Security stopped all foot traffic on a blocked off street at the University of Denver around 5 p.m. Wednesday to prepare for the candidates' motorcades. My editor and I were on our way to DebateFest to watch the first of three presidential debates with students. University of Denver hosted this debate, moderated by PBS New Hour's Jim Lehrer.
When we first stopped, it was about 75 degrees and people were sweating. Within two minutes, a wind hit, knocking leaves off the trees and dropping the temperature to about 40 degrees.
"That's Denver," I told my editor, who was shivering next to me as we waited with our cameras ready along the yellow police tape.
Might as well work while waiting.
Next to me was a young family of five—three school-aged girls, mom, and dad—eating sandwich wraps and drinking from recycled water bottles.
"No matter what, they will see the next President of the United States," said mom Nancy Stout, of Denver, since both motorcades were due to pass. 'We're here to see the democratic process."
The girls also got an education in journalism, joining a conversation with me and three international journalists also caught behind the tape. Journalists were there from Sweden, Germany, and India.
After 30 minutes or more in the cold, the motorcades whizzed by, car after car of security, candidates and family members, traveling press, more security, and an ambulance. Each motorcade had about 20 cars in it. It took all of about a minute pass.
"What did you think," I asked 5-year-old Maya.
"It was good," she said.
"Do you know why they are here," I asked about the candidates.
"They want to show the people who they really are," she answered.
The Stouts quickly packed up and headed home as soon as the yellow tape came down. They wanted to catch at least the first part of the debate before bed time!
—Kid Reporter Jenna Winocur
PHOTO: Nancy Stout with her three grade-schoolers, waiting for the motorcades to pass prior to the presidential debate in Denver, Colorado, October 3, 2012. (Suzanne Freeman)
As President Barak Obama and Govener Mitt Romney have been preparing for weeks for the eagerly awaited Presidential Debate at the University of Denver in Colorado, so has the Scholastic Kids Press Corps! I picked up my media credential last night, and am putting it to use today to get through
almost every door. Almost.
The security here is nothing short of overwhelming. (I personally like the sniffing security dogs the best -- they are the cuttest part so far!) And while we can get through check points by turning on all our electronics to show the officers they actually work, we are not being allowed in the media filing center. Our plan is to attend Debate Fest 2012 with college students, somewhere in the middle of campus. We'll have fun sitting with the students and watching all the action outside on a big screen! I heard there are about 4,000 members of the media expected to attend. The fact that I help make up that number at the age of 13 is an incredible feeling.
I've also learned that four 8th grade students from North Star Academy were chosen to be "Guest Stars" here at the debate tonight. They wrote winning essays to earn the honor. I really hope that I can interview them! I'm excited to meet all the people I can and be as prepared as I can be to interview some of the nation's first-time voters here on the Denver University campus.
—Kid Reporter Jenna Winocur
PHOTO: Kid Reporter Jenna Winocur at The Cable Center on the Denver University campus, getting ready for the first presidential debate of the 2012 election.