Welcome to the WSN Liveblog of the Democratic National Convention, where we’ll be bringing you the latest from Charlotte, North Carolina. On tonight’s schedule are Nancy Pelosi, Bill Clinton, and many more, including Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, rumoured to be leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Convention Chair Antonio Villaraigosa will preside over the convention as delegates vote for the Democratic Party Candidate for President of the United States. My name is Margaret Eby and Mitchell Kapoor and I will be taking you through the big ticket events here on the third day of the convention. Coverage continues until 11 pm, so get comfortable as we commence our live coverage!
With 2931 votes and push from the Ohio delegates, Barack Obama clinches the nomination.
Thanks so much for joining us this 5 of September for the Live Blog of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. This is Margaret Eby, signing off.
“If you want a ‘we’re all in this together’ society, vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. If you want every American to vote, and you don’t want new regulations to prevent poor, elderly, or young voters from casting their ballot, vote for Barack Obama. I love our country, and I know it’s coming back… We always come back- we come through every fire a little stronger, a little better. If that is what you believe, you must vote for Barack Obama!” President Clinton finishes his speech to huge cheers, and after a brief closing statement from Villaraigosa and a resounding vote of confidence from the delegates, the convention is ended for the evening.
Clinton summarizes the GOP convention’s argument for the Romney campaign- “We made a mess, (Obama) didn’t clean it up fast enough, so you should put us back in charge!” He compares the crisis of the early 90s to the struggles of today- ‘some people can’t feel (the assistance) yet… but listen to me- no one, not any of my predecessors, could have fixed the massive damage that Obama inherited. But he has laid plans for an economic comeback- and if you renew his contract, you will feel it!” Clinton is now making only the second reference we’ve heard this evening to creating a greener economy- all the same, the figures he’s using are impressive (renewable energy use doubled in the last four years). Although the environment has always been a strong issue for the Democrats, it seems to have a taken a backseat to social issues in this election.
President Bill Clinton finally takes the stage to huge cheers and announces that he wants a man who is “cool on the outside, but burns for America on the inside… I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama!” Clinton finally announces Obama as the official presidential nominee for the Democratic Party, and from the cheers you never could have guessed he was a shoe-in. Clinton bemoans the lack of bipartisanship and says that in his job, “I frequently don’t know who I’m working with, because we’re too busy trying to solve the problem to think about politics!.. Why does it make sense to cooperate? Because no one is right all the time, and a broken clock is only right twice a day! Just in this last year, the Republican party has thrown out two of their congressmen simply for daring to realize they didn’t have to hate the President to disagree with him!” Clinton goes on to discuss Obama’s track record of naming Republican candidates to high-ranking positions. He also commends his wife for showing the world that ‘democracy doesn’t have to be a blood sport, it can be a noble enterprise’- unfortunately Hillary Clinton could not make the convention as she is mid-way through an Asian tour and is currently meeting with leaders in East Timor.
Elizabeth Warren, Democratic candidate for Senator of Massachusetts takes the stage to thunderous applause and shouts of ‘War-ren! War-ren!’. She begins by telling her all-American story of her life as a waitress with brothers running small businesses and joining the military. She talks of her belief in an America in which ‘each generation built something solid, so the next generation could build something better.’ One of Warren’s favorite lines throughout the campaign has been that ‘Obama is a fighter for the middle class’. She continues in this vein, listing the problems facing today’s middle class, the hard lifestyles that many Americans live, and the revolution America undertook at the beginning of the last century- ending child labor, creating regulations for food and drugs, and defeating the greed running rampant through the country. Warren says that Obama seeks to ‘level the playing field’- and Romney’s plan will hike middle class taxes almost $2,000. The crowd goes wild with every criticism Warren throws at the Romney campaign and the Republican platform. For the most part, this is a recap of the speakers we’ve heard tonight- calls for equal pay, investment in education, a more honest banking system, and more support for the middle class. “We don’t run this country for corporations- we run it for people. And that’s why we need Barack Obama.”
