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Convention watch: A sign of the times?

Compiled by NBC/NJ's Matthew E. Berger…
REPUBLICANS: Nine GOP senators up for re-election this year are skipping the Republican convention or have said they haven't yet decided if they will attend. Among those not attending: Susan Collins of Maine, who is close to McCain. Aides said they have a difficult landscape and only a limited time to campaign.
 
Ticket sales for Ron Paul's Rally for the Republic did well on Friday, when they went on sale. The Campaign for Liberty reports more than 5,000 tickets were purchased in the first two hours. (press release)
 
DEMOCRATS: Drafts of the Invesco Field speech plans has Obama accepting the Democratic nomination at the 50-yard line. He will walk from the main stage along the sidelines to a carpeted podium 6 ½ feet off the ground. The rest of the field will be filled by delegates.  
 
The Wisconsin DNC delegate who says she's supporting McCain has been ousted. The Wisconsin Democratic Party voted Friday to strip Debra Bartoshevich of her delegate status. She was elected as a pledged delegate for Hillary Clinton and said in June she won't support Obama. She asked the party to attend the convention as a Clinton delegate and said she hasn't made up her mind who to support in November. 
 
Financial difficulties have forced Denver to shelve more than two dozen convention parties. Local business leaders say money they would have donated is being diverted to union-led ballot initiatives they are fighting.