"Delegates in Denver are nervous as cats on a hot tin roof. We are even with McCain and we should be 10-15 points ahead at this point," exclaimed Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. The former chair of the Democratic National Committee during the 2000 presidential election, speaking at my Johns Hopkins University SAIS Center on Politics and Foreign Relations/Financial Times breakfast at the Denver Press Club this morning, feels "Barack hasn't closed the sale yet. In the end Barack has to close the deal."
Rendell, a strong supporter of Senator Hillary Clinton during the primary season this year, said "Obama doesn't need big rallies of 25, 000 guests. We need to find the tepid votes and need to have town meetings with questions and answers with average voters."
The former mayor of Philadelphia says he is putting all his efforts into electing Obama president and was predicting an Obama win in his state of Pennsylvania and will win the presidency nationwide by 52-48% in the fall.
Although he was one of Clinton's strongest supporters and says he is glad her name is being put into nomination he says it is wrong for supporters of Hillary to vote for McCain or sit out this presidential election. He told these voters who may not feel like going to the polls to vote for Obama to think of their children and grandchildren's future. The governor told our audience of ambassadors, several foreign ministers and national and international journalists that voting for McCain will impact on poor choices for the Supreme Court, for no universal health care and for no resolution of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Saying "Hillary supports Obama and so do I" the governor of Pennsylvania encourages all Democrats and all possible voters to think of the future. Rendell feels when they do that they will realize that they have no choice but to vote for Obama.
Governor Rendell told our audience that "Obama's two problems are "the disaffected Clinton voters and the white working class voters, but these are both resolvable problems". Proclaiming that "white blue-collar voters-the Reagan Democrats, are not inclined to vote for Obama" at this time but that can be changed by getting out Obama's economic plans to the voters. "Voters who are scared about the economy also worry about niche issues like guns, social and cultural concerns. Obama will connect with voters on the important issue of health and health care."
While Obama may now have rock star status the governor said, "When Hillary came into Pennsylvania you would have thought it was Brad Pitt coming to visit in our working class neighborhoods."
Rendell indicated that Obama needs to have this appeal to the so-called Reagan Democrats in order to pull off the victory that he feels will happen in the fall.
Rendell predicts the Republican Convention next month will be all about patriotism and that the Democrats and, "Obama needs to get out front on this issue during the remaining days of the convention in Denver."
While almost all of the delegates at the convention feel Obama/Biden will be the winning ticket, many of them seem to agree with the sentiments of the Pennsylvania governor and worry about a loss of momentum and also wonder why polls are almost even now with McCain. There seems to be a feeling that something is missing--possibly the initial excitement Obama generated in the primaries-and the delegates want to have this excitement back in the campaign.
After the Clintons give their talks everyone can finally stop talking about them and move on to giving all their support to the Obama/Biden ticket. Winning in November is a lot more important to all these delegates than working to help the Clintons' feel better. The Clinton's and their still starry-eyed supporters should say let's do all we can to elect Obama and stop sulking.
Rendell talked about what he felt was the unfair media coverage of Hillary during the primaries and about the "media's love affair with Obama" during the primary/caucus season. "Barack got an incredibly free ride during the primaries," stated Rendell, saying "it wasn't their finest hour for the media in their coverage of Hillary in the primaries."
But the governor said it is time to move on and put all our time and attention into electing the Obama/Biden ticket and assured our audience at the Denver Press Club that the Clinton's will be working as hard as they can to do just this.
The discussion at the end of the governors' talk was some skepticism about how hard the Clintons will actually work to elect the Democratic ticket.
Delegates at the convention are nervous. They are anxious and apprehensive--they know Obama will win in the fall but there is some serious concern on how this will be accomplished.
Obama needs to explain "where's the beef" in his economic and foreign policy plans to get rid of the anxiety and apprehensiveness that now exists. The senator from Illinois can make this happen with a specific and detailed talk on Thursday. This is what the delegates in Denver are expecting to bring the magic back!
For more Huffington Post coverage of the Democratic National Convention, visit our Politics @ the DNC page, our Democratic Convention Big News Page, and our HuffPost bloggers' Twitter feed, live from Denver.
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