FEELING UNLOVED: As they leave Denver to head to St. Paul and the Republicans, there’s one group who have felt shut out by the Democrats: the press. And that could be deliberate. On Wednesday, Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, did a post-lunch coffee and questions session with Time magazine and all but said he was unconcerned with the news cycle because grassroots support is more important to him and the campaign.

This story first appeared in the August 29, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

He brushed off every question about why the polls hadn’t shown a spike for Obama during the convention, saying, “We don’t pay any attention to national polls,” that the race is state-by-state and that there is an “intensity gap” between Sen. John McCain’s supporters and Obama’s.

To which McCain’s adviser Mike Murphy, sitting in the back of the room, said, “Congratulations on a well-run primary, but when campaigns start talking about turnout dynamics, it’s generally to make up for other shortcomings.”

As Rebecca Traister of Salon said, “[Plouffe] seemed to be like a candidate who did that thing politicians do, which is answer the question he wanted to answer as opposed to the one that was asked.”

Everyone’s been wondering where the celebrities have been this week, but you could catch a few at Kanye West’s show on Wednesday night at the Exdo Center, a club in downtown Denver. A sober-looking Kirsten Dunst was dancing with a few friends near the door. In a roped-off VIP area were Gayle King and Angela Bassett. Maureen Dowd and Jill Abramson of The New York Times were hanging out in the middle of the floor. Tom Freston, who serves on the board of the One Campaign — which cosponsored the event with the Recording Industry Association of America — was on the side of the stage.

Earlier this month, West’s U.S. tour hit New York City’s Madison Square Garden, and he didn’t start until well after 10 p.m. “Surely they’ve told him this isn’t a late-night crowd,” said someone in the audience who arrived after 9 p.m. local time, when Joe Biden concluded his speech at the Pepsi Center.

If they did, West didn’t care. He took to the stage around 11:30, did a terrific set, and the Democrats danced badly until 1 a.m.

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