DENVER, 4:20 p.m. — Is the Democratic party unified? The Clinton camp says so.
Terry McAuliffe, the campaign chair for Senator Hillary Clinton LAW ’73, stood outside a luxury box in the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night, smiling for photographs and shaking hands with supporters, the weight of the long campaign seemingly dissolved.
“We’re all coming together today because you know what, the issues are too important,” he said in an interview with the News. “We’re going to stick together.”
So did the Clintons’ speeches unify the party? “I think they went beyond that,” McAuliffe said. “If those two speeches didn’t do it … just spectacular.”
DENVER, 6:15 p.m. — Former U.S. President Bill Clinton LAW ’73 will speak here in about an hour, and, as with last night, all the attention is on his speech. We’ll be in the Pepsi Center to bring it live to you.
7:26 p.m. | “America must always be a place called hope,” Bill says. He’s done! I made it! The guy next to me is very excited. “Write in your blog: He hit it! He hit it! He hit it!” he said. A few people leave the section now that Clinton is off the podium, and I take one of their seats. Good thing, too; the fire marshal comes to inspect no more than 30 seconds later.
7:24 p.m. | The fire marshal is still in the adjacent section, struggling to remove a few stragglers. Keep stalling, stragglers! Bill is almost done!
7:23 p.m. | Clinton now compares himself to Obama. Remember, Bill says, that I was once called too young, too inexperienced. “Sound familiar?” Bill asks. “It didn’t work in 1992 because we were on the right side of history. And it will not work in 2008.” Nifty line. The guy sitting next to me approves. “Throw it back at him, Bill,” he exclaims. “Throw it back at him.”
7:22 p.m. | Yep, one section away. It’s almost over.
7:20 p.m. | Uh oh. I see the fire marshal coming out of each tunnel to see if the aisles are clear in the section above. They’re about two sections away at this point.
7:13 p.m. | “Barack Obama is ready to be president of the United States,” Clinton promises. I guess the wounds to the Clinton ego have healed over.
7:07 p.m. | Clinton strikes the same tone as his wife did last night. “I want all of you who supported her to vote for Barack Obama in November,” he said.
7:05 p.m. | “I’m here first to support Barack Obama,” Clinton says. Huge ovation. “That’s it,” a man next to me exclaims. “That’s all you have to say.”
7:01 p.m. | We’re in, although sitting in a stairwell. Bit of a fire hazard, but we’ll cross our fingers that the thousands of American flags passed out in the crowd are not flammable.
6:48 p.m. | The bowl of the Pepsi Center has filled up, and thousands of people are roaming the corridors, mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. I feel pity for the ushers who are stationed outside each entrance, desperately trying to keep people out of sections that are already full. It’s like: No, sir, I’m sorry you’ve traveled 2,800 miles just to hear this six-minute speech, but you’ll have to be content watching it on a television next to the frozen-lemonade stand.” Perhaps the most undesirable job in the world.
My stellar view from my seat inside the Pepsi Center made blogging about Tuesday’s speeches a real treat.
By Thomas Kaplan
DENVER — Welcome to day two of the Democratic National Convention. We are live from the Pepsi Center, where Senator Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 will address delegates — and a national television audience — at approximately 8:30 p.m. Mountain time. Our live blog is after the jump. (more…)
Dan Schneider (left), a Clinton delegate from California, tried to convince other delegates to rally behind Senator Barack Obama.
By Thomas Kaplan
DENVER, 2:32 p.m. — With pundits bloviating about the so-called split in the Democratic Party, Dan Schneider was mad as hell, and he wasn’t going to take it anymore.
During a question-and-answer session during the Democratic National Committee’s youth caucus this afternoon, the 31-year-old schoolteacher from Pleasanton, Calif., took his turn at the microphone not to ask a question, but to make a plea. To the young people in attendance, he had a simple request: Throw your support — and your vote — behind Obama.
And it wasn’t just empty talk: Schneider, a Clinton delegate himself, planned to do exactly that.
