Blogging the DNC
by Jonathan Singer, Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 06:10:24 AM EST
Dennis Kucinich being introduced now, begins with an homage/sacrastic slap at the President's "can you hear me in the back, because I can hear you. Kucinich again sounds themes from his 2004 campaign. (Unfortunately, I have to jet for a scheduled interview at this point. Please continue to use this thread to dicuss the speeches of the remaining candidates, Dennis Kucinich and Hillary Clinton, who will follow him.)
(Reports on Dodd, Obama, Clark and Edwards in the extended entry)
The internet is now up in the main conference room of the DNC's winter meeting and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is offering a speech that is at times fairly rousing, touching on the successes of DNC chairman Howard Dean and winning back the Senate, as well as the importance of the West to the Democrats, highlighting the upcoming Nevada caucuses, the Democratic convention in Denver and Democratic victories across the region in recent years. Reid also spoke of the early successes on Capitol Hill: raising the minimum wage, passing ethics legislation holding a debate on Iraq -- the first real debate on Iraq since the war -- beginning next week.
The internet gone for some time, unfortunately, Dean back on the stage, the chairman quickly roused the speech by hearkening back to his speech here four years ago in which he pledged that we would make Democrats proud again, not only of the party but of what the government is doing for the country.
Back online now after a long break, Chris Dodd just got out from behind the podium. Quick thoughts: He came off as a credible candidate, which he needed to do at this meeting. What's more, he showed that he can speak with fire, a skill that many lose in the Senate, particularly after three decades in the chamber. Dodd's speech ran longer than needed, however, and he will no doubt need to trim some fat from his stump speech and rearrange some pasts. But if he does so, he has the opportunity to make his voice heard within the party.
Up now Barack Obama... It almost has the feeling of the Super Bowl in here, with the unending barrage of camera flashes from the gallery. After beginning with a somewhat comedic opening, Obama moves to a sober, yet strong mood to talk about the state of the nation and the state of the race, specifically stating that the race is not about fighting amongst ourselves or even with the other party but rather against cynicism. Centrally, Obama speaks about the need to enact healthcare for all Americans by the end of the next presidential term, as well as achieving energy independence and ending the war in Iraq. After raising the tone mid-speech, working the crowd, Obama again ended on a quieter tone, asking for hope. The crowd nonetheless responds with a long-enduring standing ovation.
Wes Clark comes to the DNC not an announced candidate, the only speaker in this series to be so. Begins by praising the party, proclaiming that "it's great to be a Democrat today." Focuses on Iraq, asking for a moment of silence to recognize the sacrifice of the American armed forces. Says that he is the only person to stand at the podium today who has actually done, in the past, what is necessary to end the war in Iraq. Largely, though, this is a speech fit for the 2004, perhaps not exactly what he said then, but sounding the same themes. Absent, and problematically for Clark if he does decide to run, is the reason for why he should be the nominee in 2008.
The next speaker, John Edwards, comes in with a rather racous group of supporters in the back of the hall -- perhaps the first candidate to have a large, noticeable coterie of backers stacked in one section. Edwards is the second candidate to draq a barrage of camera flashes, though slightly less so than for Obama. Early on, Edwards draws loud cheers and a standing ovation talking about economic security, poverty and hunger. The theme of the speech, across the board, is that "it doesn't have to be that way"; and "Will you stand up" for these people in need, for America? Throughout, it is a high-powered speech. It almost evokes a preacher's sermon, drawing hoots, hollers and standing ovations. My only question is if the cheers are spread evenly through the crowd or if they were being led by his core group of supporters.
Update [2007-2-2 11:10:24 by Jonathan Singer]: For more, The Hotline is also in the building writing up synopses of the candidates speeches.
Update (Chris): I caught the end of Clinton's speech. She definitely played the electability card again: "I know a thing or two about winning elections." There also were some chants of "Hillary" at the end when she turned up the volume a bit, even though the rhetoric seemed empty ("we can unite the country"--who doesn't say that, and what does it even mean?). Also, looks like this is the end of the session until tomorrow. Vilsack, Biden, Richardson and Gravel must be going tomorrow. Kind of sucks for Richardson to be with that group.
Hotline has a more complete list of Clinton's rhetoric: