dateline: NPR studios. I've arrived. Only took about two hours down the parkway in intermittent rain. And the most confusing split in Massachusetts Avenue right where the NPR building stands. Let's just say, I'm lucky to have set up and to have made it here on time.
Still getting to know my table, a small set up in the corner of the room. Mostly comprised of NPR employees. In the middle sit the majority of tonight's bloggers, a fine mix of tech, politics, and social media. But since I'm trying to work off two computers at the same time, I thought it best not to take up too much extra space.
On the way over the radio talking heads debated The Fairness Doctrine, early voting in Maryland, exit poll returns, etc. Polls are closing in some key states. According to the TV news Obama seems to be leading in Kentucky, "very very early in the game." But don't let that discourage all you McCain supporters. According to Fox News, democracy requires that everybody vote. Hurry up! In some parts of the country you still have time.
Most of the TV and radio pundits are saying the election turning point was the September meltdown of Wall Street. But I disagree. I say it was McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as running mate. Good for Conservatives, bad for Independents and disaffected Democrats. At one point in this election I could have gone either way, but with the selection of Palin, well, that was the final straw.
Appx. 7:00 p.m. - They're starting to call Kentucky for McCain. But still too early, although about 8,000 votes are in. Vermont called (again early) for Obama. If so, McCain now leads in the electoral college.
Mark Warner projected winner in Virginia for U.S. Senate.
Appx. 7:45 p.m. - Just came back from the studio tour given by Amy Schriefer of All Songs Considered. Three people at a time, I wanted to be one of the first volunteers. Hopefully, if I ever get today's Sandy Rosenberg video to load, I'll have whatever video I was able to get of the studio posted.
Ah, finally (fer real this time). Ladies and gentlemen, Delegate Sandy Rosenberg:
Appx 8:00 p.m. - Yes we can!! NPR just called a slew of states for Obama. Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Illinois, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and D.C. They are saying that Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida are must wins for McCain. But now McCain is the projected loser in Pennsylvania, although called the winner in Oklahoma, Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina, and Tennesee.
And now they're projecting Elizabeth Dole as a loser in her election race. Can you believe that? No more Liddy Dole! The horror.
Some grumbles in the blogger room about NPR projecting Pennsylvania way too early for Obama. No other news organization is making that call ... except ... Al Jezeera (credit to someone at the big blogger table -- didn't see who). Very funny.
Can hear cheers in the background of the current NPR broadcaster. Seems like a lot of people are psyched about those early calls for Obama. About 170 electoral college votes. Obama is almost half way there.
Colorado polls are still open apparently. NPR is broadcasting from a McCain support center. The lady says they are still calling people to get out the vote. So if you're a voter in Colorado and you still haven't voted....what in the world are you waiting for?
Appx 8:30 p.m. - Whew! NPR is no longer out on limb projecting PA for Obama. MSNBC and CBS News are now on board. If these folks are correct, it's a very big loss for John McCain.
Appx 8:50 p.m. - Obama-Biden headquarters are starting to heat up with excited supporters. John Dickerson reports from Chicago that there are six spotlights pointed to the sky, "presumably preparing for Obama's ascent to heaven." Can't tell if he's a supporter or detractor. Actually, I think I recall his earlier broadcast of a vote for Obama, but don't hold me to that.
Projected 80% turnout for voting. Hmph! I thought it would be way higher.
Now projecting Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, Minnesota and Wisconsin for Obama, North Dakota and Wyoming for McCain.
Appx 9:10 p.m. - Washington Post has a nice stream. They're refusing to call PA for Obama, probably out of an abundance of caution. Their team of pundits are now saying that the only way for McCain to hold on is to win all the red states for Bush in the last election plus a swing state. That's a lot to live up to, even for McCain. I don't think he can pull it off. It's 9:10 p.m. and I'm calling this election for Obama.
You heard it here first.
Georgia called for McCain. Big swath of red in the south. And now there's some red states showing on top of the map as well. Wyoming and North Dakota for McCain. There must be some kind of correlation between the people living in those big country states and the south. Far be it from me to suggest the commonalities. I'll leave that to you to figure out.
Appx 9:25 - The camera guys are here. Popping pictures all over the place. Maybe I'll download some and post here.
In the meantime, even The Washington Post has called PA for Obama. And NPR is calling Ohio for Obama. Richard Cohen from The Washington Post says this election is a vindication for Lyndon Johnson. Who would have ever thought the civil rights movement would forever go down in history as his baby.... Surely not Martin Luther King.
Appx 9:40 p.m. We're having an amazing round table discussion about the election and what a historic Obama-Biden victory will mean. Phrases like "fruition of a dream cut short in the late 1960s," "Americans voting for President based on the country they want to live in," "wanting a President who's smarter than me," and "Conservative voters hijacking the Republican party" are piquing my interest in another video. Still waiting for the NPR Studios composite to load. But if my computer speeds up, I may be able to post a video capturing the spirit of an impending Obama victory.
10:55 p.m. - Washington Post put Louisiana in McCain's column. Big duh.
10:10 p.m. - New Mexico called for Obama. After almost an hour of downloading 22 minutes of the NPR studio tour, the program malfunctioned. Can you believe that? No? Neither can I.
Eh, not much going on here really. A few bloggers have left, a sizeable amount are on break. Pundits reduced to how John McCain will save face and maintain his reputation.
More on the "I can't believe that just happened" front - while I was out at the buffet, I heard an NPR program where they were discussing our round table "fruition of a dream" discussion. Coincidence? I think not.
10:45 p.m. - Just wrapped my video with Terrance Heath - an in depth discussion about race and religion and recreation of our round table discussion. Good stuff!
Virginia just called for Obama. Hoo-ah!
10:55 p.m. - Colorado called for Obama by The Washington Post, but NPR is still staying neutral. Big shocker of the night - Virginia called for Obama and North Carolina still too close to call. And talk about Florida... 83% precincts reporting with 49% for McCain and 51% for Obama. Looks like tonight's story will be Virginia and Ohio. And "as Ohio goes, so goes the nation..."
11:00 p.m. CNN calls the election for Obama! California tipped the election. You're witnessing history!
11:45 p.m. Computer froze. But I'm back. Have some great photos of the blogger room. Here's the scene during McCain's concession speech.
11:50 p.m. Barack Obama is expected to speak at the top of the hour. Just checked my email. A bunch of links from the other NPR live bloggers. Check out their articles:
Okay - Obama has taken the stage in Chicago. I need to hear this.
Nov. 5th 12:15 a.m. Obama just wrapped his speech. Hurrying to upload on YouTube. NPR wants to pack up and go home.
12:35 a.m. - Last video of the night. Yes we can! Thanks, NPR.
Over and out.