I have always loved listening to the songs of Vince Gill and when I saw him taking pictures with other people, I had to squeeze one more in. He was really limping for some reason and could no longer stand so I just crouched down next to him. I hope he didn't feel embarassed. Vince Gill was the country artist/Belmont Alumni who donated the money which built the auditorium where the debates took place. Above the doors to this room his name is displayed designating it as his auditorium. Super nice guy. I also had a chance to talk to his wife Amy Grant as she made her way over to him. She is incredibly down to earth and very approachable.
Behind the scenes of the networks setups. Five major networs had areas partitioned off opposite the stage and elevated above the audience. To the right is Shepard Smith of Fox News. It's funny to hear their voices in everyday situations because you say to yourself, "I know that voice," especially when you are walking next to them and don't realize they are there.
This is a picture of the set opposite of where I was sitting. My seat was basically the far left of the picture where the audience is lit up. With all of the secret service walking around, the red carpets and blue walls and seeing all of the politicians walking around, there was a very patriotic atmosphere and I felt honored to be there at that moment.
A picture from where I was sitting. The ladies sitting in front of me and to my right were obviously Obama fans. After everything Obama said, whether they understood or not, you could hear their "Uh huh" 's and every time McCain said something they didn't agree with you heard "pssh". One lady who seemed bothered by this (since everyone was supposed to be silent) turned around and gave them a slap across the face. Actually she didn't but I thought that would be fun to make up. She was pretty worked up over them though.
We were instructed that there was to be no picture taking during the debates, but as everyone was clapping I was able to catch this photo. Really blurry, but it was the best I could do. This is John McCain. Couldn't see Obama unless he moved to this area of the stage.
Following the debates I was able to move down to the bottom of the seating. You can see Obama right behind the camera man at the foot of the stage closest to where I am taking the picture from.
John McCain shaking hands with one of the members of the town hall style debate. McCain shook a few hands and then left fairly quickly. Of course the media commented a lot about this since Obama stayed for a few hours after the debate talking with each member of that meeting. The media suggested that McCain left as if he were admitting defeat. Whatever the reason, I was disappointed I couldn't get more pictures of him.
Another close up from stage left. Beautiful stage set up.
This was my favorite picture of the evening. Belmont is a beautiful campus and as we were leaving the building to get on the shuttles, it was pouring rain. As I turned around I thought it was a beautiful sight and caught the moment on camera.
What an awesome experience to be able to be at one of the most historical debates yet. There was a lot of tension in the air as people from many different walks of life and political views came together for one purpose--to listen to the next president of the united states fight for office. I feel that both had strengths and weaknesses and that it gave america a better understanding than we previously had. It will be interesting to see how everything unfolds...