Hillary Clinton delivered possibly the best speech of her career at last night’s Democratic national convention in Denver.
** D.N.C. WRAP-UP, AND MCCAIN VEEPSTAKES. I have to finish a column and do a couple other things, but … A strong speech by Joe Biden, despite some muffed words in the early going. He’s definitely comfortable and strong on the attack against John McCain, and that includes the geopolitics front which is regarded as McCain’s strong suit. … Good rapport between Biden et familia and Barack Obama, who made the impromptu visit to the convention hall I mentioned earlier today. Obama looked relaxed and strong, in command of the stage sans script or teleprompter. … Very strong performance by Bill Clinton, and now I finish writing up the next part of a not unlikely Clinton story. … On MSNBC, where things are getting a little out of control, and Foxonian, Mike Murphy predicted that Clinton will vote for John McCain. I e-mailed him to correct his false impression. … Speaking of McCain, his veepstakes seems to be down to three: Mitt Romney, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, and Joe Lieberman. With Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison name thrown out there, too. My thoughts? Forget Hutchison, she brings nothing special other than gender. Lieberman is McCain’s pal, a comfort blanket. He was also a poor running mate to Democrat Al Gore in 2000, and a lousy (brief) Democratic presidential frontrunner in 2004. That’s before we get to the question of how Republicans would react to someone who, aside from his neoconservative geopolitical views, is a fairly standard moderate liberal Democrat who happens to really like some big corporations. Pawlenty is the safe choice, but not a good bet in a debate with Biden. Romney, well, you know my analysis of Mitt Romney.
** REMARKS OF FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON, AS JUST DELIVERED IN DENVER. I am honored to be here tonight to support Barack Obama. And to warm up the crowd for Joe Biden, though as you’ll soon see, he doesn’t need any help from me. I love Joe Biden, and America will too.
What a year we Democrats have had. The primary began with an all-star line up and came down to two remarkable Americans locked in a hard fought contest to the very end. The campaign generated so much heat it increased global warming.
In the end, my candidate didn’t win. But I’m very proud of the campaign she ran: she never quit on the people she stood up for, on the changes she pushed for, on the future she wants for all our children. And I’m grateful for the chance Chelsea and I had to tell Americans about the person we know and love.
I’m not so grateful for the chance to speak in the wake of her magnificent address last night. But I’ll do my best. Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she’ll do everything she can to elect Barack Obama. That makes two of us. Actually that makes 18 million of us – because, like Hillary, I want all of you who supported her to vote for Barack Obama in November. Here’s why.
Our nation is in trouble on two fronts: The American Dream is under siege at home, and America’s leadership in the world has been weakened.
Middle class and low-income Americans are hurting, with incomes declining; job losses, poverty and inequality rising; mortgage foreclosures and credit card debt increasing; health care coverage disappearing; and a big spike in the cost of food, utilities, and gasoline.
Our position in the world has been weakened by too much unilateralism and too little cooperation; a perilous dependence on imported oil; a refusal to lead on global warming; a growing indebtedness and a dependence on foreign lenders; a severely burdened military; a backsliding on global non-proliferation and arms control agreements; and a failure to consistently use the power of diplomacy, from the Middle East to Africa to Latin America to Central and Eastern Europe.
Clearly, the job of the next President is to rebuild the American Dream and restore America’s standing in the world. Everything I learned in my eight years as President and in the work I’ve done since, in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job.
He has a remarkable ability to inspire people, to raise our hopes and rally us to high purpose. He has the intelligence and curiosity every successful President needs. His policies on the economy, taxes, health care and energy are far superior to the Republican alternatives. He has shown a clear grasp of our foreign policy and national security challenges, and a firm commitment to repair our badly strained military. His family heritage and life experiences have given him a unique capacity to lead our increasingly diverse nation and to restore our leadership in an ever more interdependent world. The long, hard primary tested and strengthened him. And in his first presidential decision, the selection of a running mate, he hit it out of the park.
With Joe Biden’s experience and wisdom, supporting Barack Obama’s proven understanding, insight, and good instincts, America will have the national security leadership we need.
Barack Obama is ready to lead America and restore American leadership in the world. Ready to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Barack Obama is ready to be President of the United States.
He will work for an America with more partners and fewer adversaries. He will rebuild our frayed alliances and revitalize the international institutions which help to share the costs of the world’s problems and to leverage our power and influence. He will put us back in the forefront of the world’s fight to reduce nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and to stop global warming. He will continue and enhance our nation’s global leadership in an area in which I am deeply involved, the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria, including a renewal of the battle against HIV/AIDS here at home. He will choose diplomacy first and military force as a last resort. But in a world troubled by terror; by trafficking in weapons, drugs and people; by human rights abuses; by other threats to our security, our interests, and our values, when he cannot convert adversaries into partners, he will stand up to them.
