New Democratic National Convention thread: Bill Clinton edition (updated)

President Bill Clinton is firing up the Democratic crowd in Charlotte. You can’t even tell he is using a teleprompter, in contrast to Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren speech a bit earlier this evening. He is talking about President Barack Obama rather than about himself, in contrast to last week’s Republican convention speech by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

I’ve posted some Clinton-related links after the jump, along with more news about the Iowa delegation. Any comments about the Democratic National Convention or the presidential race are welcome in this thread. UPDATE: Clinton’s speech just ended; he clocked in around 45 minutes. Too long, but well-delivered.

Convention business note: all 68 delegates from Iowa are casting their votes for President Obama’s nomination. Most of Iowa’s delegates to last week’s GOP convention voted for Representative Ron Paul, not nominee Mitt Romney. Two college students were picked to deliver Iowa’s votes during the official roll call.

This morning, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, U.S. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota all spoke at the Iowa delegation’s breakfast.

O’Malley, who’s making the rounds of state delegation breakfasts this week, ended his speech by talking about his own time in Iowa working for Sen. Gary Hart in 1984.

“I worked in Davenport for two months and traveled all around your state, all 99 counties,” he said. “Iowa’s a great state and you should be very, very proud of the leadership role you play in leading our country forward.”

Klobuchar stressed that as a Minnesota resident, she’s a neighbor of Iowa.

“As you know, I can see Iowa from my porch,” she said to laughs and applause from the crowd.

She also spoke about the things her state and Iowa have in common, demonstrating her knowledge of Iowa attractions and facts.

O’Malley hung around networking afterwards, and his remarks sounded more like those of a future presidential candidate.

Today, O’Malley repeatedly mentioned former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, including a trip together to visit troops overseas.

He talked up what he called achievements in Maryland, including a marriage equality act that will soon be on the ballot, protections for religious freedom, and “what has been recognized for four years in a row as the No. 1 public schools in America.”

“If there is a thread that unites all of our work, whether it’s in Iowa or whether it’s in Maryland or whether it’s among our young men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, I believe that it’s the thread of human dignity,” said O’Malley, who addressed the entire Democratic convention last night. “The dignity of work, the dignity of a job, the dignity of home, the dignity of neighbors helping and protecting neighbors, and the dignity of every individual.”

O’Malley told reporters called GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan “the ultra ideologue, the leader of this goofy tea party Congress,” and said the biggest driver the national deficit is “the self-inflicted wound of ladling on tax cut on top of deeper tax cut to billionaires.”

To the Iowa activists, he slammed Republicans for impinging on personal liberties.

“You and I believe in an America that’s always creating new opportunities for more people. We do not subscribe to the theory of these new elected tea party Republican governors or their newly elected Republican governor retreads, who run on the promise of restoring our economy and then when they get into office they govern by rolling back individual freedoms.

“You know what I’m talking about: Rolling back women’s rights, rolling back worker’s rights, rolling back voting rights. what a terrible shame that the party of Lincoln would be engaged in a systematic way in making it harder for people to vote.”

It’s a big day for Iowa in the convention hall. Olympic gymnast and gold medalist Gabby Douglas recited the pledge of allegiance today. Carroll County Deputy Sheriff Ken Myers was on the speaker’s list later in the afternoon. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke at the convention earlier tonight, before the broadcast network coverage.

Vilsack, the former Governor of Iowa, spotlighted the specific work President Obama has done to benefit rural communities. “Today, President Obama is helping farmers sell their products in new markets-here and abroad-spurring economic opportunity and development in rural areas. Today, President Obama is infusing new capital into rural communities, providing a record number of loans to farmers and small business owners, revitalizing aging infrastructure and boosting job creation.”

Vilsack also alluded to last week’s Republican talk about taking the country back.

“They didn’t say back to what,” he said. “But we know what that looks like. We know what happened to middle class families after two tax cuts for people who didn’t need them, after deregulation of the banking and housing sectors, and the historic recession that followed. And we know how far we’ve come.”

