Live Blog: Democratic National Convention, 9/6/12
Welcome to our live blog of the Democratic National Convention!
I’ll live blog tonight’s proceedings from the final night at the Democratic National Convention from 9pm—11pm eastern.
Tonight’s highlights include speeches from President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section—I’ll use a few of them for the main thread.
Finally, there’s no need to refresh your browser; new updates will automatically appear. Here we go!
Thanks to all of you for following the live blog over the past two weeks!
I hope those of you new to the blog continue to visit. We usually post new stories at least five days each week. See you soon!
“BOO….for no live blogs during the debates! lol Really enjoyed this though, Thanks!”
Thanks for all of your great comments over the past few days, Matt. I haven’t decided that for certain, but I’m inclined to really focus on the debates and write a more in-depth piece immediately after each one.
That said, how about an election night live blog?!?
Eric Barnes writes:
“Be interesting to see the viewing numbers for Obama DNC speech v MTV VMAs given the importance of youth vote. Anyone else surprised the network largely responsible for Rock the Vote movement would schedule awards show on final night as DNC?”
A curious choice, to be sure. But does anyone actually still watch MTV anymore? I’m so old, I remember when they played videos. (Anyone else remember The Buggles?)
“I will say I was disappointed in many of the speakers, particularly DNC presenters, and the very obvious, mean-spirited, wry and almost-childish insults tossed off as political discourse — a really effective way to alienate the audience and only points up lack of substance … But lack of substance in terms of results is tough to overcome.”
This seems to be a bipartisan problem. The Republican “you didn’t build that” theme was not only intellectually dishonest, but a squandered opportunity.
My overall takeaway from tonight is that President Obama suffered from a combination of huge expectations for his speech juxtaposed against “incomplete” results from his first term. His speech too frequently came across more as a State of the Union address than as a big convention speech. His speech felt laden with platitudes, albeit inspirational ones, and was soft on policy specifics. His most notable moments came when he bashed his opponents, including a jab for Mitt Romney’s Olympics gaffe.
Still, having watched and live blogged more than 15 hours of both conventions, my judgment is that the Democrats had a more effective convention — a feat due, in no small measure, to Bill Clinton.
Mitt Romney got a one-point “bounce” after his convention — I wouldn’t be surprised if President Obama gets a slightly larger one after his.
My mother emails:
“I followed the blog throughout! How do you think, write and hear all at the same time?”
The truth is, I found it very difficult to do that. At moments, I think I succeeded. At others, I know I missed pieces of all of the speeches I wrote about. For that reason, I won’t live blog the debates, but will watch them carefully and post a review of them within an hour or so of their conclusions.
Other than unexpected world events, personal scandals, and the completely unknown, we now have four events on the political calendar that matter:
October 3: Presidential debate
October 11: Vice-Presidential debate
October 16: Presidential debate
October 22: Presidential debate
What did you think of tonight’s speech? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Obama leaves to Bruce Springsteen’s “We Take Care of Our Own.” Finally, song’s message connected to the campaign’s message.
A big close, if a platitude-filled one. President Obama certainly energized the crowd. But he paled in comparison to Clinton ’12, Obama ’08, and Obama ’04.
These stories about individual people are hackneyed State of the Union devices that were last fresh in Reagan’s time.
“I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the President.” – Sounds to me that he’s telling Mitt Romney, “You want my job? You’re going to need to fight hard to get it.”
“‘… Shouldn’t have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads …’ – isn’t that what’s facing an unprecedented number of Americans today, not just future returning vets? Other than the reference to OBL, ringing a bit more hollow than it did in 2008. Great delivery, very natural but been there, done that … Hard to message around the record to date. PS. Really enjoyed your live blog and tweets!”
Thanks, Denise! You’re right about the difficulty of messaging around the record. Mitt Romney may have mocked President Obama for saying the biggest mistake he made in office was failing to communicate better, but it’s a real point. Where were these great speeches when he needed to go over the head of Congress and speak directly to the American people?
“We don’t think the government is the source of our problems,” President Obama says while pounding the lectern.
President Obama is throwing some sharp elbows tonight. And it occurs to me that’s a smart strategy. One of the biggest raps on Obama is that he’s too willing to negotiate away his beliefs to his political opponents. And this speech seems designed to signal that he’s ready to be more confrontational in a second term.
