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August 30, 2014

Posts in "Barack Obama"

September 6, 2012

James Clyburn: Bill Clinton’s Speech ‘Second Best of Convention’

James Clyburn: Bill Clintons Speech Second Best of Convention

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) weighed in on former President Bill Clinton’s widely praised nominating speech for President Barack Obama, calling it the “second best of the convention” so far.

“I thought it was a great speech,” he said in a brief interview on the floor of the Democratic National Convention tonight. “I gotta give No. 1 to Mrs. Obama, but I thought it was a great speech.”

Although the 2008 Democratic primary between then-Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton took a nasty tone in his home state of South Carolina, Clyburn brushed off any ongoing enmity between the Obama and Clinton camps.

Full story

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Dais Today, Data Tomorrow

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Dais Today, Data Tomorrow

Massachusetts delegates who arrived at Time Warner Cable Arena early rest before the final night of the Democratic National Convention. (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: A two-week run of great American political theater comes to an end tonight. The final act starts at 10:10, when Barack Obama takes the stage for his soliloquy. It’s the most-watched and unfiltered opportunity he’ll have in the precisely two months before Election Day to explain why he deserves to become only the third Democratic president in eight decades to win a second term.

Biden gets his half an hour in the spotlight at 9:30 — the decidedly secondary role assigned to make room for Bill Clinton’s captivating if undisciplined “third way” master class. (Biden was the Wednesday night main event four years ago, as were John Edwards, Joe Lieberman and Al Gore before him.) NBC, which is making up for skipping last night’s coverage in favor of the Cowboys-Giants game, will be the only broadcast network carrying the speech.

Full story

Obama Holds Pep Call for Disappointed Volunteers

Obama Holds Pep Call for Disappointed Volunteers

President Barack Obama's speech tonight has been moved indoors after bad weather threatened Charlotte, N.C. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — President Barack Obama gave a campaign pep talk today to the tens of thousands of volunteers who were shut out of his nomination acceptance speech after Democratic convention organizers moved the event from Bank of America Stadium to Time Warner Cable Arena.

 

In a conference call, Obama said he couldn’t risk their safety if a severe thunderstorm hit Charlotte in middle of his speech or the others scheduled for this evening, including Vice President Joseph Biden’s nomination acceptance speech. But the president said he understood that many of them had worked hard to get tickets and had traveled to North Carolina at their own expense.

 

“I know it’s disappointing,” he said. “My main message is we can’t let a little thunder and lightning get us down, we’re going to have to roll with it.”

 

Obama told them that he hoped they would still join speech watching parties tonight and said he is eager to share his vision when he takes the stage. So far, Obama said, the convention has been “unbelievable,” highlighting first lady Michelle Obama’s Tuesday speech and President Bill Clinton’s speech on Wednesday night.

 

“Hopefully at the end of this convention, people will say we accomplished what we needed to and offered our vision for the country,” Obama said, “but this is still going to be a really close election.”

 

He said the Republicans would have “massive checks from wealthy donors” on their side. “The good thing is I’ve got you. … Nothing’s more powerful than the work you guys do.”

 

And he said that the campaign will work hard to get volunteers opportunities to see him at campaign events around the country. “Hopefully you’ll have even a closer front row seat,” he said.

House Democrats: Don’t Blame Us

House Democrats: Dont Blame Us

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi addresses the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C.— President Barack Obama has had harsh words for Congress, and no doubt there are more ahead as the campaign unfurls. So House Democrats have a simple message this week: Don’t blame us.

House Democratic leaders have been trumpeting their accomplishments in an effort to inoculate themselves from attacks on Congress and to set themselves apart from the dismal public perception of the institution as a whole.

In fact, Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) said, there is a distinction to be made.

“I don’t think the president is running against Congress,” he said. “The president is running against a Republican do-nothing Congress that tried to stop and thwart everything that he tried to do.”