“I think we could bring the party together right now,” he said in an interview afterward. “I think that would heal all wounds.” (more…)
When I was little, my mother gave me a book called “You Can Be Anything!” It had a charming gimmick: Two glossy cardboard cutouts of smiling children — one boy, one girl — were attached to the cover and could be inserted into specially made slots on each page. On the first page, the figures fit into mail carrier costumes as they delivered letters to the houses on a street. On the second, they morphed into doctors. Over the course of the story, they became policemen, teachers, artists, lawyers, you name it — those children tested every possible profession side by side, working together the whole way through.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. 4:25 p.m. — Although most undergraduates have yet to return from winter break, Yale’s campus is already buzzing with campaign organizing in the run-up to what some have called “super-duper Tuesday” on Feb. 5, when 24 states are scheduled to hold their primary elections.
Hundreds of Connecticut supporters, grassroots organizers and campaign officials of Senator Barack Obama’s campaign for president convened this morning at Yale’s Afro-American Cultural Center to urge locals to get involved in the Illinois freshman’s campaign in the remaining weeks before Connecticut’s primary.
JERSEY CITY, N.J., 3:20 p.m — The scene here in Jersey City, where Barack Obama is set to kick off his national tour in half an hour, is extraordinary.
Nearly 300 reporters are waiting on line, trying to push their way inside. At least a dozen live-feed satellite trucks from all the major networks line the steet. Thousands and thousands of Jerseyites, meanwhile, are wrapped around the sidewalks of this blue-collar city, many of them sure to be turned away.
The last poll here showed New Jersey to be decidely pro-Clinton — but this extravaganza may provide just the momentum Obama needs in the Garden State, where independents can vote in either primary come Feb. 5.
GERMANTOWN, Tenn., 11:13 a.m. — Hillary Clinton is struggling to lock in the votes of a demographic that American may have once thought was a given — women, especially the younger ones.
CNN reported this morning that in their latest New Hampshire polls, Clinton trails Barack Obama by two percentage points among women in the state.
Why is Clinton losing her female following? Turns out it’s another generation gap. Younger women, who have not personally experienced discrimination because of their sex, don’t see the importance and urgency of electing a women president this time around, CNN reports. They’re convinced if it doesn’t happen this time, then it will in four years, or even eight.
And some older women are simply turned off by the idea of a woman in such a “nontraditional” role. Instead, they see promise in Obama’s relationship-oriented, coalition-building message, rather than Clinton’s experience and assertiveness. While some women do admire her for her strength, more want to see a more spontaneous, candid, emotional Clinton.
So how will Hillary’s aggressiveness be viewed among New Hampshire’s women? We’ll see in about nine hours.
The fourth in a series of spin room interviews following this weekend’s debates.
MANCHESTER, N.H., 1:55 a.m. — A few months ago, Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 was the “inevitable” candidate.
Not anymore. And that puts Mark Penn, her chief strategist, in a precarious position.
But fret not, Penn says. Speaking to reporters this weekend, he offered nothing but confidence in Clinton’s prospects, even as polls place Iowa caucus winner Barack Obama far ahead among New Hampshire voters.
Just look at Obama’s record, he said. Then see whether he speaks for change. (more…)
The third in a series of spin room interviews following this weekend’s debates.
MANCHESTER, N.H. 1:40 a.m. — John Edwards may seem like the third wheel in the Democratic showdown between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton LAW ’73. But even so, that’s no reason to give up, says his wife, Elizabeth.
“John is in this race to the convention,” she told reporters this weekend, shooting down rumors that his campaign could fold in the coming weeks if he cannot break into the Obama-Clinton pantheon.
Why? Simple, Edwards said.
“His message is important enough,” she said.
But that doesn’t mean getting that message out has been easy. (more…)
MANCHESTER, N.H., 9:25 p.m. — Senator Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 is in trouble. Can she save her candidacy with this massive rally this evening? We’ll see. Our live blog is below.
10:45 p.m. | About half the crowd is still here, and the music is still blaring. Check back later tonight for an analysis of Hillary’s speech. At least compared to yesterday, it was a whole new Hillary.
