Now that last week’s Republican National Convention is done with, it’s time for the Democratic Party to hold its own love fest, set to start on Tuesday.
The Democratic National Convention will see speeches from big-name Democrats like Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bill Clinton and, of course, President Barack Obama. The convention will outline the Democrat’s platform and flesh out the themes of Obama’s re-election campaign. The DNC will follow much the same format as the RNC: rousing speeches to the party base, attacks against the other side, and resounding praises of the presidential nominee.
The DNC will also seek to inject fire into what has been a mostly mundane 2012 election, especially on the part of Barack Obama.
This convention will hope to showcase the Democratic big guns, and will attempt to sway moderate voters to the Dem’s side.
The DNC is being held as a majority of voters believe the country is worse off today than it was four years ago and that Obama does not deserve reelection, according to a new poll for The Hill.
Fifty-two percent of likely voters say the nation is in “worse condition” now than in September 2008, while 54 percent say Obama does not deserve reelection based solely on his job performance.
Only 31 percent of voters believe the nation is in “better condition,” while 15 percent say it is “about the same,” the poll found. Just 40 percent of voters said Obama deserves reelection.
The nearly 6,000 delegates, representing the 50 states, U.S. territories and “Democrats Abroad,” have arrived in Charlotte. They come from everywhere from Alaska to Florida, from Maine to Nevada, and enthusiastically bring their diverse backgrounds, experiences and stories to the Democratic National Convention.
PolicyMic will be following the DNC live. Bookmark and refresh this page for all the most recent updates and full analysis.
11:52 p.m. One of the more under-rated quotes of the night:
If Mitt were Santa Claus, he'd fire the Reindeer and outsource the Elves! - Ted Strickland
11:41 p.m. Libertartian Congressman Ron Paul on Jayt Leno tonight:
On Tuesday, Ron Paul will appear on theTonight Show with Jay Leno for the second time since December, when then-candidate Paul spoke with Leno about his presidential campaign at a time when the Republican race was very much up for grabs. Paul's appearance comes on the heels of the revelation that hewill not endorse Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson for president. Johnson, the former two-term governor of New Mexico who originally ran for the Republican nomination this year, is ideologically the most compatible candidate with Paul in this year's presidential field.
This disclosure comes a week after Paul said that he does not "fully endorse" Mitt Romney for president, a candidate with whom he vehemently disagreed during the GOP debates, particularly on the issue of foreign policy. Thus, it does not appear that Paul will endorse anyone for president this year, though if Leno has any value as an interviewer, he will try his damnedest to get Paul to pick a favorite.
As for the rumor that Paul would announce a run as an independent candidate, the Texas congressman just threw cold water on that scuttlebutt ....
Still can't get over this girl!
11:26 p.m. Mythili Sampathkumar, over at her amazing DNC blog:
"That was a political speech, it was very explicit in not separating liking President Obama and not liking his handling of the economy. If you like the man, you have to vote for him is essentially what she was saying. I'm not sure that sentiment will convince undecided voters but I think it may make disappointed Democrats more comfortable with voting for her husband."
11:20 p.m. Hard to imagine Julian Castro's speech getting blown out of the water at the DNC ... well Michelle Obama did just that:
11:11 p.m. At the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Nancy Keenan, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told attendees, “We are proud. We are so proud to have a president who stands with women and who trusts women. A president who signed into law one of the greatest advancements for woman’s health in generations. A president who believes in a woman’s right to make her own decisions. I know this president, and I can tell you that he cares deeply about the next generation of young women in this country, his daughters, all of our daughters.”
I sat, fuming.
Had Nancy Keenan forgotten that just months ago, President Obama had defended HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s decision to override the recommendation of the FDA that Plan-B One-Step emergency contraception be made available over-the-counter? (Kathleen Sebelius, by the way, is a “pro-choice pro-lifer” who believes that abortion is wrong, but that criminalizing it will not reduce it.) And that he had done so by citing concern for his own daughters? And that just a few months after that, he apparently changed his mind, and told voters that he favored taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood so that his daughters could “control their own health care choices?”
