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September 3, 2014

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September 5, 2012

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Inside Game

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Inside Game

Workers clean up to prepare for tonight's program in the Time Warner Cable Arena. The threat of severe weather has moved Thursday night's program into the arena as well. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

The CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing is being published from the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week. For more information on signing up to receive this free email, click here.

THE PODIUM: The story of the day is that the podium will stay inside for tomorrow night’s Obama and Biden speeches. Convention organizers say they’ve decided the odds of intense thunderstorms in prime time are too strong to risk having the convention finale at Charlotte’s open-air football field; Republicans say the move is more because the Democrats were embarrassingly far away from filling the 74,000 seats in Bank of America Stadium.

The convention’s middle session convenes at 5 inside the 21,000-seat Time Warner Cable Arena for six straight hours of speeches reflecting all the constituencies and agendas of the party — climaxing with the party’s surrogate-speechmaker-in-chief. Bill Clinton will take the stage at 10:30 and is supposed to finish formally nominating his best frenemy before the end of prime time. After that, a ceremonial roll call of the states will last well past midnight before Obama as officially acclaimed the party’s 2012 standard-bearer. (Amazingly, the scheduled benediction afterward is to be offered by Monica Lewinsky’s childhood rabbi, David Wolpe of Temple Sinai in L.A.)

Full story

For Barack Obama, it’s Never Been About ‘Better Off’

For Barack Obama, its Never Been About Better Off

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Obama campaign and its chief surrogates have spent the week here cleaning up a mess from the Sunday talk shows, when they collectively declined to answer “yes” to the question: Are Americans better off than they were four years ago?

Answering this question in the affirmative is standard practice for a president running for re-election — regardless of the circumstances he finds himself in. Vice President Joseph Biden tried to reset the campaign’s answer on Monday by telling a crowd at a rally in Detroit: “If you want to know whether we’re better off, I got a bumper sticker for you: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!”

By the end of the Labor Day holiday, everyone on team Obama was with the program, and in the two days since, the president’s supporters have told anyone who asks — or who will listen — that Americans are better off today than they were four years ago. But that has never been President Barack Obama’s re-election message, nor his argument for why he deserves a second term. And it still isn’t.

Full story

Weather Forces Barack Obama’s Speech Indoors

Weather Forces Barack Obamas Speech Indoors

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Democratic officials announced today that President Barack Obama’s nomination acceptance speech scheduled for Thursday has been moved from Bank of America Stadium to Time Warner Cable Arena because of anticipated thunderstorms.

Full story

September 4, 2012

Democrats Hammer Mitt Romney for Quote He Never Said

Democrats Hammer Mitt Romney for Quote He Never Said

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was among those who hammered Mitt Romney for words he didn't say or write. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — From dawn to dusk on the first day of the Democratic National Convention, Democratic leaders seemingly used Mitt Romney’s own words against him in front of delegations and national television audiences.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, echoing others, described Romney tonight in his speech as “a person who said in four words, ‘Let Detroit go bankrupt.’”

Except Romney never said or wrote it.

The source of the quote is a November 2009 op-ed Romney wrote in the New York Times. The editorial Romney wrote is not nearly as definitive as that headline, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

Full story

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Vision Revision

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Vision Revision

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, does her podium walk-through before speaking at the convention tonight. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing is being published from the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week. For more information on signing up to receive this free email, click here.

THE PODIUM: The Democratic National Convention will convene at 5, the gavel wielded by national party chairwoman and Florida House member Debbie Wasserman Schultz. (It’s the party’s 47th convention, but only the fifth in the South; Republicans have won the presidency each of the previous times Democrats met in the region — the last in 1988, when Michael Dukakis was nominated in Atlanta.) The party has underscored its “room for everyone” approach by sending 5,556 delegates, more than twice as many as went to Tampa for the GOP convention. Half are women, 27 percent are African-Americans and 5 percent are students — including Samuel Gray of Iowa, the youngest delegate, who won’t turn 18 until just before Election Day. (The oldest is 98-year-old Elzena Johnson of Mississippi.)

The opening night’s marquee attraction is Michelle Obama, whose approval rating of 66 percent is 20 points or so above her husband’s current “favorable” polling average. She’ll take the stage at 10:35 as Character Witness No. 1 and testify that her husband’s life experiences guarantee he understands the struggles of most Americans — in contrast, she will imply but might not say explicitly, to his opponent.

Full story

Isaac Could Cause More Havoc for DNC Than RNC

Telecommunications officials in North Carolina are preparing for the possibility that the remnants of Hurricane Isaac could knock out access to cell towers near the Democratic National Convention.

Verizon Wireless said in a statement this afternoon that the company is working with convention officials to help ensure its customers in and around Charlotte maintain access to their iPhones, tablets and BlackBerrys in the event that high winds and heavy rains lead to power outages.

Jerry Fountain, president of the Carolinas/Tennessee region of Verizon Wireless, said that mobile cell towers and emergency generators could be brought in from adjoining states if bad weather materializes.

“Our team has been meeting regularly with DNC committee and city officials to discuss and prepare for possible flooding and high winds. We are confident we have resources and procedures in place to keep our network strong through the heavy rains being dumped in Charlotte,” Fountain said.

The National Weather Service is predicting heavy showers and thunderstorms in the Charlotte area from this afternoon through overnight.

Rain could fall at rates of as much as two inches per hour in the heaviest downpours associated with the storm, according to the NWS regional office in Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.

