No room at the arena for general public during GOP convention

People are asking: How can we, Dick and Jane Public, get a ticket to attend the Republican National Convention in St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center?

The Answer: Unless you’re a delegate, a VIP, a certified reporter with credentials, or a police officer working security, you probably can’t.

The response from convention officials about how folks get tickets:

The media are credentialed through the House of Representatives press galleries, said Joanna Burgos, convention spokesperson. “Other tickets are distributed through state parties,” she said.

The Democrats in Denver are making things a bit more accessible: The acceptance speech by presumptive nominee Sen. Barack Obama will be made at Invesco Field, the football home of the Denver Broncos. Lots of regular folks will be in the stands for that. No plans for such a staging of Sen. John McCain’s speech have been unveiled. He’ll stay inside the hockey arena, home of the Minnesota Wild.

The Democrats also have announced public tours of the Pepsi Center, home of the first three days of the convention, after it has been converted from the home of the basketball Nuggets and hockey Avalanche into a political playground.

Tours of the facility for the general public will be held Aug. 22 to give folks a first-hand look at the setting they’ll see a few days later on the news shows. (Any of you reading this in Colorado can get tickets for the tours through www.DemConvention.com/. Tickets are free, but you have to get them in advance at the website.)

And, mindful that kids make great photo ops, Denver-area elementary and middle school students will be allowed inside before the regular tours begin that day. The students will participate in an educational program on the historical significance of political conventions and the role they play in our democratic process. Presentations from party leaders also will seek to inspire youth to become more involved in civic activities.

Asked if Minnesotans will get a chance to get inside the X before the convention to see what the multimillion-dollar transformation looks like, Burgos replied:

“Our plans are not yet finalized at this time. People can tune in to our Web site to see how the transformation is going.” The public can check here and here.

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