Tuesday, August 26, 2008

At Blogger Lounge After DNC Convention - Hillary Clinton's Great Speech

I'm in the middle of uploading videos from being on the floor of the Democratic National Convention, or what we've come to know as the "DNC Convention". I used that term as a throw-away line but it was certainly less than accurate.

Being on the floor of the DNC while someone like Hillary Clinton is giving the speech of her life is a total blood-rush. The reason I go back to the Super BOwl year after year is for the rise of emotions at kick-off. It's a drug like no other -- well, not true.

This. The Clinton speech. In that arena. Equalled the Super Bowl at kickoff.

What was special about Clinton's speech -- what is the hallmark of any wonderful speech -- is the moment. It's that timing we only dream about. A matting of need and action. Of volume and hearing. Of energy and sprit. I have to admit, I've never thought of Hillary Clinton as a great speaker until today. It's not what she said -- there are transcripts to be had of course. But a transcript can't communicate the inflection or the expression or the crowd -- especially the crowd -- that listened and reacted to that speech.

How an audience reacts to any speech in my view is the measure of the greatness of the work. It makes total sense. Words move people. From that perspective, Senator Clinton moved a nation tonight. She gave a great speech that will go down in history as one of the greatest speeches because it met the moment and defined it.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer

Wasn't I just saying how much I love Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana? He just hit it waaaaayyyy out of the park with his speech at the DNC. Wolf Blitzer called it, "rousing." That may be an understatement.

Governor's Round Table

On Monday, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a roundtable led by three members of the Democratic Governors' Association:

Gov. Joe Manchin, WV, Chair of the DGA
Gov. Brian Schweitzer, MT, Vice Chair of the DGA
Gov. Martin O'Malley, MD, Finance Chair of the DGA

While it's always important to the DGA to capture more Governors' seats, it's especially important in the 2010 elections when we head into redistricting. Right now, Democrats hold a majority of Governorships, at 28, for the first time since 1992. Gov. Manchin seemed quite confident that that number could rise to 29 or maybe even as high as 31 by the end of the election cycle in 2010.

While the importance of redistricting seemed to be the overall take away from the round table, my overall take away was how fantastic Gov. Schweitzer is. I love how he uses language, saying that the race between Obama and McCain in his state is, "dead danged tied right now." Talking on the issue of oil as it relates to the energy corridor in the Rocky Mountain West, Schweitzer said, "Obama realizes that the most important barrel of oil is the one you don’t use and the one you don’t import." Finally, when asked about the possibility of McCain picking a Republican Governor as his running mate, Schweitzer let loose this gem, "Boy, that would shake up the world if McCain picked another white guy to be the vice president." I love Gov. Schweitzer.

Thank you, Denver

Here's a quick shout out to the fantastic folks at Denver Health who took care of me today after a kidney stone left me unable to do more than put one foot in front of the other. From the security folks to the nurses to the EMT staff to radiology to the doctors, everyone was professional, kind, and caring. They also managed to get me in and out in five hours or so, which seems like some kind of record.

Another shout out to the folks at the Hyatt Regency at the CO Convention Center who, though I wasn't a guest there, realized my need and got me into a taxi cab in record time. And, finally, a huge shout to the cab drivers who cared for me today. I have never run into three tax drivers who took such good care of their riders.

Thanks, Denver. You guys rock.

Lou Gossett .Jr at The DNC Convention

An intense Lou Gossett Jr. Talks about a new foundation that he did
not want to talk with me about on camera. Weird!!

DNC Convention - Rep. Rahm Emanuel Speaks

It is 6pm and Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel has just given a great speech with a clear voice especially since he was the lead of an awesome party last night.

Now, having taken the large group photo, the crowd chanted Obama! Obama! All this while Hillary Clinton waits .

DNC Convention - Third Day In Denver; At Specialty Media Center

As I write this, I'm sitting at something called The Specialty Media Center, sponsored and ran by Microsoft. It's a simple affair, with tables chairs and a computer setup in the back. There are two couch stations with plasma screen televisions tuned to CNN. It's a great place to upload videos or -- as I'm doing -- install this blog report.

Right now, it's 12:25. I'm about to upload a video featuring Cornell West and Tavis Smiley -- in fact, I'll do that now -- then will go to a hotel to get a lost credit card and then Walgreens and then Pepsi Center. I'm also worry about one of our group who's basically flown off-course dramatically and hurtfully.

It's the drama you didn't expect and don't want.

But that aside, this convention is a blast. It's the combination of the Super Bowl and The Olympics at once. Over the past three days, two of them active, I've met more movers and shakers than I can shake a stick at: Ed Gordon, Cornell West, Steve Doocy, Rep Jesse Jackson, Jr., Steve Westy, Jamal Anserson, Protesters, and the list goes on.

Last night you may have see the Michelle Obama speech, and the wonderful exchange between she and her daughters, and Barack. The convention's buzzing about that.