She probably hadn't forgotten, and even if she had, I hadn’t. While I do think that Obama generally believes in a woman’s “right to make her own decisions,” as is evidenced by his pro-choice record (he’s even said, controversially, that he may support late term abortions), I fear it will not be up to him. The Supreme Court, not the president, will decide the future of abortion rights in this country.
11:04 p.m.: This:
10:55 p.m. Julian Castro is the Next Barack Obama:
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro delivered a powerful keynote address at the DNC Convention on Tuesday night, as the first Latino keynote speaker at a Democratic Convention.
The speech is bound to draw parallels to Barack Obama's signature DNC address in 2004, when he wowed the audience in a speech that put him into the national spotlight. And, that's exactly what Republicans want you to believe.
Here are a few excerpts from the Romney campaign's response to Julian Castro's address, which will serve as Republican talking points on Wednesday ...
PS: His daughter is adorable:
10:48 p.m. Here are five highlights from Michelle Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night, the first night of the Democratic convention.
10:37 p.m. Expect a family-values oriented speech from Michelle
"Like so many American families, our families weren’t asking for much.
"They didn’t begrudge anyone else’s success or care that others had much more than they did...in fact, they admired it.
"They simply believed in that fundamental American promise that, even if you don’t start out with much, if you work hard and do what you’re supposed to do, then you should be able to build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids and grandkids."
"But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as President, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are."
"Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it…and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we’re from, or what we look like, or who we love.
"And he believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity…you do not slam it shut behind you…you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed."
"I love that even in the toughest moments, when we’re all sweating it – when we’re worried that the bill won’t pass, and it seems like all is lost – Barack never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise."
10:31 p.m.: Michelle Obama up next
Another great floor shot from Alex Wirth:
10:26 p.m. “In the end, the American Dream is not a sprint or even a marathon, but a relay.” — Julian Castro
Castro won reelection in 2011 with 82.9% of the vote.
10:15 p.m. The Dems look like they want to make Castro the next Obama. I like it.
10:08 p.m. On Now: Julián Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, Speaking Right Before Michelle Obama Tonight
"Our choice is a man who's always chosen us."
"The path is always forward"-Mayor Castro
"The dream is universal, but America makes it possible." (it's patriotic fluff, but it's good fluff)
The Democratic Convention’s Keynote Address Will Serve As “National Introduction” For Mayor Julian Castro – “Much Like It Was For Obama In 2004.” “The speech, which will be given the opening night of the convention in Charlotte, will serve as a national introduction for Castro — much like it was for Obama in 2004. The then-Illinois senator delivered an iconic speech about his own backstory and called for national unity during the Boston convention that nominated John Kerry for President. Political observers have credited that address, which received rapturous reviews, for playing a major role in propelling Obama into the presidential mix in 2008.” (Jonathan Lemire, “New Star Will Rise At Dems' Convention,” New York Daily News, 7/31/12)
10 p.m. Whereas Republicans listen to Bill O’Reilly, Democrats listen to John Stewart. Whereas Glenn Beck soothes the Donkeys, Steven Colbert tickles the Elephants. Whereas Republicans can cite the support of Clint Eastwood, Democrats respond with … Kal Penn.
I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.
It’s understandable what the Democratic Party wants to do; many liberals argue that the Democratic Party is appeals to young people, something which no doubt played a big part in the nomination for Kal Penn, whose one good film is considered one of the best stoner comedies ever. But, now that we saw Harry Callahan support Mitt Romney, is Kumar really in the same league?
Eastwood has a career spanning several hundred years (his debut role was the knight in first retelling of The Canterbury Tales). His most iconic role, Dirty Harry, revolutionized action cinema by being very straightforward in its message: All criminals will constantly kill if not ruthlessly shot, and constitutional procedures and rights only protect them, assuring that they get to kill again. Why thhat was a new message in an industry that prides itself in achieving the highest body count possible within a three-hour period (looking at you, Expendables) is a bit of a mystery. Either way, Eastwood is a bona fide legend despite the fact that he is just like a lot of old actors, in that he never really mixes up his roles or style of delivery (*cough* Jack Nicholson *cough* Robert De Niro).
