2012 Democratic National Convention
Updates from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Use the chat feed at right to comment and see live tweets from Nebraskans at the convention.
About the blogger: Vince Powersby Zach Pluhacekon Sep 2, 2012 at 12:59 PMVince Powers is a lawyer from Lincoln, Nebraska, is presently the National Committeeman having been elected in 2004. In June of 2012 he was elected Chair of the State Party and will assume his duties in December 2012. He is a past President of Nebraska Association for Trial Attorneys. He is the past Chair of the Political Action Committee of the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys, and presently serves on the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice. Further, he is the current Chair of the Employee Rights Section of the American Association of Justice.He was born September 14, 1953 in Omaha, Nebraska and currently resides with his wife Alison and daughter Courtney in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Vince Powers: Heading outAlison and I flew out of Lincoln to Charlotte Sunday. It's so good to be fly from Lincoln, easy parking, good service at United counter and friendly effiicient TSA folks. All trips start better when you can fly from Lincoln. I don't care what political party you are in, if you get more flights out of this airport, you will be the mos popular person in Lincoln.Councilman Carl Eskridge was on our plane. While in the waiting area he reminisced about growing up in a segregated Charlotte as a kid. His dad took him to double AA baseball games in a stadium where blacks sat in left field and whites in the rest of the stadium, where schools, beaches and other public places were segregated. And in a few days in Charlotte, the Democratic Party will nominate a black man as its nominee to serve another term as President of the USA. It will be an historic event which should make every American proud knowing that the American dream is alive and well.We stopped by a welcome delegates event but left shortly as our daughter Courtney was flying in from college in California and we wanted to be at the hotel when she arrived. it was a long flight for her but she wanted to experience the convention. Sunday night was reserved for socializing with friends while trying to plan the week. There is a sense that something special will be happening this week, no empty chairs or empty suits, we expect the real deal in Charlotte.
Vince Powers: Labor DayEveryone should pause to thank organized labor for building the American middle class. Unfortunately both are under attack by the wealthy elites who hijacked the Republican party.This morning one of Nebraska's great corporations, the Burlington Northern Railroad hosted the delegation's breakfast. Courtney and I hopped the bus to downtown with Jeff Leanna, a delegate from ScottsBluff who is a the answer man for any question about the convention. He got us hooked up to an app for the convention information, explained how to get around downtown and was able to recommend events to us.We checked out the arena, Nebraska has great seats to watch the speakers. The media were testing their equipment getting ready for tomorrow.Comedy Central had at least two teams working the streets. But they need to step up their game, the interviews we watched ended in frustratioboth times as the delegates knew the issues well. Simply put, Jon Oliver, -you aren't in Tampa anymore. As we overheard Jason Jones telling a crew, "We have to step it up."Thanks to Jim Rogers, Maureen Monaha and Missy Wiggly, we are staying close by downton, light rail took about 8 minutes and a shuttle was waiting for the 5 minute rideto the hotel. We plan on going back to listen to James T
Vince Powers: Carl EskridgeCouncilman Carl Eskridge puts this week in perspective in Charlotte newspaper, take a few minutes and read this
Keelan Chapman: Live from the Wall Street of the South, DNC 2012.
The week has yet to begin and it already is off to a good start. A few short minutes after claiming my luggage at the Charlotte airport, I was informed by CNN that North Carolina had been moved from "solid Romney" to "Toss-up". Add that to the list of the other swing-states that have been pervasively intruded upon by the negative attacks and Super-PAC ads. Just as these Attack ads are sure to start sneaking into the airwaves, you can count on the tens of thousands of delegates, guests, and volunteers making their presence known in Charlotte.
The 2012 Democratic National Convention is on the eve of officially convening, and if you live in the Charlotte metropolitan area you already know this. I imagine the economic impact of hosting an event like this is roughly a third world country's entire GDP, but that is beside the point. This week is something special for everyone involved. We gather in the city that is nothing but prosperity, and success. The moniker "Wall Street of the South" holds well, when considering it's the second largest banking center in the nation (behind New York). While I was walking down the street, I saw business after business extending their hours until midnight to take advantage of the temporary market.
