New York — There's a digital clock, red and yellow lights, and a tight timetable -- all part of the Democrats' plan to keep a firm rein on their convention. Democratic officials say that if all goes well, the convention could be limited to about 46 hours of official proceedings.
That would compare with about 21 hours -- including 1 1/2 to 2 hours of entertainment -- forthe Republicans in Detroit last month.
John C. White, Democratic Party chairman, says, "I've got some very important people with only four minutes" on the program.
To keep them from running over, Mr. White had a digital clock installed on the speaker's stand. The clock runs backward and clearly shows the speaker when his time is up.
If that is not enough, there is a yellow caution light to show when a speaker is about to run our of time. And there is a red light that indicates when time has expired.
"I've even told them to turn up the intensity of the red light so it will show on the speakers' faces," Mr. White chuckles.
"We've got everything but a hook" to scoop overenthusiastic speakers off the stage, he says.
Even so, this year's convention is expected to be the longest since 1952.