However, Eastwood evolved past the early days and started becoming more and more sensitive to the struggles of life, the peak of which was his masterpiece Million Dollar Baby. He even abandoned his own vision of Dirty Harry when he used Gran Torino to show all wannabe mavericks that a gun can solve not every problem. Either way, it makes sense that he would support the Republican Party: If private ownerships of firearms were banned, ninety percent of Eastwood’s career would be impossible. And it’s a career with a laundry list of awards, achievements in every aspect of filmmaking, and lots of followers.
On the other hand, the Democratic Party fights back with Kal Penn. Does anyone remember his movies other than the Harold and Kumar series? He was on House M.D., where Hugh Laurie’s superior acting skills owned him and he was literally killed off (for good reasons, to be fair). Penn was also in The Namesake, co-starring alongside Tabu and Irrfan Khan. Tabu is an award-winning Indian actress and Irfan Khan is the cop from Slumdog Millionaire, and even they couldn’t save that movie so you can’t really blame him. The only one positive here could have been that, if Penn managed to do well, “Penning” is an actual word and sounds better than “Eastwooding,” which sounds rather crass.
9:51 p.m. Here's an Awesome floor shot from PM Pundit Alex Wirth:
9:42 p.m. Lilly Ledbetter, of equal-pay-legislation fame takes DNC stage: "what a difference 4 yrs makes."
Ledbetter: Supreme Court "stood on the side of those who shortchanged my pay... Just because I'm a woman... But w/Pres Obama, we won."
FACT: the first bill Barack Obama signed into law was the LillyLedbetter Act - equal pay for equal work.
"Maybe 23 cents doesn't sound like a lot to someone with a Swiss bank account." -- Lilly Ledbetter on equal pay for equal work
9:35 p.m. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will deliver the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night, representing the first Latino, Spanish-speaking person to hold that honor. See exerts here.
9:28 p.m. Kal Penn -- of Harold &Kumar fam -- mentions OBL killing, gay marriage, says, "thank you invisible man in the chair, for that."
Kal Penn: I've got a 4 letter word for you: "vote"
9:18 p.m. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is up now.
"When I joined the Obama team, we faced so many problems ... a once in a generation moment in history. I said 'Barack, which problem should we tackle?' He said, 'Rahm, I was sent here to tackle all of them.'"
Rahm says Obama is a "once in a generation president."
"Each crisis was so deep, and so dangerous, any one of them would have defined a presidency."
"Because of Pres. Obama's leadership every American will have access to affordable quality healthcare."
"A change we believed in, a change we fought for, a change Obama delivered!"
Rahm Emanuel: Americans can choose between "Let Detroit go bankrupt" Romney or "not on my watch" Obama
"The President never changed his views to suit the moment or the audience, and that is also a sign of leadership."
9:10 p.m. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius up now, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel up next.
"Obamacare is badge of honor."
"The good news: being a mother is no longer a liability, and being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition. That's what change looks like."
"Romney and Ryan would take away basic women's health services."
9:04 p.m. Lee Storrow is also Live Blogging the DNC tonight, here's a snippet:
"Stacey Lihn just took the stage with her husband and two daughters to make the case for the value of the Affordable Care Act. As she spoke about her daughter’s heart defect, her daughter began to cry. Prior to the passage of healthcare reform, her daughter likely would have hit her lifetime health insurance cap very early in her life. That may have been one of the simplest, and most effective arguments I’ve seen made for the Affordable Care Act since its passage."
8:59 p.m. This is interesting: The RNC platform mentions God 13 times and Romney once. The DNC platform mentions Obama 141 times and doesn't mention God at all.
8:52 p.m. Here's a quick snapshot from Charlotte, courtesy of our on-the-ground gal, Sarah Worley:
Valerie Jarett, on the hot seat!
8:49 p.m. Speech have been kind of boring so far, IMO. Cory Booker did jack me up, though.
ICMYI Here is video from Cory Booker's rousing speech. For highlights and analysis from PM Editor Jake Horowitz, see here.
8:45 p.m. Fire and Brimstone, much? The Huffington Post has a wacky front page up now.