Charlotte has welcomed the Democrats graciously, and it is now time for the Democrats to return the favor by offering a vision for future. Starting tomorrow evening, the networks will begin airing prime-time coverage of the DNC to the country as what could be viewed as a counter-punch following the RNC. It's not. Many may think of it as a political pep rally. Again, It's not. What this coverage will effectively show is that the country is currently at a crossroads. Americans across the country this week will see themselves. They will see single moms trying to make ends meet. They will see college students who have balanced school and work, as well as optimism and cynicism. They will also see teachers, cops, and firefighters who have wondered if maybe a life as a public servant isn't what it's cracked up to be. This week will serve as an affirmation for those who have grown skeptical of politics, to not give up yet.
The night before the start of the DNC is a fitting time to reflect upon what President John F. Kennedy said fifty years ago in his state of the union address, "Let us not be satisfied to rest here, for this is the side of the hill not the top. The mere absence of peace is not war. The mere absence of recession is not growth. We have made a beginning, but we have only just begun."
Vince Powers: RainAs we arrived yesterday for James Taylor outdoor event so did the rain. The gentle rain allowed for a few songs before it turned into a heavy downpour. Living as I do in Lincoln the concept of water falling from the sky never entered my mind so we did not bring umbrellas to Charlotte. We found ourselves at a drugstore buying dry t shirts to wear back to hotel underneath newly purchased ponchos. The light rail was packed but efficient. We changed and had a great dinner at a sushi hamburger restaurant, Cowfish, never thought I would type those words next to each other sushi and hamburger, but it works.Today the delegation will be attending various caucus meetings before the opening night of the convention. It's a mix of political and social events. Amazing how many media folks are attending. Delegates who are interviewed from various media outlets report the same theme, reporters hoping someone will criticize something, but delegates are happy that the USA is so much better off today than in was January 19, 2009.Bob Kerrey is a topic for delegates from around the country who agree that it will be great to have him back in the Senate. Time to head to convention center for today's event.
Powers: The DelegationConvention begins tonight with the First Lady, Michelle Obama expected to give a gracious speech. The Nebraska delegation has a young feel to it as many delegates are under 30, a tribute to the open election process of the Nebraska Democratic Party. To have the honor of representing Nebraska this week a delegate had to be elected, first at the Caucus as a delegate to the County Convention, then had to be elected to go to the State Convention and there be elected to the National Convention. As a result the delegates are not people with "pull" or "connections" but instead are folks who started off winning the confidence of their neighbors at the caucus meetings and ended by winning the votes of other democrats at the state convention. We are very proud of our grassroots process of selecting real people to represent Nebraska democrats.ReceptionThe Nebraska enthusiasm was on full display at a lunch reception sponsored by the Union Pacific, Nebraska's other great railroad celebrating 125 years of excellence and AT & T an outstanding Nebraska employer. It featured great music and impromptu dancing by numerous delegates. Suffice it to say, there may be quite a few under 30 delegates here, but they were clearly upstaged by their elders when it came to enjoying the music.Now it is time for an exercise in patience, waiting in line to enter the convention center.
Powers: WowWhat an evening, speaker after speaker contrasting between the 2 parties and the President and Mitt Romney. Lilly Ledbetter was awesome. She was paid less than a man doing the same job. After winning her discrimination case the radical activists on the Supreme Court protected the employer who knowingly paid her less. The President and the democrats passed the Lilly Ledbetter act guaranteeing fair pay for women. Of course those who think women aren't entitled to equal pay opposed the law. As she spoke I wondered how could Jeff Fortenberry have voted against equal pay for women?The keynote address by Mayor Castro had the arena pumped and Michelle Obama was great. She gave an amazing speech. The clip of Mitt Romney passionately defending his pro abortion position in a debate with Kennedy summed up the GOP this year, Romney will say anything to get votes. As more than one speaker pointed out, a patriot would not bank in foreign country. And the democrats made sure to thank the military and veterans, something not done in Tampa.LogisticsThis is my third convention and so far the best run. Great hotel location, easy access to the Arena and a quick exit, Courtney and I attended two after parties, both had great music, refreshments and food. But even better were the energized attendees, which confirmed that night one was a huge success for the President.Hard to imagine tonight could equal last night but given that the last President to balance the budget (with the help of Senator Bob Kerrey) is speaking, it could surpass Tuesday night.
