David Plouffe, an architect of Barack Obama's surprise ascension to the pinnacle of the Democratic Party, did not look Monday like a fellow under duress although recent polls show his candidate has lost much of the advantage he had over John McCain.
That's because, to hear him tell it, he all but ignores these surveys.
Instead, as Plouffe reviewed the status of the race, he said he and his colleagues concentrated on matters such as turnout and undecided voters in 18 key states.
"We stay laser-focused on these two factors," he said.
Yet he conceded McCain, the soon-to-be Republican presidential nominee, "has more strength with independent voters than most Republicans. We as a party can be bummed out about that, but we've got to deal with it."
New chapter in McAuliffe's life
Plenty of longtime Hillary Rodham Clinton friends and supporters are in Denver. They no doubt still dream about reclaiming the Democratic Party.
But at a gathering of, by and for Barack Obama, the Clinton loyalists tend to have some time on their hands.
So it shouldn't have been surprising that as the Pepsi Center bustled with activity Monday, and several Obama aides, all nattily attired, exuded importance, political strategist James Carville could be found a mile or so away, jogging in a T-shirt and shorts.
But who should we encounter a few minutes later inside the Colorado Convention Center?
None other than Terry McAuliffe, the always exuberant former chairman of Clinton's failed presidential bid, hawking copies of the book he wrote before the 2008 campaign: "What a Party! My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators and Other Wild Animals."
McAuliffe hastened to assure us that convention delegates and other party activists had been asking for copies of the autobiography, and that the hardback editions were being offered at the cut-rate price of $10 (which included his autograph).
Business, he reported, had been brisk.
Cellphone calls get farmed out
Along with the thousands of Democrats pouring into Denver, there will also be a few cows. No, Elsie isn't on the Democratic ticket (yet). These cows are much more technological -- they're cell sites on wheels, also known as COWs.
Wireless providers have spent months ensuring their networks can handle the sudden flood of calls and text messages at the two conventions.
That includes bringing in COWs and COLTs (cell sites on light trucks), which cost about $20,000 each to deploy.
"We're looking at the largest amount of data and traffic to cross our wireless network of any event to date," AT&T;'s Jace Barbin said.
Excerpted from The Times' political blog Top of the Ticket, at www.latimes.com/topofthe ticket.
Frederick reported from Denver; Malcolm reported from Los Angeles.