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Crisis greets Dems streaming into Denver to crown Obama-Biden

August 23, 2008 |  1:44 am

A stretch limousine like the ones there won't be enough of to service all the Democrats wanting them during the party's National Convention in Denver this week

Tragedy has already struck the Democratic National Convention. And it doesn't even start until Monday.

With an estimated 50,000 excited visitors crowding around the baggage claim carousels at Denver International Airport today and tomorrow, each of them having had yet another pleasing experience as a modern American airline passenger, news has emerged that the Mile High City is suffering from a dramatic shortage of limousines.

Fancy cars with bars and TVs inside.

There will definitely be an insufficient number of the huge, gas-guzzling shiny cars with uniformed drivers to ferry really important members of the party of working Americans to and from their parties, meetings and votes during the four days of festivities that average U.S. taxpayers will see some of on TV.

Let alone wait for their customers, idling for hours, while patrons drink and dine and maybe vote and whatever else they do when they're away from home in a different city without family.

If a practical limousine solution is not found urgently, some Democrats may even be forced to take taxis, where you pay cash money according to a meter.

Or, worse yet, clamber up the rubber-covered steps onto common shuttle buses, just like ordinary people, to sit on yucky hard plastic seats or clasp shiny metal poles that have been gripped by other hands that have been who knows where doing who knows what.

Some Denver visitors may even have to walk on their own feet along hard cement sidewalks from their hotels to the Pepsi Center or Invesco Field for Thursday's big speech.

"Everyone wants a limo," said Gene Cookenboo, president of the Limousine Assn. of Colorado and owner of the appropriately named Presidential Limousine, the city's largest such service.

Some of the Democratic delegates and their followers want to....

...hire a limo for hours at a time and keep it waiting, empty, until they're ready to go somewhere else. Cookenboo figures a normal limo week in Denver might involve 80 rides.

This week many of the elongated cars will make 125 or more runs each day each car, which will help nicely boost the local economy as well as global warming.

The Very Important Democrats like Sens. Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden won't have any difficulty getting rides. Protected by the Secret Service, they'll be getting in and out of those ominous tint-windowed, armored black Suburbans that blend in so unobtrusively with normal traffic in rapid caravans of eight or nine in a row, violating every red light and stop sign with impunity.

But what are the working delegates to do for limousine service? Cookenboo says he's calling surrounding states to lease extra vehicles. The Public Utilities Commission has issued waivers to allow this because, as everyone knows, cars from Wyoming, being so Republican, may not be safe.

But, according to Matt Clough of Channel 9, Cookenboo may have to just give up. "We're simply running out of cars," he says.

(Now, a reminder that you can join the growing throngs preparing for the rest of this political season and beyond by having every Ticket item -- plus special offline Tweets from The Ticket's writers starting with the two party's conventions -- sent directly to your cellphone.

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--Andrew Malcolm

Denver's ready for the Democratic National Convention

Denverwintertraffapwillpowers

Photo credits: Advantage Limousine (top); Will Powers / Associated Press (bottom).

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