Rep. Chris Van Hollen goes after Rep. Ryan for claiming that Obama doesn’t have a plan- “That’s just not the truth. Obama does have a plan, they just don’t like it”. He references the Romney/Ryan plan to cut education and taxes for the rich- “They call their plan bold, brave, and courageous. Is it brave to raise money on the backs of middle class families? Is it brave to cut Medicare for seniors?” Activist Sandra Fluke now takes the stage to campaign for ‘a President who stands for all women’. Fluke speaks after a controversial tweet from Ann Coulter mocking the Georgetown graduate and activist for her stance on contraception and women’s sexual health and suggesting intimate relations between Fluke and Bill Clinton, who is scheduled to speak later in the evening.
A video depicting the personal and economic effects of the auto industry’s downturn in Michigan shows the change in perspective when Obama came to the aid of the industry. “We came back with a vengeance” said one worker. Karen Eusanio, a second generation GM worker and member of the United Auto Workers, speaks about how Obama “didn’t think about the economics, or the politics- he thought about the people… Today, I’m back at work, building cars for the future. President Obama has the same work ethic as the workers at GM, and the valley is thriving again.” This is clearly an issue that resonates with the crowd, as many tear-stained faces are shown and the screams are deafening. Bob King, United Auto Workers President, discusses the great strides workers’ rights have made since unions were created. “I am proud to be a union member- and thanks to President Obama, the auto industry is leading the economic recovery!”
The tone of the convention now turns to business, with a ringing endorsement both for Obama and his White House-brewed beer from a small business owner. Then Benita Veliz speaks again about Obama’s support for the DREAM Act and her own struggles for citizenship, through graduating as valedictorian at her high school at 16 and graduating with a double major at 20. She introduces Cristina Saralegui- “Muchos Gracias, Benita. Muchos Gracias, to all of you dreamers”. Saralegui’s parents fled from Cuba and made America their new home- ‘where it doesn’t matter if you drink cafe con leche or coffee with milk, if you work hard you can make it’. The speakers are trying to stress the importance of this election and the issues at stake in this 2012 election- Saralegui insists that the 2012 election is even more important than the 2008 election.
Governor Jack Markell- “I am a proud, card-carrying capitalist! I believe in private equity! But as someone who has been a business man and an investor, just because Mitt Romney was a good executive doesn’t mean he deserves to be president… Being a businessperson is about learning lessons. Mitt Romney learned all the wrong lessons.” Markell finally brings the campaigns head-to-head with a direct address of Romney’s self-professed strong points- experience in business and capitalism. Nonetheless, Markell says, “Obama made the tough call and saved the auto industry”. More references to the middle class as the backbone of the country and saving jobs- the story of how Markell saved a refinery from closing draws cheers. A claim that Mitt Romney ‘likes to fire people’ draws boos just as loud.
The title of the next video is ‘American Heroes: Veterans’. Ed Meagher, a Vietnam veteran, speaks about welcoming the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans home, the way he never was. He stresses the importance of creating a support network for incoming veterans. “We’ve helped them type up resumes, taught them to use computers to help with job searches… The Obama administration has hired more mental health specialists to help veterans deal with PTSD and suicide prevention. Obama declared the treatment of Vietnam veterans a national tragedy and said two sweet words- Welcome Home.”
Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, on the reforms the Romney/Ryan ticket would make to women’s health programs- “It’s like we’re stuck in a bad episode of Mad Men! We’re going to keep moving forward, and we’re going to re-elect Barack Obama!” Richards leaves the stage to “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” and Rep. Steny Hoyer takes the stage and thanks Obama for revitalizing American industry.
Simply a video of Obama discussing the new standards of health care in the U.S. gets the crowd screaming. Elizabeth Bruce, a woman suffering from Endometriosis, gives her account of the life-changing health care provided to her by Planned Parenthood. “Im here tonight for my daughter, to stand up for her, so that when she grows up, Planned Parenthood will be there too.”