A bit much. We get it, HuffPo, we get it.
8:38 p.m. Tammy Duckworth is up now.
Duckworth is a double amputee who served in Iraq; her race against Joe Walsh is fairly heated. She is a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, Illinois. She is a former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
She is talking at length about vetrans issues, highlighting how Obama has lived up to his responsibilities as comander-in-chief, including ending the War in Iraq and ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
Here are some key quotes:
“Barack Obama has also lived up to his responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief, ending the war in Iraq, refocusing on Afghanistan and eradicating terrorist leaders including bin Laden.
“President Obama pushed for fairness in the military, listening to commanders as we ended Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and on how to allow women to officially serve in more combat jobs. Because America’s daughters are just as capable of defending liberty as her sons!”
“When it comes to our men and women in harm’s way, we have a clear choice on November 6th. Last week, Mitt Romney had a chance to show his support for the brave men and women he is seeking to command. But he chose to criticize President Obama instead of even uttering the word “Afghanistan.” Barack Obama will never ignore our troops. He will fight for them.
8:27 p.m. "Rape is Rape" seems to be a rallying cry at this DNC.
8:23 p.m. "There has been some talk of women's issues..." you don't say. #DNC2012
8:20 p.m. Michelle Obama set to speak @ around 10:15-10:30, BTDubbs
Spoiler alert: Michelle Obama speech will talk about love and family ... kind of like Ann Romney last week.
Teaser from the speech: "Today, when the challenges we face start to seem overwhelming – or even impossible – let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation…it’s who we are as Americans…it’s how this country was built."
8:17 p.m. Add gay rights to the laundry list of issues the Dems are talking about. This is kind of overwhleming. Pick one or two here, guys and gals, right?
8:07 p.m. One of the big differences between the DNC and the RNC: The Republicans had a single, coherent message. Tonight @ the DNC we've talked about energy, college, Bin Laden, Iran, women's rights, unemployment, clean energy, etc. etc.
What's the point?
7:57 p.m. A musical interlude from Ledisi provides a brief respite from the major speeches. We'll catch our breath.
7:54 p.m. His speech now turns to a video tribute of Ted Kennedy, a moving display of his successes in the Senate. The video turns to a highlight reel from the Kennedy debate vs. Romney in Massachusetts in 1994, when Kennedy won handedly. Huge applause from the crowd. Romney comes off like a flip-flopper then (and now).
7:47 p.m. Democratic rising star Joe Kennedy III now takes the stage, so far he's just touting Ted Kennedy's accomplishments in Senate.
7:44 p.m. Ken Salazar, former Senator from Colorado, addresses the crowd on why President Obama has set America on the road to American energy independence.
7:35 p.m. President Obama has restored America's reputation overseas. "It's up to all of us to make sure the American people understand ... what's at risk in this election." The 88-year-old says he will cast his vote for Obama and Biden, knowing that "the biggest challenges don't lead themselves to quick fixes."
7:33 p.m. Now, former President Jimmy Carter addresses the Convention via video. Speaking about his experience as president, he says that a leader needs "integrity and an understanding of why you serve." He says Obama "puts the interests of middle class Americans above all else. ... Because of President Obama ... everyday people have a chance."
7:29 p.m. Hawaii's Tulsi Gabbard, a Captain in the Army National Guard, says President Obama is the strongest defender of military families are country could have, and will protect families of troops.
7:29 p.m. Hawaii's Tulsi Gabbard, a Captain in the Army National Guard, says President Obama is the strongest defender of military families are country could have, and will protect families of troops.
7:25 p.m. Congressman Gwen Moore of Wisconsin says she's working hard to "end violence against women." She's received the biggest ovation from the crowd yet. Republicans, she says, have tried to "change the definition of rape." President Obama and Vice President Biden are working to protect violence against women for all.
7:20 p.m. Nancy Pelosi takes the floor, to represent the Democratic women of the House. Women still make just 77 cents on every dollar that men earn.
