The Democratic National Convention was a mixture of politics and socializing with old friends, like Rev. Jesse Jackson, who wandered past the Connecticut delegation and met up with state AFL-CIO President John Olsen.
Olsen stood patiently waiting for Jackson to finish a conversation before he introduced him to Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo.
After a brief embrace, Jackson wandered off into the crowd and was quickly greeted by admirers and television cameras on the floor of INVESCO Mile High stadium where presidential nominee Barack Obama accepted the party’s nomination later in the evening.
When asked how he knew Jackson, the first black man to win a Democratic Party presidential primary, Olsen said the two have been arrested together in prior protests.
Olsen recalled thinking, “This guy’s gonna be famous some day,” after first meeting Jackson more than 20 years ago.
When Jackson ran for president in 1988, he did well in Connecticut. “He won at least one Congressional district,” Olsen recalled. Jackson also won New Haven.
Olsen was asked if he thought there were any bad feelings between presidential nominee Barack Obama and Jackson, who whispered in July he wanted to cut Obama’s “nuts out” while the cameras of a network news show were still rolling. “He’s here,” Olsen replied, “isn’t he?”
Olsen, a superdelegate that had supported Senator Hillary Clinton prior to coming to Denver and casting a vote for Obama, compared Jackson’s relationship with Obama to the one he has with his siblings. Olsen said sometimes siblings fight, but they still love each other at the end of the day.
Earlier during the day, the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Jackson addressed the Progressive Democrats of America.
Michael Jay, a PDA organizer from California, said Jackson used Biblical references to illustrate how one generation has to help another find their way. Jay said he talked about the Israelites crossing the river and God telling them once they got to the other side that they had to place 12 stones in the river. His point, “was that you need to show others the way.”