The Democratic Party’s national platform includes language supporting same-sex marriage rights. I wouldn’t have expected that earlier this year. Although the Iowa Democratic Party wasn’t among the state parties that pushed for marriage equality language, Iowa’s delegates who are in same-sex marriages are thrilled with the platform plank. Radio Iowa interviewed delegate Dean Genth of Mason City, and Kathie Obradovich interviewed delegate Jen Rowray of Newhall.

Clinton walked on stage tonight as Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” played on the speakers. That was the song played at the 1992 Democratic convention the night Clinton was nominated. I was in Madison Square Garden that night (not a delegate, just lucky to get a ticket), and I remember that the song was awfully hard for the excited crowd to dance to.

If you’re a Bill Clinton fan, I recommend this excerpt from a new book by William H. Chafe: “Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal.”

Steve Kornacki wrote a piece on Bill Clinton, redeemed.

For the last few weeks, Clinton has starred in a 30-second television commercial called “Clear Choice.” It’s one of the best the Obama campaign has produced this year, in my opinion.

Maybe New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza is correct, and Clinton and Obama don’t like each other much, but that doesn’t come across on camera.

UPDATE: Funny observation by Sarah Kliff:

Bill Clinton’s prepared remarks: 3,136 words. Bill Clinton’s remarks as delivered: 5,895 words (counting audience cheers).

Jennifer Jacobs wrote up the short speech by Carroll County Deputy Sheriff Myers:

Carroll County sheriff’s deputy Ken Myers said in a televised three-minute speech on the main stage: “The Romney/Ryan budget would cut federal funding for first responders by nearly 20 percent.”

Myers went on: “When you cut funding for first responders, that means there will be fewer of them, and that means help may take longer to get there or may get there too late.”

The 20 percent figure is based on a resolution by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers of Kentucky that was based on an earlier Ryan budget proposal, Obama aides said, and not Romney’s budget proposals. […]

Myers in his speech described a call for service in Iowa last spring when a man with a gun began firing at him and his fellow law enforcement officials. Federal funding helps pay for the officers who heeded his call for back-up last spring, fire and EMS vehicles that responded to the scene, and the bullet proof vest “that if God forbid I was shot that night could have saved my life,” he said.

“We help families every day,” Myers said. “Let me tell you that what Mitt Romney doesn’t understand is that there’s nothing helpful about undermining public safety.”

Dallas County Sheriff Chad Leonard, a Romney backer, said in response that Myers’ claim “is totally false.”

“While Governor Romney will stand up to wasteful spending in Washington, his budget will maintain public safety, period,” Leonard said in a statement emailed by the Romney campaign.

THURSDAY UPDATE: Here’s the full video of Clinton’s speech, for those who missed it.

I didn’t realize that there were a couple of party platform battles yesterday afternoon.

[T]he Wednesday session started with some dissension when delegates approved a change in the party platform to reinstate language recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The original platform approved on Tuesday omitted that reference, which had been part of the 2008 platform, and Republicans quickly criticized it as a snub to Israel.

Another change restored the word “God” to the platform after the 2012 version omitted it, though it included language on faith as part of American society. The language referring to God-given rights was the same as in the 2008 platform.

It took three voice votes, with supporters and opponents of the changes strongly expressing their preference, before a clearly flummoxed Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa declared himself satisfied that a two-thirds majority backed the new language despite groans of dissatisfaction from some delegates.

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  • Great post

    Mark Warner also spoke about rational ways to deal with the deficit, changing demographics and different failed Republican economic policies.

    I know Warner probably won’t get a fair shake in the Democratic Party of 2016, maybe 1992 or 2000, but not in the world of Occupy Wall Street and the fact that any changes to entitlements is viewed as killing your grandmother by both parties.  

    • he has to be thrilled

      He takes pride in himself as a businessman-politician, specifically a vulture venture capitalist.

      Talk about rapid advancement — he’s about to become VA’s senior senator.

      2016 might be good for him, though, as he stands apart from this glut of urban mayors. Why am I supposed to be enthusiastic about a non-Spanish speaking mayor from TX? Then there’s the completely unacceptable Villagariosa, Cory Booker and MOM, Baltimore’s former mayor.

      At least MOM has two terms as governor. I like Booker, but he’s probably not ready for 2016.