Barack Obama also will not allow the world’s problems to obscure its opportunities. Everywhere, in rich and poor countries alike, hardworking people need good jobs; secure, affordable healthcare, food, and energy; quality education for their children; and economically beneficial ways to fight global warming. These challenges cry out for American ideas and American innovation. When Barack Obama unleashes them, America will save lives, win new allies, open new markets, and create new jobs for our people.
Most important, Barack Obama knows that America cannot be strong abroad unless we are strong at home. People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.
Look at the example the Republicans have set: American workers have given us consistently rising productivity. They’ve worked harder and produced more. What did they get in return? Declining wages, less than ¼ as many new jobs as in the previous eight years, smaller health care and pension benefits, rising poverty and the biggest increase in income inequality since the 1920s. American families by the millions are struggling with soaring health care costs and declining coverage. I will never forget the parents of children with autism and other severe conditions who told me on the campaign trail that they couldn’t afford health care and couldn’t qualify their kids for Medicaid unless they quit work or got a divorce. Are these the family values the Republicans are so proud of? What about the military families pushed to the breaking point by unprecedented multiple deployments? What about the assault on science and the defense of torture? What about the war on unions and the unlimited favors for the well connected? What about Katrina and cronyism?
America can do better than that. And Barack Obama will. But first we have to elect him.
The choice is clear. The Republicans will nominate a good man who served our country heroically and suffered terribly in Vietnam. He loves our country every bit as much as we all do. As a Senator, he has shown his independence on several issues. But on the two great questions of this election, how to rebuild the American Dream and how to restore America’s leadership in the world, he still embraces the extreme philosophy which has defined his party for more than 25 years, a philosophy we never had a real chance to see in action until 2001, when the Republicans finally gained control of both the White House and Congress. Then we saw what would happen to America if the policies they had talked about for decades were implemented.
They took us from record surpluses to an exploding national debt; from over 22 million new jobs down to 5 million; from an increase in working family incomes of $7,500 to a decline of more than $2,000; from almost 8 million Americans moving out of poverty to more than 5 and a half million falling into poverty – and millions more losing their health insurance.
Now, in spite of all the evidence, their candidate is promising more of the same: More tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that will swell the deficit, increase inequality, and weaken the economy. More band-aids for health care that will enrich insurance companies, impoverish families and increase the number of uninsured. More going it alone in the world, instead of building the shared responsibilities and shared opportunities necessary to advance our security and restore our influence.
They actually want us to reward them for the last eight years by giving them four more. Let’s send them a message that will echo from the Rockies all across America: Thanks, but no thanks. In this case, the third time is not the charm.
My fellow Democrats, sixteen years ago, you gave me the profound honor to lead our party to victory and to lead our nation to a new era of peace and broadly shared prosperity.
Together, we prevailed in a campaign in which the Republicans said I was too young and too inexperienced to be Commander-in-Chief. Sound familiar? It didn’t work in 1992, because we were on the right side of history. And it won’t work in 2008, because Barack Obama is on the right side of history.
His life is a 21st Century incarnation of the American Dream. His achievements are proof of our continuing progress toward the “more perfect union” of our founders’ dreams. The values of freedom and equal opportunity which have given him his historic chance will drive him as president to give all Americans, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability, their chance to build a decent life, and to show our humanity, as well as our strength, to the world.
We see that humanity, that strength, and our future in Barack and Michelle Obama and their beautiful children. We see them reinforced by the partnership with Joe Biden, his wife Jill, a dedicated teacher, and their family.
Barack Obama will lead us away from division and fear of the last eight years back to unity and hope. If, like me, you still believe America must always be a place called Hope, then join Hillary, Chelsea and me in making Senator Barack Obama the next President of the United States.
** A VERY BRIEF PREVIEW OF AN UPCOMING COLUMN ON BILL CLINTON. Just prior to Clinton’s big speech.
I think, given what I know about McCain’s strategy, that Bill Clinton can play a very big role in Barack Obama’s election.
And wouldn’t it be ironic, given the confluence of McCain strategic imperatives and Bill Clinton’s appeal, if after all the fighting and odd behavior and recrimination, that he turned out to play a crucial role in Obama’s election?
** 3:48 PM PACIFIC: OBAMA WINS DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION BY ACCLAMATION. For stagecraft and state press purposes, the Democratic national convention went through a partial roll call vote, marked by the great majority of Hillary Clinton delegates going on record as voting for Barack Obama. With the vote count at 1550 for Obama and 341 for Clinton, Clinton herself appeared on the convention floor from the midst of the New York delegation — after New Mexico yielded to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley in Obama’s Illinois delegation, who in turn yielded to New York — and moved for Obama’s nomination by acclamation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, taking over for roll call conductor DNC Secretary Alice Germond, (whose campaign for California Democratic Party chair I managed more than a few years ago), conducted the voice vote and declared Obama the Democratic presidential nomination. The freshman senator will formally accept the nomination tomorrow night in a speech at Denver’s NFL stadium, Invesco Field.