7:10 p.m. Reid is touting Obama's accomplishments as a leader and president. Obama has taken on the "couldn'ts" and "shouldn'ts" and he has taken on the Republican party, the party of the "wouldn'ts" and "won'ts." Republicans, Reid claims, have made it their number 1 goal to make Obama a one-term president. "I watched the Tea Party take over the Republican Party ... we shouldn't let them take over the Senate and the White House." Reid calls them "extremists" and "ideologues." "If they won't stand up to Rush Limbaugh ... what would make anyone think they would stand up for you."
7:08 p.m. In the first major speech of the evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid takes the floor, Senator from Nevada.
6:55 p.m. It's Virginia governor Tim Kaine's turn to speak to the DNC. He hammers the RNC for pushing "budget busting tax cuts" and "raising taxes on the middle class" and "turning Medicare into a voucher system. "Let's be clear, that's not fiscally responsible. That's fiscally reckless and we can't afford to try it again," he tells the crowd.
6:12 p.m. Wow, Cory Booker just blew that speech out of the water.
Here are some key quotes from his bombastic speech:
"Being asked to pay your fair share isn't class warfare. It's patriotism."
"I want to tell all those people who say 'I love women,' don't tell me about it, be about it."
Newark mayor Cory Booker praises Obama for his investment in education. Huge rousing "Cory!" "Cory!"
6:08 p.m. Ashley Judd: "Rape is Rape"
Actress Ashley Judd, a Tennessee delegate at the Democratic National Convention this week, blasted Rep. Todd Akin's recent comments about rape and pregnancy.
"At any time, in any relationship, at any age, and in any place, rape is rape," the movie and television star said at the Ohio Delegation breakfast in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Judd, who earned a master's degree from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 2010, argued Akin's comments represent larger policy problems within the Republican Party.
"If we make medically accurate sex education available to boys and girls and women and men, and we make modern family planning available to them, (then) we prevent unintended pregnancy," she said. "We make the need for abortion–except in the case of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother–obsolete."
The Hollywood star has been a big surrogate for President Barack Obama, appearing for the candidate on the campaign trail this cycle, as well as in 2008.
Asked after her speech what she thought about Clint Eastwood's unusual performance at the Republican convention last week, Judd had little to say about her fellow movie star.
"You know we all have our own ways of supporting our candidates," she said.
- via CNN
5:43 p.m. Today, the U.S. national debt reached $16 trillion. Check out all the cool stats here: http://www.usdebtclock.org/
The media mocked Clint Eastwood's weird endorsement of Mitt Romney. But the actor says he meant every word — and his speech hasn't hurt the GOP. Hmmmmm
4:38 p.m. Polling woes for Obama and Romney (read full analysis here)
Will the Democratic National Convention help boost Barack Obama in the polls?
Democrats are hoping that the president fairs than his Republican rival.
New polls show that the Republican National Convention didn't do that much to boost Mitt Romney in the polls.
But there’s an even bigger take-away here that could be of solace to Dems: the Romney campaign has been considered an ad and spending machine … and the RNC was a lot of free, high-profile ad time … and it didn’t do much for Romney.
Romney has left Tampa as the official Republican nominee, but without inspiring much change in voter preferences, according to the Gallup Daily tracking poll.
In the four days before the RNC, Romney edged Obama 47% to 46%. In the four days since, those numbers have flipped — a difference well within the margin of error.
Romney is the third candidate and the first Republican since 1964 to not receive a convention bounce in the Gallup Poll, putting him in the company of George McGovern and John Kerry. As Gallup's analysis notes, this could reflect a lack of enthusiasm for Romney, disinterest in this year's festivity, or simply the diminishing role that conventions play in the campaign cycle:
"Convention bounces are an expected part of each presidential campaign, so the fact that Romney did not receive one is surely a disappointment for his campaign and his supporters. However, with Americans' engagement in elections much higher earlier on in the 2004, 2008, and 2012 elections than in prior election years, conventions may no longer serve to introduce the nominees to Americans. Rather, Americans probably already have a good sense of who the nominees are and what they would do if elected president."
Romney's small bounce should relieve Democratic concerns about any possible Romney ad edge. Let’s make it a little simpler, though: Big Convention = Lots of Free Advertising ... but the numbers didn't move that much.
