Tuesday 8/26/2008, Democratic National Convention, Denver, CO,

Tuesday at the Convention

Here’s a link to photos from Tuesday: http://www.kodakgallery.com/BrowsePhotos.jsp?&collid=985012541105.120190748605.1220063565218&UV=785110608196_741410748605&UV=785110608196_741410748605

Tuesday was August 26, which is annually Women’s Equality Day, the day celebrating women in the US getting the right to vote. Because of Hillary and her supporters/Obama-resisters (IMHO), the theme of women pervaded the events of the convention on Tuesday. My day began at the CA Delegation breakfast, where various (male) governors spoke, including Ted Strickland of my home state of Ohio. Strickland ran and won against Ken Blackwell, the Ohio Secretary of State who delivered Ohio for Bush in 2004. He succeeded a Republican governor who got mired (as did several other prominent Ohio Republican electeds) in a scandal. Strickland is doing a great job rebuilding OH, is well-loved and was a Hillary supporter. His speech at the breakfast was much better than at the convention the next night (he was very boring except for his line that “John McCain can’t dig our way out of this energy crisis, no matter how many of his backyards he drills in for oil!”). The new Ohio Secretary of State is also a Dem (I think her name is Jennifer Brunner??) who has cleaned up the voting machine situation there. Ohio is definitely a changing political climate, it is truly a swing state.

 

CA DNC Chair Art Torres celebrated Women’s Equality Day by having all the women electeds present come up to the stage, which was quite packed. LA “celebrity” feminist attorney Gloria Allred demonstrated at the breakfast, wearing a gag and holding an ERA banner, accompanied by our own Ray Penko. Gloria has been advising the Hillary delegates who had in the last month organized a petition to have Hillary’s name put into nomination. There are DNC rules about what must happen to have someone’s name put into nomination, for example there need to be a certain percentage of delegates signing the petition, with no more than some other certain percentage from any one state. Hillary’s delegates had been organizing themselves for the last two months, first struggling to find each other (neither the Party nor the Clinton campaign would help them with contact information), setting up a google group, figuring out what they might do, deciding on this petition, finding out the regulations and then with massive effort getting enough delegates to sign the petition, which had to be notarized. This was an enormous effort against big obstacles, which I am absolutely positive led to the DNC’s decision to have Hillary’s name put in nomination. The CA delegates wanted Gloria to address the breakfast and then meet to coordinate at the end of the breakfast, but Art Torres would not permit it, so she staged a protest. This is a small, but important chapter of this convention that may not be remembered in the crush of all the issues at the convention, but I am personally really proud of the delegates and volunteers who helped with this project. They helped change and mark history. See Delegate Chris Nichols’ video interview on the subject. Go Chris! http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_stump/archive/2008/08/26/tnr-tv-fairbanks-ventures-into-the-quot-hillary-suite-quot.aspx

 

Last year my husband Skip and I went to Yellowstone in Wyoming. In the park you would encounter “traffic jams,” where a knot of cars were pulled to the side of the road, because someone had spotted some wildlife and everyone pulled over to look. Downtown Denver has a pedestrian mall on 16th, which is heavily trafficked. It was much the same, except instead of baby moose, or grizzlies, it was Al Sharpton, or Forrest Whitaker, or Jennifer Hudson, being interviewed and stared at! There were also knots of protesters: the anti-choice people were all over, Falun Gong, “You are going to hell, blasphemer” protesters, anti-war protesters and more. I have never seen so many security people in my life: police, SWAT teams, anti-riot squads, on foot, trucks, horses, bikes and Segways!

 

Tuesday morning I went to the Women’s Caucus, which was an enormous gathering in a ballroom. There was a tribute to Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Ellen Malcolm of Emily’s List spoke, and there were security people all over. The Lifetime channel provided small tambourines on every seat, which people used instead of clapping, which was really cool. Then it was off to the Womencount event, put on by our own Stacy Mason and Rosemary Camposano, respectively the Executive Director and Communications Director for Womencount. Great healthy food (thank you, Susie Buell!!), tshirts, buttons and bumper stickers and about 500 people. Jehmu Greene of Womencount mc’d and was wonderful. The speakers were women running for office (former NH Governor Jeanne Shaheen running for Senate, Tracy Brooks from upstate NY running for the House, and Christine Jennings of FL running for the House). Hillary was there with Chelsea, but I left before she spoke, as I went to the Emily’s List event which was a huge, big deal.

 

Of course Ellen Malcolm spoke at Emily’s List. At the pre-reception she spoke of her friend Stepanie Tubbs Jones, she spoke of the pain of Hillary not getting the Presidential nomination, and she spoke of the critical importance of the Democrats getting a greater majority in the Congress, both House and Senate, as a backstop if Obama doesn’t win, or to help him if he does. Barbara Boxer spoke, and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sibelius spoke (a native of my hometown Cincinnati, she makes me feel like a real slacker! Her Dad was a great Ohio Democratic Governor when I was growing up).

 

There were 3,000 people at the main Emily’s List reception. They began with a video of Stephanie Tubbs Jones speaking at the Emily’s List Majority Council conference I attended in June in DC. Then Hillary came out. I had never heard such thunderous applause, and she could hardly get people to stop. It was a pre-cursor of her evening speech. People were crying. I personally was so moved, I didn’t take a single picture.

 

Tuesday evening at the Convention was Women’s Night. Eight of the eleven Democratic women Senators came up on stage, including Barbara Mikulski, the first Senator Emily’s List helped get elected, the first woman elected to the Senate “in her own right.” (not replacing her husband, etc). That choked me up, seeing Hillary up there as “just” a Senator. They had a bunch of Governors give speeches, both men and women governors. And then of course they closed with that unbelievable, historic, profound speech by Hillary. It did totally change the whole energy level of the convention. Up until then (including the “Keynote” speech before her by Mark Warner), the convention had been kind of desultory. People milling around, talking, but the energy wasn’t high, much less electric. But Hillary rocked the house. As I reported (and subsequently heard some contradictory and corroborating reports), around me, *everyone* was out of their minds with enthusiasm: men, women, white, black, young, old, Obama supporters, Hillary supporters. Screaming, cheering, chanting, not letting her go on, waving signs. It was like a real political rally! And when she was speaking, it was dead quiet, people were riveted. I heard from many of you the incredible impact Hillary’s speech had on you as it did on me. It is trite but true: when one door closes, another one opens, and Hillary blew through that opening with total control and power.

 

I sent Ann Lewis email asking who put that incredible presentation together and got this reply: “Speech team : Lissa Muscatine, Jon Lovett, young speechwriter; Jim Kennedy, has worked for HRC and WJC, now with Sony (?) And Mandy Grunwald. With lots of meetings, revisions by HRC which is why her delivery so strong even tho not finished until last minute. NOT Mark Penn who wormed his way into NYTimes story. Let's talk about next steps for Sisterhood of Traveling Pantsuits.”

 

I emailed Howard Dean: “Congratulations on creating the program based on hope, not fear, and celebrating HRC, and giving her, her campaign, and accomplishments full expression. It totally worked. I told you it would create more unity than trying to force unity by ignoring the divisions! I can't tell you the great things I'm hearing. Thank you for your trust and faith in HRC. Good job!” and he wrote back “I never had any doubt that Hillary would do what she did. She is a true star, putting the country ahead of her self.  Something the Republicans are incapable of.”

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