President Bill Clinton stepped in the shoes of the late Sen. Kennedy last night - appearing as an older, wiser, and even more popular figure than when he left office.
Party insiders call him the Big Dog - but last night he became the new Old Lion of the party. He presented a fervent defense of the President's record, giving it clear perspective, and laying responsibility for the predicament we face squarely on the policies and people responsible for so many egregious decisions in the first years of the new century.
He was masterful and I'll get back to him but there was another strong message delivered yesterday during the course of the day. In the Democratic Party - Everyone Matters. We heard from politicians, personalities, and everyday people - white, black, brown, old and young, rich and poor, immigrant and native, and all explained how the vote we make in November has a direct impact on their lives and our lives.
Most stirring speech of the early part of the day had to be Emanual Cleaver II, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. If you want to be inspired, and fired up, to stand up, get up, and march for justice - Google his name and "DNC" and prepare to be amazed. The place was like an AME church on Sunday morning with a congregation of 20,000 enraptured.
We heard from entrepreneurs like the founders of Costco and Carmax. They have both made fortunes and took a public stand to be counted among the many American business leaders who understand the significant role our infrastructure and our community values have contributed to their personal success. They don't reject that help, they embrace it, build good jobs at home, and try to support the next generation so others can follow in their footsteps.
Cristina Saralegui is another business success story - she's the Oprah of Spanish language TV - on Telemundo and then Univision. And her following is 100,000,000 viewers. She stepped off the sidelines and decided to add her voice in a political venue for the first time because she understands the stark difference between the party's approach to inclusion and diversity. She hammered home another critical theme of this convention - America is Stronger Together.
Simone Campbell - a Catholic nun provided a religious conscience and moral perspective on the choices governments make. It was an expansive view that forced listeners to recognize that every choice we make about funding has a moral component. She was articulate and her presentation will hopefully help people of all faiths to recognize the many large issues that comprise a party's influence on outcomes have moral components - like education, and social services, and safety nets for the vulnerable.
The last three speakers lit up the room. Sandra Fluke's full-throated declaration of her gender's demand for respect was tough, honest, searing, and appropriately unapologetic. She was brutalized by the right wingers early this year and she demonstrated that she is more than their equal - she is ready to meet them toe-to-toe and lead a new feminist movement that refuses to bend to the will of those who would return women to the second class status of the past. She is clearly a force to be reckoned with and reminded many of us that we have fought too long, and come too far, to turn back now.
Elizabeth Warren basked in the fervent response she received and masterfully described the values that led her to become a champion of consumer rights. She lambasted Romney for describing "corporations as people" in a construction that will undoubtedly be enshrined and repeated for years to come. When she contrasted corporations with the flesh and blood lives we lead as human beings each member of the audience rose to cheer her on.
Which brings us back to President Clinton.
He laid out the choice clearly. He called out Romney and Ryan honestly. He called lies what they are. And he reminded the audience of the very different records that Republican and Democratic administrations have when it comes to job creation and expanding prosperity, freedom, and civil rights.
He went off his prepared remarks frequently (I can see the teleprompter feed from my seat) and did it to great effect. His simple admonishment not to allow Romney/Ryan to "double-down on trickle-down" captured the case against the Republicans succinctly, truthfully, and painfully for anyone still trying to find a rationale to support our opponents.
Clinton was met by the President on stage following his nominating speech and the Time Warner Arena went crazy! The energy level has been off the charts and tonight should be no different.
We delivered our official delegate votes during the roll call following President Clinton's address and closed the day well past midnight.
Here are a couple of photos from Day Two - I'll post once more after hearing from President Obama tonight!
Reporting from Charlotte - I'm Neil Samuels, Executive Director of the Bucks County Democratic Committee and honored to be a delegate voting on behalf of the 8th Congressional District for the next President of the United States - Barack Obama!