Obama is now officially the first political figure of African descent to win a major party nomination to be the head of government of an advanced industrial nation.
** MOUNTAIN WEST BATTLEGROUND POLLS: OBAMA LEADS IN NEVADA AND NEW MEXICO, TIES IN COLORADO. ALSO LEADS IN PENNSYLVANIA. Time and CNN have new polls in four battleground states: Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. The Keystone State has been heavily polled, and this one shows the typical Barack Obama lead over John McCain, in this case, 48% to 43%.
In Nevada, Obama leads McCain, 49-44. In New Mexico, Obama leads McCain, 53-40. In Colorado, the two are tied, with McCain at 47% and Obama at 46%.
If Obama wins all four of these states, he probably wins the the White House.
** 2 PM PACIFIC UPDATE: OBAMA ARRIVES IN DENVER, MCCAIN FOCUSES ON VEEP. With Hillary Clinton having just released her delegates, Barack Obama has just arrived in Denver. He isn’t scheduled to appear at the convention, but might do an impromptu drop-by.
Meanwhile, John McCain is in northern Arizona, finalizing the selection of his vice president. McCain will introduce his running mate on Friday at a rally in Dayton, Ohio. Then the new twosome will tour Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
** HILLARY MEETING WITH HER DELEGATES. At the lunch hour, Hillary Clinton is meeting with 2000 of her delegates and alternates at the Colorado Convention Center — which is not the DNC site — and is formally releasing them from their pledges. Which, of course, she had already signaled, as I reported over the weekend.
This morning, Hillary and Bill Clinton met with 300 of their top fundraisers at the historic Brown Palace Hotel. Lots of hugs and sentiment. And urgings to support Barack Obama.
** DNC3. Today’s big events now that, as I told you over the weekend, there will be no melodrama around a presidential roll call vote: The speeches by Obama veep Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton.
In the works … a column on Bill Clinton.
** NORTH CAROLINA POLL: MCCAIN BY 3. Barack Obama is keeping traditional red state North Carolina in play, trailing John McCain by only 45% to 42% in the latest Public Policy Polling survey. Incumbent Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole has fallen behind for the first time.
Obama is underperforming with Democrats. Namely, conservative white Dems. He needs a huge turnout of young white voterse and a huge turnout of black voters in order to actually win the state.
** NO ROLL CALL IN DENVER. The Democratic national convention delegates are voting at their hotels this morning. I expect a very big vote for Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton will be nominated in the convention hall later today, but after a short period of time, Obama will be nominated by acclamation.
** WHERE THEY ARE TODAY.
Barack Obama has a town hall meeting in Billings, Montana.
John McCain is in Phoenix, Arizona to shoot footage for TV ads and web videos and work on his convention acceptance speech.
Joe Biden accepts the Democratic vice presidential nomination tonight in Denver.
Bill Clinton speaks tonight in Denver, following a tough act in last night’s speech by Hillary Clinton.
** DISTRACT AND DETRACT: MCCAIN COUNTER-PROGRAMS THE D.N.C., AND HIMSELF. While the Democrats continue rolling out their convention and the Obama-Biden ticket, Team McCain is playing it tough, trying to disrupt Barack Obama’s storyline at most turns of the media cycle. Free from the no doubt horrifying responsibility to run positive TV ads during the Olympics after it was brought to their attention that John McCain is the only one ever to have run negative ads, the campaign is back to its all-attack ways.
McCain’s fast and tough new campaign, under new campaign director Steve Schmidt — who I know very well from his direction of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s landslide re-election and profiled here — is making a real race of this, when it shouldn’t be. Schmidt believes in winning or at least muddying the waters at every phase of the news cycle. Incidentally, there is no reason why Schmidt’s tactics can’t be used against McCain. The media, mind you, is not going to change. … From my new column.
** SCHWARZENEGGER LIVE WEBCAST THIS MORNING ON CALIFORNIA BUDGET. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks about the chronic California budget crisis this morning at an event hosted by local government groups at the Los Angeles County administrative center in downtown LA.
Schwarzenegger will then fly to Sacramento for private meetings in and around the Capitol. Democratic legislators are gone from Denver now, and it looks like Republicans legislators will be out of St. Paul next week. Though some are planning to be there.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the new Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti.
While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, which I know as a former DemRussia advisor, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND U.S. ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. After crashing over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, crude oil is trading around $118 per barrel. Up a bit from yesterday on fear of extreme weather in the Gulf of Mexico.
The drop of over $31 per barrel comes on acknowledgement that the weak US economy will cut future demand and the easing of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. The Russian war with Georgia, confounding much speculation and reporting to the contrary, actually decreased the geopolitical risk premium. Though the repercussions may not.
Your posts are welcome in the Forum.