A Gospel choir takes the stage and gets the crowd on their feet. Outside the convention, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand shares that she will be on the Daily Show w/ Jon Stewart after the speeches. She tweeted, “I was so proud to stand w/my fellow women Democratic Senators on the #DNC2012 stage tonight in support of @Barack Obama’s re-election!”.
Governor Jim Hunt welcome everyone to his state. “I retired from politics, but I came back because I know that a good education is necessary for success- and I want to make sure every child in this state has a good education! We raised teacher standards, and we raised teachers’ pay by 35% in just four years! We should appreciate them, we should respect them, and we should pay them well!” Hunt references the Smart Start program, and the high graduation rates of recent high school classes.
“No one has more stake in this election than children. If countries like China out-educate us today, they’ll out-perform us tomorrow.” Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education, paints a grim picture of American education under Romney. “Romney sees education as an expense- Obama sees it as an investment”. Duncan finishes his speech and cheers of ‘Four More Years!’ fill the stadium.
“We democrats believe in family responsibility, not family bankruptcy! Because of Obama’s leadership, being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition.” Mikulski ends her speech with a message of support for military families and leaves the stage to massive applause.
A video to the song of ‘A Woman’s Voice’ shows female Senators interacting in their communities to the lyrics ‘the hand that rocks the cradle/is the hand that rocks the world’. This is followed by a gathering onstage of the Senators shown, while they are introduced by a voice extolling their courage and strength in their political exploits. Senator Barbara Mikulski finally comes onstage, high-fives her colleagues, and begins a speech with the great improvements in womens’ presence in Washington DC.
Update – 7:25
Thanks, Mitchell! Pelosi lists the issues ‘on the ballot’- Medicare, Social Security, and the hard-fought right of women. ‘It’s just plain wrong’ becomes a mantra repeated by the crowd as Pelosi describes the war on these issues waged by Republicans. “We believe in the government of the many, not the privilege of the few. American Democracy is on the ballot… vote for the American Dream. Vote for Vice President Joe Biden, and President Barack Obama!” Pelosi leaves the stage to ‘It’s a Beautiful Day’ by U2, outspoken supporters of Obama.
Update – 7:19 PM ET
And as former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi walks out onto the stage, I hand it back to Margaret. Thanks so much for reading on as I covered the DNC!
Update – 7:13 PM ET
Denise Juneau, Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, pushes President Obama’s view on education and its importance. “President Obama knows that the value of education is not just in the calculations they solve.”
Update – 7:02 PM ET
There it is again, another Democrat, this time Governor Dan Malloy from Connecticut, proclaims that President Obama has created 4.5 million jobs while in office. Democrats love to state such a gaudy number because it sounds so enticing to the average American, but it’s really quite misleading. The number removes the hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs that have been cut in a nationwide government budget curtailing. The result is that Obama has a net negative on jobs since his introduction in office, something you will see Republicans go after over and over again as the campaign pushes closer to a finish.
Update – 6:57 PM ET
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver from Missouri just stole the show. A fiery passionate speech has resulted in the entire convention being on their feet. “We may be black, we may be yellow, but we are one!”
Update – 6:41 PM ET
The chairmen of the Congressional Black Caucus step out onto the stage to a loud applause, affirming the strength of African-American voters in the Democratic Party. Also, Representative Karen Bass just brought up a very important point of this election.
During the past year over half the Union have passed laws that require a valid state I.D. upon voting (almost all by Republican-controlled states), which estimates say will disenfranchise nearly twenty million voters, and of those, mostly minorities, the poor, the old, and the young, all very weak voter bases for the GOP. Republicans say its just to stop voter fraud, even though studies, like the one conducted by Carnegie-Knight News21 Program, have found voter fraud is nearly nonexistent. And when Republican Congressman Mike Turzai proclaimed this infamous quote that voter I.D. would “allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania”, it appeared that the laws are for a much more sinister purpose: disenfranchisement of Americans.