      Gillibrand or Klobuchar? Not sure what they offer. Then there’s Cuomo, but I think MOM can out-duel him. People don’t know how sneaky MD Dems are. Given the current prospects, I’d expect Warner and MOM to stand out. Huzzah, Mid-Atlantic. It would be funny if, after practicing for a Christie showdown, MOM ends up battling Warner in the Dem primary.

      I wonder how Iowans will react to our absentee “mom-in-chief.” MOM’s spouse is a Ballmer City District Court judge and rarely seen for photo-ops. Not a problem in MD.  

      Speaking of Iowans, as Iowa-postive as I am, all of the Iowa-pandering during the convention is getting to be a bit much. Enough, already, there are 50 states + DC.  

      • Warner

        You’re right about the need for reform in the nomination process.  I think one day we may see primaries done by region or something like that, hard to say what will happen.  I would gladly welcome some of the excess population that California has to Iowa so we could be more “valuable” to the process.

        My impression is that Mark Warner hates the U.S. Senate, he likes deal making, but even if a deal is truck there, it goes nowhere.  My guess is that he only ran for the Senate to keep his name out there and to beat Jim Gilmore who had been bad mouthing Warner for years.

        • agree

          Mark Warner hates the U.S. Senate, he likes deal making, but even if a deal is truck there, it goes nowhere.  My guess is that he only ran for the Senate to keep his name out there and to beat Jim Gilmore who had been bad mouthing Warner for years.

          His problem will be, once again, the Dem primary.

          I believe that Gillibrand will remain a Clinton loyalist if Hillary runs. She and Klobuchar are sniffing around because the Dem bench is so weak. Ditto for Villagariosa, who would normally have zero chance given his, ahem, issues. However the Dems are terrified of Rubio, so he figures, somewhat correctly, that 2016 is his best shot despite baggage. It’s unfortunate, but we now have this culture of “historic” and “firsts” overriding everything else. What’s a Warner to do?

          I believe Cuomo will pay a price for his obvious avoidance of the convention + his issues with other base groups. This is where MOM excels. It will be hard for Warner to distinguish himself by claiming that MOM’s MD is govt top-heavy given that VA is #1 in defense procurement. He will have to play up securing VA in the Dem column and his popularity outside of NOVA. The truth is that the two are that terribly different, but they each have had to adapt to managing very different states (and state politics).

          I’m not even looking for reform — just a little less pandering at the convention, geez. I don’t get the obsession over 6EV, unless it’s simply a pride thing, which I can understand. OTOH, eye on the prize!  

    • I like Warner.

      Right now I’m waiting for Hillary, but Warner is an attractive candidate to me.  

  • Amazing speech

    I can agree with a little long, but utterly and completely gripping in it’s presentation.  It was downright surgical in its precision attacking each Republican argument against Obama one by one.  

    David Gergen said it best last night when he said (and I paraphrase)that Bill Clinton did a far better job of defending the Obama presidency and his case for re-election than Obama has ever made.

    Obama is a phenomenal motivator and amazing at getting people to relate to him on a personal level while exuding competance, always coming across as the smartest man in the room (very useful, but not always a good thing)  

    Bill Clinton has the amazing charm and folksy-ness that pulls people in immediately, as well as the ability to distil the most complex issues into a story that is relatable to everyone.  His speech last night was exactly what Obama needed, helped to revive the Clinton legacy, and was likely one of the best, and most politically decimating, political speeches I will ever see in my lifetime.

    • I watched most of Clinton's speech again

      on YouTube. He excels at modulating his voice to keep your attention. He is able to emphasize a point without always raising his voice, which is good, because too much shouting doesn’t work on television (even though it can get a crowd going, a la Dean Scream).

      Michelle Obama handled this extremely well on Tuesday too–letting the audience know what was important without raising her voice a lot.

  • Well

    The version of Gilibrand that served in the House would be fantastic, the U.S.  Senate version not so much.  AK still seems nervous when talking on the floor.  I still can’t take her seriously after she asked Sonia Sotamayor about the Twilight movies during the confirmation process.  Biden did wear a ball cap once at other confirmation hearings though.