A Library Convention
ABOVE PHOTO: FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
By the time this week's Democratic National Convention ends, those paying attention may, or amy not leave with new definitions of President Barack Obama and the man who wants to take his job.
By Denise Clay
If there were a theme for this week's Democratic Na-tional Convention in Charlotte, N.C., it would have to be the Lena Horne classic "Stormy Weather"...not only because of the torrential downpours that have met convention goers as they move through town dur-ing the day, but also because of the barn-burning speeches that they've heard throughout the night. President Barack Obama was officially made the Demo-cratic nominee for president during the convention's activities Wednesday night.
The person assigned the job of putting President Obama's name in nomination was former President Bill Clinton. The combination of Presi-dent Clinton and a live micro-phone is always an event, and to the assembled delegates and the television audience listening, his nomination speech in Charlotte was no exception.
Praising the President for his coolness under pressure, his confidence in the American Dream and his "having the good sense to marry Michelle Obama", President Clinton broke down the greatest hits of the Obama Administration and encouraged the audience to make sure that he gets a second term. With a mix of statistics and homespun talk, President Clinton praised President Obama while burying his Repub-lican opponents Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
While he admits that there's improvement to be made on the economy, and knows that there's more to be done, President Obama has achieved a lot, considering the mess he was left four years ago.It was a situation to which President Clinton could relate. When he took the oath of office in 1993, the economy was in bad shape. It didn't recover right away, but when it did, it roared, he said. "But President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did," Clinton said. "No president, not me, not any of my predecessors, could have fully repaired all of the damage that he found in just four years.
But he has laid the foundation for a new, modern, successful economy of shared prosperity. And if you renew the president's contract, you will feel it. You will feel it.""We simply cannot afford to give the reigns of govern-ment to someone who will double down on Trickle Down," Clinton said. But where President Clinton hit the Republicans the hardest was in the area of health care reform, a passion that he shares with Obama. President Clinton praised the savings to Medicare that the Affordable Care Act, one of President Obama's most major achievements was able to produce.
However, during the Republican National Convention, Ryan called ACA "the biggest, coldest power play..." and said that the $716 billion it saved amounted to a raid of Medicaid. But if that dollar amount, $716 billion sounds familiar to you, it should Clinton said."When Congressman Ryan looked into that TV cam-era and attacked President Obama's Medicare savings, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry...because that $716 billion is exactly, to the dollar, the same amount of Medicare savings that he has in his own budget! You got to get to one thing: it take some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did..."
The idea was to follow President Clinton's nomination speech with a large, public rally similar to the one in Denver four years ago.But the storms that have been plaguing convention del-egates all week claimed President Obama's planned Thursday night acceptance speech at the Bank of America Stadium a casualty.
Because of threatened rains, the President's speech was moved into the Time Warner Cable Arena, the site of most of the convention's activities. Since the arena seats 15,000 instead of the 70,000 that the Bank of America Stadium holds, volun-teers, guests and community members who had been fortu-nate enough to get tickets to the speech have been left out in the rain, so to speak.
While it's a hard pill for those hoping to see the President speak to swallow, it's not a deal breaker for most, they say. Gwendolyn West-Sutton came with two of her friends from Sicklerville, N.J. to volunteer at the Democratic Nation-al Convention with the hope of seeing the President speak live. She's going to watch the speech with other volunteers as a guest at a watch party thrown by the New Jersey delegation.I'm disappointed, but I understand," she said. "I'm not mad at him.
You can't help the weather. My biggest concern is getting the president re-elected. I'm still going to work on that.""All the people here in Charlotte are here to support our party and support our president, and however we can do that and whatever that might be, that's most important for us," said Robin Gravely, a Pittsburgh native now living in Char-lotte.
To make it up to the volunteers, many of the delegations held watch parties so that they could share in some of the experience of watching the President and Vice President Joe Biden accept their nominations.