Update – 6:36 PM ET
Too often it appears that politicians, Democrat and Republican alike, don’t understand how the judicial system should work. New York Senator Charles Schumer stated that Mitt Romney would appoint ultra-conservative judges to the Supreme Court. When Presidents are able to elect judges that will simply help them change what they don’t like, there’s an issue with the very foundation of the American government, and it’s not just a partisan one: the checks and balances.
Update – 6:29 PM ET
And just after the Convention finishes endorsing Obama’s energy plan, it stops for the Official Convention Photograph. Everyone must stand still for one minute as picture after picture are taken. A strange sight, to say the least, for those who aren’t familiar with these conventions.
Update – 6:20 PM ET
The Convention’s focus shifts to energy, and Obama’s goal to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and move the country to more self-sufficient fuels such as natural gas, and solar power and other renewable resources.
While it all sounds good in practice, the record of those investments Obama has made in renewable energy, and solar specifically, has been weak enough that Obama’s record in sustainable fuel is something even Republicans can use to their advantage.
The collapse in companies Solyndra, Inc. and Abound, Inc. has raised concerns over whether the continued subsidies and investments are just money poorly spent. It’s certainly an interesting topic, and one that should be touched on more than it currently is.
Update – 6:17 PM ET
New York Congressman Steve Israel attacks Republicans over the “War on Women”. All campaign long, Democrats have harped on the Republicans stances on rape, abortion, and the Fair Pay Act, which Democrats say has helped women achieve equal pay as men in equal jobs. Republicans have been sensitive over their views on abortion and rape, especially since it distracts them from being able to focus on the economy under Obama’s tutelage, which they think is their best chance at keeping Obama to one term. Israel said it best for the Democrats: “They tried to redefine rape.”
Update – 6:06 PM ET
Hey guys! I’m Mitchell Kapoor and I’ll be taking over for some time and continuing the WSN coverage of the Democratic National Convention.
Update – 5:45
Judy Chu, the first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress, continues with the theme of immigrant relations by opening with the story of her grandfather’s struggle as an immigrant to the US. “It was the American dream that kept him going, to lift up our family. President Obama wants to assure that the American Dream is available to all families. The American Dream is why Obama has done what no presidency has been able to- healthcare for all Americans!” A jibe at the Republicans who coined the phrase ‘Obamacare’- “It’s perfect because Obama cares!”.
Update – 5:38
Tom Menino, Mayor of Boston, declares Mitt Romney’s values ‘not from Boston’. “Do you know what we call our immigrants in Boston? Mom and Dad. Do you know what we call same-sex couples? Our friends.” Menino says that the bad policies Romney enacted in Boston will only be re-applied to the entire country. When Romney was governor of MA, it was 47th out of 50 states in job creation. “Mitt Romney talked last week about broken promises. Well, he would know.” The crowd shouts “No!” when Menino asks if they want to go back to Romney-style, trickle down wealth.
Update – 5:27
Representative Dianna DeGette of Colorado comes to podium. “The Romney-Ryan ticket promises to cut Planned Parenthood funding- which provides breast cancer screenings, contraception, and women’s reproductive health resources… ‘It’s the economy!’ they cry- but when they deny women’s access to birth control, it hits women families and families right in the pocketbook. Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan, the women of America have a message for you- we’re not going back!”
After a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the National Anthem, Representative Luis V. Gutierrez takes the stage. He takes an immediate stand on illegal immigrants: ‘We call them dreamers because they want to take their shot at they American Dream. Many of these people want to join the armed forces. They are American in every way- except on paper… Obama is protecting immigrants- Mitt Romney wants them to self-deport. Whether they reach their dreams- or Mitt Romney turns their dreams to nightmares.’
Update- 5:03 pm
The Time Warner Cable arena continues to fill as the crowd strikes up a cheer of ‘Hubba Bubba’ (a reference to Bill Clinton, expected to speak later in the evening). Antonio Villaraigosa welcomes the crowd and speakers. Ted Strickland puts forward an amendment to the party platform making Jerusalem the official capitol of Israel- Villaraigosa has some trouble making out the loudest response, but finally concludes that the ayes have the majority and the amendment is made.
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