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At Invesco, Seats Fill Up With Democratic Faithful

(DENVER) It was still more six hours before Barack Obama was scheduled to take the stage to formally accept the Democratic nomination for president, but Verda Martin had already settled into her seat at Denver's open-air Invesco Field for what she called "one of the most important moments we've had in probably the last 20 or 30 years."

"I'm really excited, I'm really, really excited," Martin said, laughing, as her boyfriend nodded emphatically in the next seat over. "I never thought I would see a nomination speech live, and then for it to be the first African-American presidential nominee, so yeah – I'm just about to jump out of my skin."

Inside the stadium, venders who normally would be selling Denver Broncos merchandise instead hawked Obama t-shirts and hats at tables strewn with forms asking customers to donate to the Obama Victory Fund. (The form made it clear that between donations to Obama's primary campaign, general election campaign and the Democratic National Committee, donors could give more than $30,000.)

(CBS/Brian Montopoli)

Outside, meanwhile, the line snaked for blocks, nearly back to the Pepsi Center a mile away. The mood, however, was festive, with corporate sponsors handing out free water bottles and a blue sky that likely eased the nerves of organizers worried that rain would come down on Obama's triumphant moment.

Dave Newell, a former Hillary Clinton supporter who "immediately joined Obama's team," said he waited for forty-five minutes to get into the stadium, where more than 75,000 are expected to turn out.

"I came out just to kind of be inspired, to soak up a little of the energy of the crowd and maybe take some energy out and spread it around for Obama," he said, looking out over the stage affixed with columns where Obama would later speak.

(CBS/Brian Montopoli)

Leonardo Ranzani, meanwhile, had come to Denver from Milan. He sat in the stadium in a red, white and blue top hat.

Most of the people he knows in Milan, he said, "tend to be Obama supporters, probably because he is more similar to a European way of seeing things. Maybe because of the health care plan."

"The idea to have a black president," he said, explaining what drew him all the way to Denver. "Many, many people believe that many Americans are maybe racist or something, and then you say, 'oh, a black president, he's going to win, it's a kind of change.'"

Martin said she was particularly excited because Obama speech was set to come on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech. (She also said she was looked forward to the pre-Obama entertainment, which includes Stevie Wonder,, Sheryl Crow and Jennifer Hudson.)

"It's not about one party or person or race, but it's really bringing everybody together for a change in this country," she said.

Newell, the former Clinton supporter, said he got his tickets to the stadium through a lottery for Denver Broncos season ticket holders. Asked where he would rather be – a Broncos game or at Obama's speech – he paused for a moment.

"That's not fair," Newell said, breaking into a laugh. "I grew up here. I bleed orange. But this is a once in a lifetime event."