August 26th, 2008 | Uncategorized

LIVE: Hillary’s big night

view.jpg

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.

11:55 p.m. | Sorry for the technical problems (and the fact I could not see a thing, and thus could not be more descriptive in my blogging).  For comparison’s sake, there were several thousand seats left empty in the upper deck at the Pepsi Center on Monday night when Michelle Obama took the podium.  For Clinton, the place was packed — and for good reason.

First things first, however.   I noted below that Mark Warner had a tough gig in following Obama as the DNC keynote speaker.  That was not lost on Warner, either.  “As Governor of Virginia, it was humbling to occupy a position that was once held by Thomas Jefferson,” he said in his speech.  “Almost as daunting as delivering the keynote speech four years after Barack Obama,  or speaking before Hillary Clinton.”

Indeed, his address was competent but hardly spectacular, an assessment confirmed by the response of subdued, almost dutiful applause at its finish.

On the other hand, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer just had the place enthralled with his folksy speech.  Already some political writers are second-guessing why the television networks showed Warner’s speech but then skipped Schweitzer’s, which had the capacity crowd on their feet and screaming. When his address hits YouTube, it will be worth a viewing.

Now to the main event.  Just based on the reaction of the crowd, Clinton seemed to have succeeded beyond expectations in striking the right tone in her speech.  To a sea of signs proclaiming “Unity,” she was unequivocal in her support of Obama, and the crowd ate it up.  Still, one could tell from the emotion in the crowd — the frequent shouts of “I love you!” from supporters to the New York senator — that the wounds from her difficult primary defeat are still raw.

But Clinton wasted no chance to stress her support for Obama, and that’s probably what will matter in the long run.  To drive the point home, she just sent the following e-mail to supporters:

Dear Friend,

Standing on that stage tonight in front of 20,000 Democrats unified behind Senator Obama, I saw a bright future for America. I saw millions of people across the country working as one to elect the next Democratic President. I saw a new President and a new Congress giving a voice to the voiceless. I saw America, the land of endless potential, regaining its role as a leader in the world.

I couldn’t be prouder of our party, of our nominee, and of all the work you and I have done together over the course of this campaign on behalf of the American people.

I knew that as I stood in front of that podium, I wasn’t alone. I had you, and everyone who has supported me, standing right up there with me. And that means the world to me.

Thank you again for everything you’ve done. Now let’s get to work helping elect Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and all of our great Democratic candidates!

Sincerely,

Hillary

The presumptive nominee for vice president, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, speaks in primetime tomorrow.  We hope to bring you a proper live blog for that occassion.

8:00 p.m. | Problem: The arena is so full that I have been seated behind the stage, with a view, literally, of nothing. Coupled with the fact blogging via Blackberry is brutally difficult, I may need to abandon this live blog. My apologies. Look for an update on Clinton’s speech later tonight.

7:47 p.m. | Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner is now delivering the keynote address. This, of course, was the speech in which Barack Obama’s star was born at the 2004 convention in Boston. But this being Hillary night, the crowd is a bit tepid in its enthusiasm.

6:52 p.m. | Right now, we’re entering hour five of today’s festivities, but no one here in the filing center seems to care much about whoever is bloviating on the podium.  Instead, everyone is counting down to the 8 o’clock hour, and to say Clinton’s speech is eagerly anticipated would be an understatement.  All week, the big argument here in Denver has been over the so-called divide in the Democratic Party.  Is it fixable?  Or is it just a figment of our imagination?  Tonight’s events should give clarity to that question.

6:23 p.m. | Rudy Giuliani (!) was just spotted in the Pepsi Center. “Heading to the sanctity of the Fox bunker,” a nearby reporter quipped.

6:16 p.m. |  Welcome to the Denver Nuggets’ practice basketball court, which has been transformed into a filing center for reporters. Because the Democratic National Convention Committee does not quite give the News the same respect as it does, say, The New York Times, we do not have a desk to work from within the arena.  Rather, we have two less-than-ideal alternatives: to work out of the filing center here and watch the convention proceedings on television, or to sit in the nosebleed section of the Pepsi Center without a desk, Internet access or power.