Democrats Downplay Celebrity, Look for Housing While Republicans Search for Star Power

By Michael O'Connell August 20, 2008, 12:02 PM EDT

The Democratic National Convention in Denver is just over a week away, and one of the hottest topics is the lodging dilemma and the economic boost it’s giving locals willing to rent out their homes. Plenty of would-be attendees who have yet to secure housing are furiously posting ads on Web sites like Craigslist for wanted rooms—much to Denver’s delight, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.

Democratic celebrities are also looking outside the box for places to stay, though at a much higher price point. The Rocky Mountain News reported that Oprah Winfrey rented a house in Denver for a whopping $50,000 for a week’s stay.

Winfrey isn’t the only celebrity headed to the Mile-High City. Ben Affleck, Ed Norton, Madonna, Kanye West, and Cyndi Lauper are confirmed as additions to the growing group of A-listers headed to the convention. For all of those stars and, of course, the delegates, The Huffington Post is building an “Oasis” lounge for rest and pampering treatments.

As far as speakers go, Michelle Obama will open the convention, Bill Clinton confirmed he’ll be speaking at the Pepsi Center (along with wife Hillary), and former Virginia Governor and current Senate candidate Mark Warner will deliver the keynote address. Other speakers lined up for the convention include vice presedential hopeful Joe Biden, Jimmy Carter, John Kerry, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, and Al Gore. Gore will speak at Invesco Field the night Obama accepts the party's nomination.

During the Republican National Convention proceedings, Vice President Dick Cheney is a confirmed speaker, but party leader Arnold Schwarzenegger has yet to formalize any plans to attend. The Republicans still have a few weeks to get their ducks in order, but The Times reports that John McCain is pulling out all the stops to beef up the star power in the Twin Cities. Despite attack ads calling out Obama’s fame, McCain is apparently keen enough on upping his own Hollywood credentials that his campaign recently hired a William Morris Agency staffer, Jeffrey Barry, to boost the convention’s star power. Barry has his work cut out for him though. The Hill says that the preliminary list of parties during the Republican Convention is less than one-third the size of the events taking place in Denver next week.

Helping the predominantly country music celebrity contingent in Minnesota, the Creative Coalition recently added actors Maggie Gyllenhaal and Neil Patrick Harris to its roster of actors appearing at the Republican convention. The Creative Coalition, like magazines Vanity Fair and GQ, continues to remain bipartisan by making similar efforts at both parties' conventions. You can read more about it here.

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