4 p.m. 54% of Voters Do Not Want Obama to Win: As Barack Obama's poll numbers slide, he is looking for huge momentum from this week's Democratic National Convention to give him new life in election 2012.
So what will Obama focus on at the DNC to help his cause? Well, put simply, the economy.
On Monday, the Democratic National Committee announced the 2012 Democratic Party platform, which will be officially adopted by the delegates to the DNC Convention on Tuesday. The party platform seeks to articulate Obama’s vision for moving our country forward, especially by restoring economic security and building an economy that is built to last.
Some are wondering what the big take-away will be from DNC 2012. Obama had “hope and change” when he gave his epic Denver football stadium convention speech in 2008. But hope and change is a bit lacking in today’s political environment. The DNC is being held as a majority of voters believe the country is worse off today than it was four years ago and that Obama does not deserve reelection, according to a new poll for The Hill.
Fifty-two percent of likely voters say the nation is in “worse condition” now than in September 2008, while 54 percent say Obama does not deserve reelection based solely on his job performance.
Only 31% of voters believe the nation is in “better condition,” while 15% say it is “about the same,” the poll found. Just 40% of voters said Obama deserves reelection.
Last week, the Republican National Convention looked to push the motto “a better future.”
Expect the DNC to counter that message with their own brand of what that future looks like.
The Democratic Party platform reflects President Obama’s vision for the future. Meanwhile, the Republican Party, led by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, approved a platform that supports the same top-down economic policies that some analysts say hurt the middle class and embraces extreme positions on issues and policies from Medicare to immigration to women’s health.
You can read the Democratic platform here.
3:40 p.m. The view in Charlotte, outside the DNC, courtesy of PolicyMic'r Sarah Worley:
3 p.m. Lady's Night!
On Tuesday, all eyes will be on First Lady Michelle Obama.
Much like at last week's RNC, when Mitt Romney's wife Ann Romney kicked off the Convention with a moving address about her husband, Night 1 of the Democratic National Convention will be all about women, and Michelle Obama will steal the spotlight.
The first lady will deliver her speech sometime after 10:30 p.m. before a national prime-time television audience. President Obama will be watching from afar; he's staying in Washington with daughters Sasha and Malia, who begin school this week. "I hope they watch [my speech] at home. But if there's homework, I'm not going to get too upset about that," Michelle told Entertainment Tonight.
As for what to expect from the First Lady's remarks, Politico reports that Michelle won't be taking on the GOP in her speech. "[W]hen Mrs. Obama addresses the convention tonight, her message will not be notably different from Mrs. Romney's in Tampa, where the GOP met last week. She will try to illuminate her husband as president, explaining why he made certain decisions as president, what drives him and how he sees the next four years evolving."
"We have always structured our lives where our kids come first and their involvement in politics is at their own discretion. They're living normal teenage lives and that's exactly how Barack and I would want it," she said.
Michelle is likely to focus on President Obama's personal side, including Barack's childhood and his grandmother's struggles in a male-dominated career. In a bid to appeal to young people and present the Obamas as distinctly more "average" than the Romneys, she is also likely to discuss how the couple's college loans combined were more than their mortgage.
Michelle has emerged as the centerpiece of President Obama's reelection campaign, particularly as Obama tries to hold onto women voters, a group he held back in 2008. During her first term in the White House, Michelle has taken up childhood obesity and supporting military families as her primary causes, but she's weighed in on a number of other core issues to the campaign. Since May 2011, she's appeared at 77 fundraisers, an average of five per month, and her events draw thousands in the audience.
2:45 p.m. Mitt Romney today made the following statement on the Democratic Party removing pro-Israel language from its platform:
“It is unfortunate that the entire Democratic Party has embraced President Obama’s shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Four years of President Obama’s repeated attempts to create distance between the United States and our cherished ally have led the Democratic Party to remove from their platform an unequivocal acknowledgment of a simple reality. As president, I will restore our relationship with Israel and stand shoulder to shoulder with our close ally.”
