It's really exciting to be here in Denver and be witness to such a historic event. Everyone seems really energized and optimistic about the chance to elect Barack Obama as our next President. Here are some thoughts from the convention's first day and a look ahead to the rest of the week. At the bottom of my post are answers to some of the questions you've asked me about the convention. Keep it coming. Use the comments section below to let me know what you want to hear about from Denver.
There is a very small group of Hillary fanatics that walk the street and shout "No We Won't." But those I've talked to here view them as loonies. I decided to actually approach them and ask them why they are doing this, and if they are actually prepared to vote for John McCain over Obama. I was told that that is just what they intend to do. I said, "you obviously don't care about Roe v. Wade or a women's right to choose or replacing Stevens and Ginsburg with more Scalias and Thomas'. You can't really care about our health care system and you must prefer tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans as opposed to
financially helping the middle class."
I was told Barack's really not in favor of choice for women and all that talk about judges has been heard before. I was told there was no difference between Barack and McCain. I wondered if these women read newspapers and blogs or watched television news. Well, this is America and everyone is entitled to their opinion, no matter how uninformed and misguided it may be. However, I truly believe that once the stark differences between Barack and McCain on issues of import to women are highlighted, the overwhelming majority of Hillary supporters will come around.
I am concerned with something that I was told by a Congresswoman --- that Hillary and Bill will leave Denver after Bill's speech on Wednesday night and won't stay to hear Barack accept the nomination on Thursday. That does not look good and sends the wrong message to Hillary supporters. I'd much prefer to see Hillary and Bill, standing and applauding as Barack accepts the party's nomination.
There are a plethora of entertainment stars at the convention. Monday night, I saw Tony Bennett, James Taylor and John Legend at a salute to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Bono is having a star-studded event on Wednesday night. I'm told by reliable sources that the Republicans are having a difficult time attracting any A-list entertainers to their Convention next week in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Maybe Jim Nabors is available.
While walking down the 16th Street Mall, I came upon Vice Presidential nominee Joe Biden, chowing down on barbeque while dining outside and greeting well-wishers. He is truly a man of the people and will help Barack gain the support of blue-collar workers.
The most anticipated speech (other than Barack's acceptance) is Bill Clinton's on Wednesday night. He is well aware of the damage that was done to his reputation and legacy during the primary. His speech Wednesday night is his chance on the biggest possible stage to rehabilitate that reputation. While one can fairly predict what Hillary will say Tuesday night, Bill's remarks are the subject of much conjecture. Every speech has been reviewed and vetted by the Obama campaign, but as of this writing no one has seen the remarks of the former President. He will be followed by Biden. It's widely known that these two leaders are two of the most verbose in politics, so "overtime" may be in order.
I think our many hometown favorites who spoke on the first night did us proud. Obviously, the highlight was the wonderful Michelle Obama, who showed the world why she is so special.
She painted a wonderful picture of growing up in Chicago, the trials, tribulations and triumphs of her life here. She was talking to people, not at them, and was unveiling herself in the process. The objective of her speech was to show who she is, that she comes from a family like a lot of other American families, one that had difficulties and one from which she had to work her way up. Any doubts that people have about her love for this country are false. She may have complaints and concerns about America- and all of us do- but that has nothing to do with her love of this country and the opportunity that she and Barack got because of this country. For anyone out there who had some hesitancies or trepidations about Michelle and who she is, unless you don't have an open mind, her speech should've allayed them.
There was a tremendous amount of warmth in the hall during Michelle's speech and it ratcheted up as she went. Of course, she shared the evening with Senator Ted Kennedy, who provided the most emotional moment when he addressed the delegates. All in all, it was a perfect start to the
Convention, with smiles and tears interspersed throughout the evening.
Q: Will Obama Plug The Chicago Olympics Bid In His Speech?
I don't know, that's an interesting question. While it's Chicago's bid, the bigger picture is that it's the United States bid, too, so I wouldn't be surprised if he mentioned it. But I'll tell you who probably will: Mayor Daley. I'd be shocked if he doesn't mention it. In fact, it could be one of the main points of his speech.
Q: Did Rahm Emanuel and Dick Durbin Dress Up Like The Blues Brothers At Their Chicago Party?
There was no evidence of the Blues Brothers anywhere at the party. The highlights were the Second City comedians, who made lots of fun of Rahm and Durbin and an on-site pizza oven, which was incredibly well-received by the hungry guests. It wasn't real deep dish, but it was pretty thick crust.
Q: How Can I Get Inside The Convention
The best way is to be involved with a campaign. If you've been working hard on a campaign in advance of the convention, then you should have every right to request a credential when convention time rolls around. But the truth of the matter is, it's kind of like trying to go to a Cubs game without tickets. Say you want to go to a big game, Cubs-Brewers or Cubs-Cardinals, but don't have a ticket. Well, you go down to Wrigley, mill around, and you might be able to find yourself a ticket. If you come out to the convention, you know or get to know a few people in the delegation, I have no doubt you'll be able to get into at least some of the events.