“Any heavy rainfall today could quickly cause flooding of streams and creeks,” in the region, the office said.

August 29, 2012

Dick Durbin: Conventions Are On the Way Out

Dick Durbin: Conventions Are On the Way Out

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

TAMPA, Fla. — Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) arrived at the Republican National Convention to provide rapid Democratic response, but he also questioned whether the party nomination hoopla might soon be a thing of the past.

“I wonder about conventions as part of our political process,” Durbin said tonight in an interview with Roll Call in the media workspace at the RNC. “It’s a pretty expensive undertaking and time-consuming undertaking, and the day may come, in the world of social media, that there’s another way to do this.” Full story

August 28, 2012

Black Caucus Slams Artur Davis Ahead of Speech

Black Caucus Slams Artur Davis Ahead of Speech

Former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis is drawing criticism for his decision to speak at the Republican National Convention. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are accusing former Rep. Artur Davis of “transparent opportunism” ahead of his speech to the Republican National Convention, scheduled for this evening.

Coming four years after the African-American and former Democrat served as a co-chairman of President Barack Obama’s campaign, Davis’ conversion to the GOP has clearly stung his former colleagues, who sounded off in an open letter released to the media this morning. In 2008, Davis seconded Obama’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

The letter, signed by 14 CBC members, accuses Davis of distorting Obama’s record and flip-flopping on “core principles you once held dear.”

“We can only conclude that, rather than a true conversion, your actions are the result of a nakedly personal and political calculation or simmering anguish after failing to secure the Democratic nomination for governor of the State of Alabama in 2010,” the members wrote.

Full story

August 25, 2012

Democrats Plan Counterpunch at Republican Convention

The Democratic National Committee has planned a weeklong counterprogram to the Republican National Convention in Tampa and across the country that will continue despite the postponement of Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to Florida due to preparations for a possible hurricane.

The Democrats have opened a war room near the convention center and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will be on hand in her home state along with other Democratic officials.

For the kickoff event today, the DNC invitations read “Limited Cadillac Parking Available” and “Medicare Vouchers Not Accepted.”

Ellen Canale, the DNC’s regional press secretary, said Democrats will likely hold two press conferences a day and are bringing in people from Massachusetts and elsewhere who know presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to counter the convention’s narrative. Democrats also have a rolling billboard denouncing Romney that will drive around town touting the Democrats’ theme: “Romney Economics: Wrong for the Middle Class.”

The Democrats also released a new web video, “The Romney Bunch,” a takeoff on the Brady Bunch, launching snark at Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.),  GOP governors and even former Rep. Artur Davis, who abandoned the Democratic Party four years after speaking at the Democratic National Convention and will be speaking in Tampa this year. Davis is “in it for himself,” according to the ad.

Biden is still planning to come to Florida — probably on Tuesday — but pulled out of Monday events in Tampa so local law enforcement could focus on storm preparations rather than providing security ahead of Tropical Storm Isaac, which is projected to strengthen into a hurricane as it makes its way up Florida’s Gulf Coast.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, will continue campaigning in battleground states during the convention. Obama will be taking a tour of college towns in Iowa, Colorado and Virginia on Tuesday and Wednesday.

First Lady Michelle Obama will appear on the Late Show with David Letterman on Wednesday. The appearance should air not long after Ryan gives his acceptance speech that night.


August 20, 2012

As Conventions Near, More Speakers Unveiled

As Conventions Near, More Speakers Unveiled

(Douglas Graham CQ/Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic National Convention Committee today announced additional speakers for next month’s convention in Charlotte, N.C., where President Barack Obama will be renominated.

The speakers include Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; California Attorney General Kamala Harris; Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; former Democratic National Committee Chairman and Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine; Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick; Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. Full story

July 31, 2012

Rising Star Julian Castro Gets Prime Speaking Slot at DNC

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will deliver the keynote address on the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, making him the first Latino to receive that assignment.

Castro will share the Sept. 4 speaking duties in Charlotte, N.C., with first lady Michelle Obama. President Bill Clinton and Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren will speak Wednesday night, followed on Thursday by Vice President Joseph Biden and President Barack Obama.

Castro’s prominent role, announced today by the the convention committee, is the latest evidence that Castro and his twin brother, state Rep. Joaquin Castro, are rising stars in the Democratic Party.

Joaquin Castro, who is running to replace retiring Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas), did not face a runoff today and is likely headed to Congress next year.

“Having both the First Lady and Mayor Castro speak on the opening night of our convention will bring together two incredible leaders whose life stories both embody the promise of America, that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can make it,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the convention chairman.

June 7, 2012

Mitt Romney Outraises Barack Obama in May

Mitt Romney Outraises Barack Obama in May

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney raised $76.8 million in May, easily surpassing the more than $60 million raised by President Barack Obama during the same period.

Romney’s May fundraising haul included funds contributed to his presidential campaign, the Republican National Committee and Romney Victory, a joint fundraising committee set up by the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign and the RNC. The Romney campaign and the RNC said they finished the month with a combined $107 million in cash on hand, according to a Romney campaign press release. Full story

February 15, 2012

LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to Chair Democratic Convention

LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to Chair Democratic Convention

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) will nominate Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to chair the party’s national convention in Charlotte, N.C.

“Mayor Villaraigosa has dedicated his career to civic engagement and empowering people at the grassroots,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement released this morning by the Democratic National Convention Committee. “And that’s exactly what we need to be successful at this convention — input and engagement from Americans across the country.” Full story

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