1:36 p.m. USA Today: Michelle Obama tops 5 things to watch at the DNC: Democrats kick off their three-day convention celebrating all things Barack Obama with remarks tonight from his more popular and better half: First lady Michelle Obama. … Here is our guide to the five things to watch for Tuesday, Sept. 4:
1) Look for Michelle Obama to talk about how the president's policies are moving the country forward, even in the face of a slow economic recovery. Unlike Ann Romney, who helped soften her spouse's edges at last week's GOP convention, the first lady doesn't need to dwell much on the president as a husband and a father. With two-thirds of Americans holding a favorable view of Michelle Obama, she has proven to be a positive force for the White House.
2) Political parties like to spotlight their up-and-comers at these events, so Democrats turned to San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to deliver tonight's keynote address. It's the same task that fell to Barack Obama in 2004. Castro and his identical twin brother, Joaquin, share this with the president: They were also raised by a single mother and earned Harvard law degrees.
3) There will be plenty of videos shown at the convention, highlighting issues such as pay equity for women and immigration. Two big Democratic names get their own screen time tonight: former President Jimmy Carter will tout Obama's presidency and another film will be devoted to the legacy of senator and presidential mentor Edward Kennedy, who died in 2009.
4) The Democratic Party's diversity will be on display at practically every turn. In addition to Castro, rising stars of color speaking on Opening Day include Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, California Attorney General Kamala Harris and congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth.
5) What, exactly, do delegates do at political conventions besides hear speeches and nominate their choice for president? The party's platform, including planks endorsing same-sex marriage and abortion rights, will be formally adopted. Newark (N.J.) Mayor Cory Booker is charged with presenting the party platform. New Jersey pols are salivating at the prospect of a 2013 governor's race between GOP incumbent Chris Christie and Booker.
12:52 p.m. The 4 Groups of Voters President Obama Must Win Over This Week: A great analysis from PM pundit Mythili Sampathkumar:
On the heels of the RNC, comes the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina this week. One of the goals of the RNC last week was to make Mitt Romneyseem more human and more likable. They may have achieved more with this CBS News video; it is well produced and highlights the Romney family, throughout their six years of campaigning. Unfortunately the video was not aired during the one hour of prime time coverage, pre-empted by "Eastwooding."
Now at the DNC, Democrats have the opportunity to paint their own picture of Mitt Romney. I do not expect the tone of the convention to be as personally critical as the RNC was of Obama. I think the critiques of Romney will be slightly more veiled and should, ideally for Democrats, be made in a way that highlight the accomplishments of the Obama administration in great detail.
Conventions not only serve to rile up the base but as a re-introduction of the candidate to independent and undecided voters. My feeling is that the DNC will need to paint a picture of the administration while simultaneously shaping the image they want people to see of Romney. It could be an outright criticism of Paul Ryan's budget or how Romney is "out of touch," but I think that would be a mistake. The images will have to be shaped in a very specific way, highlighting proposed policies and accomplishments. If the latter path is chosen, I believe it will be done through appealing to the following groups of voters:
1. Soldiers, military families, and supporters.
Obama, and likely other speakers, will surely speak about Afghanistan, which Romney and Ryan avoided during the RNC. There has to be some acknowledgement of the war, the lives lost, and the continued sacrifices made by military families. The war will also need to be put in a political and economical context, highlighting how Romney feels about armed conflict, his defense spending proposals, and most importantly, a clear articulation of what Obama plans on doing in Afghanistan in 2014. The DNC will also have to highlight the end of combat operations in Iraq.
2. Senior Citizens.
Health care reform was Obama's baby during the past four years, often behaving like a petulant child. Vice President Biden may be the president's most important face in appealing to senior citizen voters, and their caregivers, facing the challenges of illness and Medicare. On September 2, Biden coined the phrase "vouchercare" to describe the Romney/Ryan alternative to Medicare. That is their ticket to painting Romney with the "out of touch" brush and making the GOP look like an insensitive party to the needs of older Americans.
