At some time shortly before 7:45 Eastern, convention officisls shut off access to the Tine-Warner Cable Arena. Megacontributor Orin Kramer, who exited to enjoy a cigar, was told he couldn’t go back. “I’ve been to these before,” he said, untroubled. Also denied entry was former Obama chief economist Austan Goolsbee and his mother, a delegate from Abilene, Texas.

There was one exception to the rule: members of Congress could get in. Quipped Goolsbee, “Sort of like bouncing checks”–a reference to the House bank scandal of the early 1990s.