Keelan Chapman: Live from the Wall Street of the South
While I have a fond respect for his career statistics, I’ve always considered Wayne Gretzky to be a sort of inspirational quote machine. The hockey king once said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. Following this frame of mind, I have taken every opportunity while I’ve been in Charlotte to gain a perspective few ever see this close. It’s this quote that inspires drive, passion, and ultimately, a great experience. The DNC has so far been nothing short of an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience for this young Democrat.
Yesterday morning started with a Nebraska delegation breakfast at our hotel (the Embassy Suites). We were joined by the DNC chairwoman herself, Debbie Wasserman Shultz. Among the other highlights of the day, one that stuck out most was attending a panel called “Romneycare works”. This instantly struck interest in me, as I am an avid listener to anything regarding health care policy. The panel featured many of the primary architects of Massauchussetts’s health care reform law, including the President of Massuchussetts General Hospital, The Massachussetts Attorney General, and former secretary of HHS for the state as well. It also featured Deval Patrick, the current Governor of the state (who gave a great speech last night as well). While the panel discussed all of the strenuous politics that had gone into the crafting of the law, Governor Patrick suddenly stops them and says “Before I forget, we would also like to thank Governor Dukakis for joining us today, and for being instrumental in the foundation of this law”. I looked down the row and only 7 seats away from me was Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic nominee for President. I couldn’t believe how such prominent figures were in the same forums as I was, just as patrons who wanted to listen in.
Of course last night in the convention hall was complete pandemonium. All of the speakers were excellent, but one that stood out especially to me was the keynote address given by Julian Castro. I would be lying if I said it didn’t bring a tear to my eye at some parts. The way he delivered his message was devastatingly efficient. He spoke of how this election is crafted into two choices; the continuation of the American dream and the growth the middle class, or the failed economic policies that landed us where we currently are. By the end of his speech, Julian Castro made myself, and everyone watching grateful to live in America, the only place where his story could happen.
Julian Castro, Michelle Obama, and the rest of the speakers all emphasized one word especially; opportunity. It’s a catch-phrase for Republicans. It’s a platform plank for the Democrats. Come this November, the choice couldn’t be any clearer.
Powers: Great DayWe had a number of fired up speakers at breakfast Wednesday to start a day that few delegates will ever forget. Alison and Courtney checked out Charlotte while I did some work. I had to skip the delegation's luncheon to finish work. But by 230 we were headed to the light rail. We were at a Civil Justice reception by 3. Lots of interesting officials. Senator Al Franken was a crowd favorite. It's interesting how different we'll known persons interact with people. For every Sen Franken who graciously took the time to stop on the sidewalk for pictures, there is another who walks with a cellphone to the ear as an excuse to keep walking. The MSNBC folks, Chuck Todd and Chris Matthews were polite and accommodating as MSNBC set up in an outdoor plaza where the public could stop and watch. Meanwhile CNN set up inside a restaurant open only to those with passes. No surprise MSNBC moving up in ratings while CNN dropping. CNN acts as if the public is an annoyance not their lifeblood while MSNBC understands that the public is their potential audience.Day 2by Zach Pluhacekon Sep 6, 2012 at 10:44 AMInsideby Zach Pluhacekon Sep 6, 2012 at 10:44 AMCourtney Powers and Sen. Al Frankenby Zach Pluhacekon Sep 6, 2012 at 10:44 AMPreviousNext
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Powers: Six WordsA camera crew is filming on the street persons who stand on a stump and state 6, not 5, not 7, but 6 words to describe convention. They are from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, a modern interactive history museum and will play selected clips at the museum.My six words were "Empty Chair for Osama Bin Laden". Courtney's were "Michelle, Bill, Barack, bye bye Romney". I think we both make it into the museum's show.
Powers: AwesomeWednesday night was spectacular. The early speakers, especially "the nun on a bus" delivered a strong message. The workers fired by Romney were extremely effective. Speaker after speaker contrasted the Presidents accomplishments with the GOP's failures. Elizabeth Warren left us ready for more and President Clinton delivered. I have heard him speak a number of times and each time I was very impressed. But last night was spectacular. He makes it seem as if in a crowd of fifteen thousand people he is speaking to you directly. And because he talked about details, not generalities, he was a roaring success. The crowd was so into the speech, so excited, so energized, it was a moment none of us will forget. It's why we are proud to be Nebraska Democrats.