Today, it's Hillary's turn.

If you want to you can get arrested in Denver, but the officers operating near the DNC are restrained, respectful, and calm.

One of the striking impressions as one strolls the areas outside the Colorado Convention Center such as Denver's 16th Street Mall area, is that the law enforcement presence is huge. Officers from numerous agencies are present, sometimes sporting impressive crowd control tools and gear. They are here, prepared, visible, yet generally non-intrusive, and utterly professional in their demeanor.

police presence in Denver

permitless protesters being detained outside the Convention CenterThere have been a number of incidents for them to respond to, such as the one an officer described to me as discovering a package that, upon inspection, he called in to the bomb disposal team, because it "definitely wasnt somebody's lunch." There have been minor challenges for them - debris hurled from above, protesters without proper permits and/or identification (which resulted in the arrest documented here in pictures,) and naturally some plain old unruly behavior.

protesters need to play by the rulesYet, as far as I can determine chatting with the men and women arrayed througout the area for the protection of everybody, they are well-prepared for the long shifts, and responding with admirable restraint. I've seen no evidence of disproportionate use of force, just a widespread calming presence that reassures almost everybody. (There are always some who have a beef with enforcement agencies and their agents, and they can be relied on to lean more toward confrontation, naturally.)
arrested for protesting with no permit carrying no personal ID
If you want to get arrested in Denver, you surely can. Thus far, though, retstraint has been the operational posture of every single officer I've spoken to.

Upstaging charismatic speakers? Who would YOU want to follow onstage?

As you might imagine, there was a great deal of anticipation regarding Michelle Obama's opening night speech among the people at the Pepsi Center on the night of August 25th. Senator Kennedy had already used Caroline's introduction as a springboard to launch a monumental reiteration of his endorsement - not just of Obama, but of his entire vision and leadership style, likening it to the best memories of JFK, exhorting all to dare to believe in a "New Season Of Hope." Still, the wife of the soon-to-be Democratic nominee was arguably the most anticipated appearance of the evening.

Pepsi Center, Denver, ColoradoMany of the delegates, and no few of the others in attendance, are at their first national convention. The Obamas have inspired undeniable fascination and loyalty. As you talk to people who have come to Denver for the event, it's clear that part of what they're hoping for is the sort of budding inspiration Mrs. Obama represents for young women, and that will clearly blossom if Michelle and Barack become the next residents of the White House.

Michelle, working forward from her brother's introduction, stepped through her background, and delivered a deft speech touching all the highlights that have formed and informed her values, and those of Barack. She painted a picture of her relationship to Barack, and the harmony of their experiences, values, and aspirations, paying tribute to others who have worked for the betterment of life in the United States, from military families to Senator Hillary Clinton.
"All of us driven by the simple belief that the world as it is just won't do. That we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be. That is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey, and Barack's journey, and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope."
Michelle Obama describes in her husband's rise a story that can inspire millions, but she never talks about how she herself is also a figure of inspiration, despite at times during the campaign having served as a lightning rod for those who seek to prevent Barack Obama's further ascendancy. We hear about their decision making process, but Michelle remains modestly focused on Barack's story. Yet we all know that this strong, brilliant, successful woman will serve as a role model for millions herself as she continues to exhibit poise and charm amid the disagreeable tactics of those seeking to undermine Obama's run for the Oval Office.
"He knows that the thread that connects us -- our belief in America's promise, our commitment to our children's future -- is strong enough to hold us together as a nation even when we disagree."
But to listen to the people streaming out of the Pepsi center in the wake of her eloquent, effective speech, where comments included numerous metaphors for success, you'd have to realize that every speaker of the night, from those who took the stage early such as MN Senator Amy Klobuchar and Angela Morgan, to Caroline and Ted Kennedy, to even Michelle and Barack himself during his video visit after her speech, was upstaged by Sasha and Malia. Miguel Del Valle, who had to follow Ted Kennedy's speech, must be thanking his lucky stars that he wasn't on following Malia and Sasha. No parent can fail to react to their unrehearsed affection, expressed so candidly, for their father - which tells us more about Barack Obama, perhaps, than all the efforts of those who seek to deliberately shape our opinions of him, pro or con.

Janet Napolitano - Arizona Governor Interview at DNC Convention

At the DNC Convention, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano gave a small press conference where she talked about the ability of the Western States to bring votes for the Democratic Party as well as issues related to Native Indian Tribal Sovereignty, the selection of Senator Joe Biden as Vice President, energy, and future Super Bowls in Arizona.

Rep. Jim Clyburn On The Clinton Legacy & Black America

At the Yahoo! Politico morning breakfast, I could think of no better person to talk to about the matter of the Clinton Legacy and Black America, than Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina. Clyburn said that the speeches by both Clintons and Senator Obama would define their legacies.