But while the Vice President is the most famous local face they'll get to see, he won't be the only one. Among the President's opening acts will be Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. Nutter, who was supposed to speak on Wednesday, was asked to move into the Thursday slot."It's a tremendous honor to even be at a convention, let alone to be asked to speak, whatever night," he said. "It's a tremendous honor for me personally, but I think more im-portantly to honor Philadelphia, and to spotlight some of the things that we're doing here and to raise awareness about out great city."
While it was seen as a swing state in the 2008 elections, conventional wisdom says that Pennsylvania is no longer in play. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the SuperPACs supporting him have pulled out of a planned advertising campaign.
But despite having a 9 percent lead at the moment, Pennsylvania's Democrats need to campaign like President Obama is behind, said former Gov. Ed Rendell. "They need to watch out for this Republican media blitz," he said. "They have enough money where they could do a big media buy toward the end of the campaign and blow us off of the map. The way that we can insulate ourselves from that is to get out and go door to door. If we do that, we can withstand the media blitz.""
I believe you run every race like it's competitive and you take nothing for granted," said State Rep. Brendan Boyle "We're not going to take this for granted." Last week's Republican National Convention lost a day due to the advent of Hurricane Isaac, a storm that brought rain to Tampa, Fla., but took its power to damage to New Orleans. However, after a week of speeches where most of the folks channeled their inner Ryan Howard, no one would have blamed Romney and Ryan if they felt like they had been hit by a hurricane.
Heck, even the late Sen. Ted Kennedy came back to smack down his former rival for the Massachusetts Senate Seat currently held by Republican Scott Brown. Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland called Romney a liar, chided him for his willingness to watch the auto industry, and the Detroit and Ohio-based jobs that would have been lost, go by the wayside, and said his vision of a more efficient Christmas would change certain traditions forever."
Mitt Romney never saw the point of building some-thing when he could profit from tearing it down," Strickland said. "If Mitt was Santa Claus, he'd fire the reindeer and out-source the elves!"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused Romney of trying to get the American people to consider him by using the old bait and switch."
Never in modern American history has a presidential candidate tried so hard to hide himself from the people he hopes to serve," Reid said. "When you look at the one tax return he has released, it's obvious why there's been only one. We learned that he pays a lower tax rate than middle-class families. We learned he chose Swiss Bank accounts and Cay-man Island tax shelters over American institutions.
And we can only imagine what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the American people a dozen years of tax returns, like his father did..."
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick told Democrats that it was time to stop letting the president and his achievements get knocked around."We shape our own future," he said. "Let's start by stand-ing up for President Barack Obama.
The list of accomplish-ments is long, impressive and barely told even more so when you consider that congressional Republicans have made obstruction itself the centerpiece of their governing strategy. I will not stand by and let him be bullied out of office, and neither should you."Even San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, the keynote speaker for the first night of the convention, took a swing, albeit a polite one...."
Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn't get it," he said. "A few months ago he visited a university in Ohio and gave the students there a little entrepreneurial advice. 'Start a business' he said.
But how? 'Borrow money if you have to from your parents' he told them. Gee, why didn't I think if that? Some people are lucky enough to borrow money from their parents, but that shouldn't determine whether you can pursue your dreams. I don't think Gov. Romney meant any harm. I think he's a good guy. He just has no idea how good he's had it."
But the batter that whacked a Grand Slam that first night didn't even mention Romney or Ryan's names. She didn't have to.First Lady Michelle Obama delivered a speech that had everyone, including President Clinton, singing her praises.
During her speech, Michelle told the audience that they should continue to believe in and trust her husband because he's proven just how honorable a man he is because of what he's had to face since taking office four years ago."
After so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn't change who you are, it reveals who you are."
And what she's seen is a man who is worthy of the trust that's already been placed in him... and should be given that trust for another four years, Michelle Obama said."I love that we can trust Barack to do what he says he's going to do, even when it's hard...especially when it's hard," she said. "I love that for Barack to do what he says he's go-ing to do, even when it's hard...especially when it's hard.
I love that for Barack there is no such thing as "us" and "them", he doesn't care whether you're a Democrat, a Republican, or none of the above...he knows that we all love our country and he's always ready to listen to good ideas... he's always looking for the best in everyone he meets."Election Day is Nov. 6.
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