“Someone summed this up perfectly on Twitter. The Best of Obama’s Stump Speeches. That might be a partisan view but I tend to be able to check that in my analysis but that is the vibe I get from this speech. The crowd seems to be expecting more too although they still seemed pretty fired up.”
So far, I’m underwhelmed. But President Obama is in our living rooms every day. It’s been 12 years since Bill Clinton was in the Oval Office, and I wonder if at least part of the reason he wowed the crowd last night is because absence made their heart grow fonder.
When President Obama refers to Bill Clinton’s “arithmetic” line, it’s a sign that he doesn’t have enough great lines of his own.
Anthony Palmer clarifies:
“Obama said ‘I will not let oil companies WRITE this country’s energy plan.'”
Thanks, Anthony. It was a bit garbled. I hope it doesn’t become a nonsense meme tomorrow.
“My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy.” – President Obama, throwing down the gauntlet. That will get some guaranteed press tomorrow.
Republican pundit Alex Castellanos said yesterday that the Democrats should have just ended the convention yesterday after the high of Bill Clinton’s speech. He may have been on to something. This speech feels anticlimactic.
I’ve been hard on the President’s speech so far tonight, but it seems to me he’s hitting his stride.
Eric Barnes writes:
“Thoroughly enjoy following you on this live blog.
Absolutely agree with you on the video packages. They are ill produced, and for a president and a party obviously supported by Hollywood and “creative” types, I expect more.”
Thank you very much for following and adding your own comment, Eric!
“I will not let oil companies rape this country’s energy plan.” – President Obama, seemingly stumbling over the word “raid.” Admittedly, it’s a garbled word, but it sure sounded close.
President Obama is talking about fuel standards and alternative energy. Is it me, or is this beginning to sound more like a State of the Union address?
It occurs to me that President Obama is delivering his speech well enough, but suffers from high expectations. Compared to his 2008 speech in Denver and his 2004 speech at the DNC, he’s almost destined to disappoint.
“This DNC has many parallels to the 04 RNC. The grassroots of each party were/are ready to fight and claw their way to victory in tough and close races while their opposition clearly dislike and maybe even hated the current President they both never fell in love with the man that was suppose to replace him and that shows in the convention hall.”
President Obama’s tie is shimmering on my screen. Unimportant? Yes. An unnecessary possible distraction? Yes.
Obama walks out to U2’s “City of Blinding Lights.” A great tune, but what message is that? Long gone are the days of “don’t stop thinking about tomorrow,” it seems.
I’m underwhelmed with these video packages. They’re entirely forgettable, don’t touch the soul.
Interesting that Bill Clinton is in the piece introducing President Obama. The Obama people obviously believe that Clinton is an important key to a November win.
“I get the feeling we are going pass 11pm again tonight. Both Parties have called the networks bluff on only an hour a night of coverage. I wonder how this effects convention coverage 4 years from now.”
Networks have already cut their coverage down to an hour per night. But the nets are in a bit of a bind as long as they allot that hour: If the nominees go past their allotted times, they’ll be roundly criticized for ducking out early. Of course, it’s probably a matter of time before conventions are relegated to PBS and the cable nets.
Judi Robinson writes:
“Typical Irish, tells a entertaining story..makes you cry. But then you find out it was all bu– s–t.”
Judi, you’re now banned from posting comments to this site. Your viewpoints would have been welcome, but I won’t allow that kind of ethnic crap.
Biden played off by Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September.” Better than Collective Soul’s “December,” I suppose.
Biden’s turn from raw emotion to passionate close was a little abrupt. A strong closing, but a bit of emotional whiplash.
Biden gets emotional talking about veterans killed or injured in war. He’s had to pause a couple of times to regain his composure. A nice moment, and an unusually raw one in politics.
For the record, Biden is 36 minutes in at this point. Clinton went 49 yesterday, and was criticized by some for going too long.
“I love Joe as much as any, don’t get me wrong, he brings a joy and fun to politics that tends to be so lacking but he is rambling on a little too long in this speech.”
I agree. It’s usually better to leave people wanting more than to wear out your welcome. Biden hasn’t quite worn out his welcome yet, but he would have benefited from a stronger editor.
“It’s never been a good bet to bet against the American people,” Joe Biden says, finger pointing Clinton-style into the camera. That was an emphatic moment, to be sure. I’m also not sure that it’ll play well in sound bite form on tomorrow morning’s news programs.