Powers: Governor O'MalleyAttended an after party with Patty Zieg, Andy Holland, Maureen Monohan and my daughter Courtney at a bar. Governor O'Malley of Maryland, who has is supposedly considering a run for President in 2016 played a lead guitar and handled vocals in the band which performed. He's good.At 115 or so Courtney and I went to another after hours party. A great band from Denver played and most everyone was dancing . Both events were high energy fueled by music and Bill Clinton. I made it back to room by 3.Unfortunately weather has cancelled the stadium tonight. Lots of very disappointed people in Charlotte. But having experienced the rain Monday evening I agree with the decision. It came down fast and hard and drenched us. It would have been irresponsible to go forward. hard to believe tomorrow we will be back home.
Keelan Chapman: President Clinton. Wow.
One of the most indicative signs of a former President’s popularity is what the other side says about them. Last night after President Clinton’s speech to a packed arena, former Romney aide and conservative commentator Alex Castellanos had this to say about the impact of the speech; “I would recommend to my friend Paul [Begala] here, tonight when everybody leaves, lock the doors. You don't have to come back tomorrow. This convention is done”. Castellanos went further and dropped a bold statement; "This will be the moment that probably reelected Barack Obama”. Conservatives, moderates, and liberals all agree. President Clinton rocked the house.
Last night was personal for me. I feel that I have a connection with William Jefferson Clinton because he was brought to world-wide attention the same year I was brought into the world. I was born a Clinton baby and can recall being in Kindergarten watching his state of the union addresses (my parents didn’t allow me to watch anything but PBS and C-SPAN, the latter being more of a cruel joke for a little kid). As a moderate Democrat, his New Democrat leadership brought a breath of fresh air to the Party when it needed it most. All this aside, my girlfriend will attest to the fact that my Bill Clinton impression is spot-on.
More than ever, the youth of today are looking not for a leader that is paying the best lip service, but the one who has clear objectives to grab the reigns and steer us back to an era similar to Clinton’s administration. There’s a common misconception that the youth vote is attained by whoever can say “legalize weed” or “Save the trees” enough times. While some of my electorate may feel passionately about those two subjects, the young voters who are engaged understand the real issues; the debt, entitlement reform, renewable energy, health care, and of course the elephant in the room, the economy. Bill Clinton reminded us that despite petty differences and partisan social issues – we are still the United States of America. He reminded us that the country was based upon the principle of compromise and that Barack Obama has been a strident example of reaching a hand across the aisle, only to have it smacked away by Congressional Republicans. Perhaps one of the most appreciated aspects of the speech compared to Paul Ryan’s can be measured by the fact checkers who were up through the night with one and took the night off with the other.
Bill Clinton’s speech can be summed up best by a tweet I saw this morning “President Clinton should be appointed Secretary of explaining things”. He does this brilliantly too, because he talks to viewers as you would assume he would a cabinet secretary or confidant. He doesn’t patronize the voters by assuming they’re too stupid to understand concepts such as “donut hole”, “Bowles Commission”, and a popular one of the night, “arithmetic”. The best element of this speech though was using his words as his sword, and dissecting the lies being spewed from the other side. Everything from the $700 billion Medicare robbing to the gutting welfare reform controversy, you’d be hard pressed to find an ounce of truth in either claim.
Last night, Bill Clinton went to bat for Obama - and he knocked the Republican's curve ball out of the park.
by Keelan Chapmanon Sep 6, 2012 at 3:29 PM
Powers: What an Ending
We got to the Arena about 530 and it was packed. It filled up quickly and by. 630 it was capacity.
The night went great, speaker after speaker lit the joint up. John Kerrey exorcised the demon of "I voted for that before I was against it" by listing the incredible flip flops of Mitt Romney and then poking fun at himself. There were poignant moments such as the young man whose parents are lesbians who told Mitt Romney, "my family is as real as yours.". I think gay marriage now is just how some people show their age.When I read a letter to the editor in favor of discriminating against gays, I bet the author is over 30. No one under 30 cares, they have a life and a future ahead off them so they have real issues to consider, instead of wanting to be able to fire someone because of who they love.
The Former governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm rocked; she fed off the energy of the crowd and the crowd loved her. When she rolled off the number of jobs in the various states saved by President Obama the noise just kept getting louder as the delegates.
Joe Biden was excellent, but the best speech of the convention was the President's. He was amazing as he empowered the citizens of America to make certain that the USA moves forward not backwards.
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