10:31 p.m. | The Clinton campaign estimate the attendance tonight at over 4,000.
10:12 p.m. | To Bill Clinton: as a former president, how does it feel to be reduced to a stage prop?
10:10 p.m. | “We can make history,” she says, and thanks the crowd. “Takin’ Care of Business” booms.
10:09 p.m. | Here we go. “So I’m asking for your help.” The crowd chants: “Go, Hillary, Go!” Then, “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary!”
10:08 p.m. | “We want to reclaim the future for our children and our young people,” Hillary says. A bit of John Edwards is shining through in this speech. Lots of talk about the hard-working middle class.
10:06 p.m. | Another pseudo-celebrity sighting: Judy Woodruff of PBS.
10:03 p.m. | Now we’re onto Iraq. A lot of Bush-bashing in this speech. No-bid contracts, etc.
10:01 p.m. | “I think it takes strength and experience to make the changes that we need in America.” The crowd applauds.
10:00 p.m. | CHANGE! As a senator, Hillary says, “You have to produce positive change.”
9:59 p.m. | Hillary: “There are those that are running who act like they can just make Washington disappear. They can order everybody, ‘Act right, be nice’.” The crowd laughs mischievously.
9:57 p.m. | Hillary is rolling through her domestic-issues platform. The crowd keeps insisting on cheering. Honestly, it’s getting irritating.
9:47 p.m. | The loudest cheer of the night: Hillary promises a balanced budget and a surplus. Still, at least rhetorically, this speech is relatively “change”-free thus far.
9:45 p.m. | Pseudo-celebrity sighting (I think): Matt Bai, chief political writer for The New York Times Magazine. Also, Chris Matthews is here.
9:44 p.m. | Hillary is attacking Bush for governing with fear. With this crowd, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. “Since when did America become the ‘can’t do’ nation?” she asks.
9:42 p.m. | She says she’s running for president because she “loves this country.” As opposed to the other candidates, who are running because they don’t hate this country?
9:40 p.m. | Hillary is talking about “getting our country back on track.” She says: “I know what it will take.” Then, someone cuts her off and screams, “A woman.” The crowd goes crazy.
9:39 p.m. | Our first “change” of the night.
9:38 p.m. | A TV reporter for a foreign station is reporting live from right in front of me. He’s just standing.
9:36 p.m. | Those rhetorical questions definitely did not deserve a speech-interrupting “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary” chant.
9:34 p.m. | “Are you ready to have a president who is ready to go into the Oval Office on day one and start making tough decisions?” Clinton asks. She keeps asking these sorts of questions — “Are you ready to have a president … ?” — and each time, the crowd goes crazy.
9:33 p.m. | Bill is here! Everyone is so excited!
9:32 p.m | Clinton has arrived. Chelsea has, too; the crowd is chanting her name.
9:28 p.m. | Don’t worry — we’ll keep track of the number of times she says “change.” I’m assuming we’ll hear the Obama-assailing “That’s not change” refrain that she debuted yesterday.
9:26 p.m. | The crowd is being led in a chant of H-I-L-L-A-R-Y, letter by letter. They seem enthusiastic. I wonder: Have they seen a poll in the last week?
MANCHESTER, N.H., 9:16 p.m. — At Senator Barack Obama’s rally at the Palace Theater yesterday, I recalled how the Secret Service ordered me to allow their bomb-sniffing dog to inspect my digital camera for fear that it might be something I could disassemble and fashion into a Howitzer. Convenient or not, everyone’s camera, bag, tripod, etc. had to be cleared by the dog before we could enter the theater.
But at Hillary Clinton’s LAW ’73 rally yesterday at a school in Hampton, N.H., there was no security checking bags, etc. And tonight — with both Hillary and Bill Clinton LAW ’73in attendence — there was no extra security, either. No one cared about my camera, or my bag, or anything.
What does that say about the level of concern for Senator Obama’s safety as he attempts to become America’s first African-American president?