3. Low and middle income voters.
As the crowd at the RNC had some of the biggest cheers for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Democrats should take note to appeal to voters belonging to labor unions and blue collar voters in general: They are the workforce that make this country run and should be treated as such. Biden can help, but the real task is outlining specific tax policies affecting middle class workers. Real numbers will need to be shown and there needs to be the undertone that Professor Obama is better than CEO Romney. Obama has to show that running this country like a company will result in workers losing their jobs and unemployment benefits, like a CEO would cut overhead and 'unnecessary' costs.
Ann and Mitt Romney did what they could to appeal to women and may have gained some ground by showing the 'family man' side of Mitt and trotting out female governors like Nikki Haley and Susana Martinez. Gone were the cringe-worthy images of Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, and Michele Bachmann. However, the DNC will need to hit home the specific health care initiatives Obamacare has achieved for women. The GOP's proposed policies and general perceived attitudes towards women will most likely be played up. Most importantly, I think Romney will need to be vilified with the issue of equal pay.
Attacking Romney personally, as Obama was attacked during the RNC, will likely not be the best approach. The attack will seem harsh and it won't help the administration give the right answer to the question which they seem to be repeatedly be caught flat footed on: Are we better off than we were four years ago?
The DNC will have to show how these our groups of voters are better off now and how they will continue to improve only if Obama is re-elected.
12:24 p.m. From BuzzFeed. Wow:
12:04 p.m. Julián Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, Will Speak Right Before Michelle Obama Tonight (just after 10 p.m.). He is the first Latino keynote speaker:
11:56 a.m. Post DNC 2012 Jobs Report Will Make or Break President Obama: PM Editor Alex Marin reports:
The 2012 Democratic National Convention kicks off this Tuesday from Charlotte, North Carolina, with the incumbent party scrambling to make the case for another four more years in the Oval Office, amid an electorate frustrated at the president's slow economic recovery but not ready yet to trust a Republican challenger perceived as an out of touch millionaire. However, this could change this Friday when the monthly job numbers are set to come out.
While the Republicans had hurricane Isaac looming threateningly over their National Convention, Obama and the Democrats will have the prospect of the August job figures hovering over their Charlotte gathering as speakers First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and Keynote Speaker San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro -- among others -- make the case against what they describe as the Republican's failed policies of the past.
Republican challenger Mitt Romney is understandably salivating over the prospect of pounding Obama for yet another disappointing jobs report as the president tries to capitalize on his convention's message of "sticking with him," and the honest -- yet worn out -- argument that he inherited the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Regardless of Friday's number, the jobs report will immediately turn the focus away from the "forward-looking" message Obama will deliver in Charlotte, as the successes that the president rightfully will highlight at the DNC -- health care, reproductive and gay rights, foreign policy and immigration -- will be outshined by the sobering economic indicators that month after a month have been chipping away at the president's job performance -- leaving him locked, as a result, in a tight battle against a Republican challenger without a clear economic plan for how to turn the economy around.
Obama is expected to address the job figures at the start of a three-day trip campaign during which spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the president will focus on explaining the difference between his plan and Romney’s. “We have long said we want the economic recovery to move faster, and the president has laid out steps to make that happen, but without a plan for the middle class and a sole focus on extending tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires, the Romney-Ryan ticket doesn’t have a lot to offer working families regardless of the jobs numbers,” Psaki said.
Conversely, expect Romney, who has consistently polled higher than the president in what voters think would be his handling of the economy, to further indict Obama with accusations of supposed attacks on the private enterprise and small businesses as evidence that voters need to change the occupant of the White House come November.
The July jobs figures, which were better than expected as they added 163,000 private sector jobs, offer a hint of how Mitt Romney will react on Friday. Since the unemployment rate ticked up from 8.2% to 8.3%, the former governor of Massachusetts and CEO of Bain Capital, blasted the report as “another hammer blow to the struggling middle-class families of America.”
Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said the campaign will use the jobs numbers to remind voters of Obama’s economic record, including the August 2011 jobs report, which counted zero new jobs. “Barack Obama is the first president in modern history to preside over a net job loss, and we intend to highlight the failure of his economic policies during and after the convention,” Williams said.
Expectations are the August numbers won’t be much different than July’s, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. He predicted BLS will report August job growth was around 150,000 jobs. Whether the unemployment rate will tick up or down is yet to be seen.