“What he doesn’t understand” is a common trope of tonight for Democrats speaking about Mitt Romney. They’re trying to make the case that he’s not a bad person, just a clueless one.
It’s interesting that Joe Biden keeps calling out and flattering individual people in the audience off the cuff (Michelle Obama, Mrs. Robinson, Michelle’s mother). It’s likely a remnant of him being an old-school pol, slapping backs at smaller venues along the way up.
And there it is. “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.” A great line, but he could use a similar (and new) sound bite for the morning papers.
Reader Matt writes:
“Biden attack on Romney about the auto bailout was one of the most effective attacks I have seen by democrats so far. Makes the attack from a deeply personal reference and uses Romney’s bio to present not a view of disgust about his approach but disappointment. Very effective.”
I should have seen this coming…the second “decision point” is about killing Osama bin Laden. That sets Biden up for his favorite sound bite: “Detroit is alive and bin Laden is dead.” Wait for it.
This speech is a bit old fashioned, in that I haven’t heard many (any?) memorable, Twitter-friendly sound bites.
We’ve now moved on to the body of the speech, which appears to be organized to highlight two major “decision points.” The first of those two will focus on the rescue of the auto industry. I’m generally a fan of this organizational device, as it uses two smaller moments to communicate a larger truth.
Anthony Palmer adds:
“A surprisingly sober speech. And because the caricature of Biden is so bad, it offers the advantage of low expectations. As a result, it gets his audiences to give him their attention when he contradicts this caricature.”
When he gets too emphatic, Vice President Biden risks looking too angry. When he says “America has turned the corner,” he shouldn’t look pissed.
On Twitter, @HarmonicFamily notes:
@MrMediaTraining listening to it on am radio in the garage, sounds good.
Reader Judi Robinson asks:
“Joe said 4 years ago a nation turned to Obama to lead us out of this mess. What happened to the last 4 years Joe?”
He, and the President, will have to answer that question convincingly tonight.
Reader Matt writes:
“For all Biden’s gaffes and missteps he still has a way of connecting with voters at a core level. That gritty anger has always come off well for him, in my opinion. If Obama speaks to voters hearts, Biden speaks to their gut.”
Couldn’t agree with you more. Joe Biden is a much better compliment to Barack Obama than Al Gore was to Bill Clinton. He brings significantly different traits to the table.
As you watch this speech, close your eyes and listen to his delivery. In terms of his vocal variation, he’s doing great – and this speech would sound terrific on radio.
Reader Anthony Palmer writes:
“I love Joe Biden. But he’s only one gaffe or awkward comment away from overshadowing the whole evening. We’ll see what happens.”
Joe Biden now praises the current generation for its awesomeness. I’m not sure what we did to earn that, but thanks?
Joe Biden begins with a full minute of praise for his wife. Nice, but the best way to make the case for another four years?
Seriously, this voice over is shockingly bad. The video itself isn’t great, but the voice over makes it plain unwatchable.
Fair to bet that the Obama people are a little more nervous about Biden going off prompter than Clinton?
The voice over on the Biden video is awful. It sounds like a 1970s driver’s ed teaching video.
This may seem like a derogatory comment, but I don’t mean it that way: Jill Biden has a compassionate cry in her voice, similar to Sally Struthers. She comes across as if she deeply feels what she’s saying, which is the hallmark of great communicators.
Dr. Biden is impressively natural on the stage. I tend to find that teachers – at least the good ones – know how to read a crowd and adjust their approaches to match the event.
Jill Biden hits the stage. I wonder how many people would be able to recognize her on the street: One percent? Two?
Angie Flores speaking now. She’s a student at Miami Dade College. I have no idea why she’s speaking (will learn why she was chosen soon, I suppose), but she has a million-dollar smile.
It’s truly amazing to see Gabrielle Giffords in the crowd. That she survived at all was miraculous enough. That she survived well enough to be a full participant at this convention is almost beyond comprehension.
Democrats aren’t ceding patriotism to Republicans this year. This display of respect for military veterans is a smart strategic choice for the final night of the convention.
Retired four star admiral John Nathman speaking now, with a stage full of veterans. The similar image from the Republican National Convention was the stage full of Olympic champions.
This video of military families is incredibly moving. But it’s also true that politicians walk a fine line between taking credit for their military successes and exploiting them for political gain.