Press restrictions in overflow rooms (UPDATE: Restrictions lifted)

September 6, 2012

UPDATE 7:57 p.m. ET: After making requests of the Obama campaign and convention officials, reporters were permitted to cross the rope lines and speak with attendees, with campaign aides in tow. The aides placed no restrictions on which attendees reporters could interview.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told the Democratic National Convention tonight that he's leading the "most inclusive" and "most open" convention in Democratic Party history.

Clearly he hasn't seen the overfloow rooms.

Convention volunteers who directed visitors throughout the week are being offered special access to a ballroom in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, adjacent to the Charlotte Convention Center. But only if they obtained special stickers.

Once they enter the room, attendees are offered a U.S. flag to wave during the speeches.

Reporters? Oh, you're a reporter? Head over there, sign in and please stay behind the ropes.

Reporters at the nearby Time Warner Cable Arena with the proper passes may freely roam the floor and aisles and hallways speaking with attendees.

But not in here.

Once they enter the ballroom, reporters are being cordoned off from attendees in a roped-off area similar to pens set up at political fundraisers.

From the restricted vantage point of reporters, it appears attendees are being offered red wine, white wine, Crown Royal, Jack Daniel's and Gin and Tonic. But it's hard to tell from where reporters are standing. After all, we're in that roped-off area in the back.

So can reporters speak with folks in the room? No, a campaign press aide said, stay behind the ropeline. But she said she'll happily direct people to the back of the room to speak with reporters.

WATCH: Live video of the Democratic National Convention

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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Melinda Henneberger | September 6, 2012