Full story

Obama Venue Change Means Different Backdrop, Little Else

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — President Barack Obama’s nomination acceptance speech has been moved from a football stadium to a basketball arena, disappointing Democratic convention delegates but likely causing minimal political fallout.

Democratic officials and strategists said it would have been preferable not to move today’s speech from Bank of America Stadium to Time Warner Cable Arena. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.) acknowledged that the television visual of a wide-open football venue packed with Obama supporters sent a powerful political message to voters in 2008, when Obama accepted the Democratic nomination at what was then known as Denver’s Invesco Field, while also serving as an important campaign organizing tool.

But given that weather forecasters are predicting the possibility of showers for a greater Charlotte area that has been pummeled with strong rain and thunderstorms off and on since Labor Day weekend, Van Hollen said that the Obama campaign and convention organizers made the right call in moving Obama’s big speech indoors, despite disrupting the travel plans of thousands who were planning to attend. Full story

September 5, 2012

Democratic Convention Has Rough Logistical Second Day

After a near perfect first day of the Democratic National Convention, the DNC hit some major snags on its second night, which has been rife with platform fights, logistical problems and accusations of dishonesty.

First, spurred by threats of rain, the DNC decided this morning to move Thursday’s festivities, including President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, from Bank of America Stadium indoors to the much smaller Time Warner Cable Arena.

If the bottleneck at the door tonight is any indication, the scene Thursday is sure to be a madhouse.

The fire marshal closed entry to and exit from the arena tonight, citing capacity issues. Though the entryway was later reopened, reporters spotted countless high-profile officials among the ranks of those locked out of the building. Full story

Gabrielle Giffords to Deliver Pledge Thursday at Convention

Updated: 8:12 p.m. | CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will make a surprise appearance at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, Roll Call has confirmed.

She will deliver the Pledge of Allegiance, according to a source close to the former Congresswoman, kicking off the night that will culminate in President Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination for president.

Giffords spokeswoman Hayley Zachary confirmed that the former Congresswoman is in Charlotte but did not expound on her plans for the convention.

“I can confirm that Gabby is in Charlotte to attend the convention, and she is excited to be here,” Zachary said. “She does not have a role in tonight’s convention schedule.” Full story

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

Kennedy Tribute Sets Tone for DNC’s First Night

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An emotional tribute to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) set the tone for the first night of the Democratic National Convention here, reminding delegates of the key facets of his legacy, from health care to his early support of President Barack Obama.

A seven-minute video was broadcast to delegates and a national audience, ending with a picture of Obama walking side-by-side with an ailing Kennedy, ambling with a cane in the waning days before he lost his battle with cancer.

Kennedy’s image served as both a hopeful reminder of the energy that surrounded Obama’s 2008 campaign and an eerie foil to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts who challenged Kennedy in 1994 for his long-held Senate seat. The video cut by the Democratic National Committee included footage of Kennedy attacking Romney in a now-infamous debate. Full story

Harry Reid Slams Mitt Romney on Taxes Again in Convention Speech

Harry Reid Slams Mitt Romney on Taxes Again in Convention Speech

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In one of the toughest speeches of the Democratic National Convention’s first night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized Republicans and again implied that their party’s nominee, Mitt Romney, skipped out on paying taxes.

The Nevada Democrat accused the GOP as a whole of being under the thumb of Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist and called the tea party a group of “extremists and ideologues.”

He went on to describe Romney as a “beneficiary” of a “rigged game.” Full story

Democrats Officially Kick Off Convention in Charlotte

Democrats Officially Kick Off Convention in Charlotte

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Debbie Wasserman Schultz gaveled the Democratic National Convention to order this evening, kicking off the event that will officially renominate Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.

The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee and Florida Congresswoman welcomed delegates and guests.

She said the convention was about more than just demonstrating why Obama should get a second term in the White House.

“It’s about Americans coming together to build one economy: not from the top down, but from the middle class out and the bottom up,” she said. 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

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