Democratic Convention stumbles in Democratic fashion;
Update: Howard Dean responds
The woes of the DNC continue in Denver, and even the New York Times has taken notice. In some ways, it provides an excellent manifestation of Democratic Democratic governance. Underfunded, overspent, and chock-full of unrealistic mandates, the entire enterprise appears on the brink of failure — and Team Obama has six weeks to attempt a rescue:
Democratic National Convention Committee decided not to take cheap office space and instead rented top-quality offices in downtown Denver at $100,000 a month, only to need less than half the space, which it then filled with rental furniture at $50,000 a month. And in a costly misstep, the Denver host committee, early on, told corporate donors that their contributions were not tax-deductible, rather than to encourage donations by saying that the tax-exempt application was pending and expected to be approved.
Some of the Democratic missteps started soon after planning for the event began. The
Overly ambitious environmental goals — to turn the event into a “green”Democratic convention — have backfired as only three states’ full delegations have so far agreed to participate in the program. Negotiations over where to locate demonstrators remain unsettled with members of the national news media concerned over proposals to locate the demonstrators — with their loud gatherings — next to the media tent.
And then there is the food: A 28-page contract requested by Denver organizers that caterers provide food in “at least three of the following five colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple and white.” Garnishes could not be counted toward the colors. No fried foods would be allowed. Organic and locally grown foods were mandated, and each plate had to be 50 percent fruits and vegetables. As a result, caterers are shying away.
For theDemocratic Party, the danger is that a poorly run Democratic convention, or one that misses the mark financially, will reflect badly on the party and raise questions about Democratic management skills. And more worrisome for the Obama campaign is that it will be left with the bill for overruns or fund-raising shortfalls, and that the candidate will have to compete in raising money against a convention effort desperate for cash.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be the Permanent Chair of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, leading an all-female team of chairs and co-chairs: More...
On the last point, Barack Obama has only himself to blame. He could have kept his word and accepted the public financing that every major-ticket presidential candidate has used since Watergate, including Obama’s opponent, John McCain. Instead, Obama abandoned the key part of the political reform he says he supports — and now will have to compete against the DNC and Hillary Clinton for funds among Democrats.
As for the rest, who could have hoped for a better demonstration of Democratic Convention mismanagement? First, the host committee overspends while at the same time struggled to raise money for the democratic convention. For a party that rails about deficit spending, they certainly don’t have a problem running up bills they cannot pay. Next, they let the nanny-state extremists in the party dictate the available food, rather than let the delegates and the guests make their own decisions on their diet, driving off private enterprise. They failed to reckon with the states when dictating environmental requirements, which sounds quite familiar indeed for those opposed to federalist principles. Most notoriously, they issued eco-friendly specs for fanny packs that demanded a product that didn’t exist.More Hot air...
CNN 2008 Electoral College MapSee which states are toss-ups, which are "safe" and which are leaning toward Obama or McCain
More Features - Democratic Convention
Democratic Convention 2008 Host Lagging on Funds
By Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writer
DENVER Democratic Convention-- The committee that will host the Democratic National Convention announced this week that it is $10 million short of the $40.6 million it promised to raise by mid-June.
Organizers of the Denver 2008 democratic convention host committee blame the sluggish economy, the city's limited corporate base and the distraction of the long Democratic primary fight, which Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) won less than two weeks ago.
Colorado officials said they would come up with the money before the democratic convention opens on Aug. 25, likely by tapping the power of Obama's fundraising capabilities."We have to raise $10 million or $11 million more. Now that we have the primary season over, it's happening a lot faster, but it needs to happen a lot faster because the democratic convention's roaring up on us," said Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.). "The campaign is now invested in making the whole thing a success."
2008 - Post-convention Pop, Sarah Palin big draw at rallies.BY TOM BRUNE | email@example.com
CEDARBURG, Wis. - If there was any doubt that John McCain's surprise pick of Sarah Palin has grabbed the attention of many Republicans, Barbara Falk, a retiree born and raised in this quaint small town, put it to rest yesterday: "I came out to see her."
So did Falk's friend Pat Mantel, who said, "I do enjoy that vice president that McCain picked." And so did Mantel's sister Carol Eberhardt, a retired lab worker and single mother of three, who said, "She speaks my language."
A day after McCain gave what many critics panned as a flat acceptance speech, Palin proved to be a popular draw.
She energized a once-sparkless campaign in the McCain-Palin ticket's first two campaign stops after the Republican National Convention.
Crowds of people jammed streets for blocks around the downtown stage set up here for the GOP ticket - the campaign put out a crowd estimate, drawn from the area, of 12,000 (matching Cedarburg's population).
It would be a scene repeated yesterday afternoon in Sterling Heights, Mich., a Reagan Democrat stronghold.
Many at the first rally said they wanted to see the mother of five and first female Alaska governor, whom they referred to simply as "Sarah." Most always vote Republican and likely would vote for McCain anyway.
But Kathi Czarnecki, an investor, said, "I think Sarah has re-energized the party."
Palin has become a new weapon for the strategists running the McCain campaign, plugging into its retooled anti-Washington message of reform. She also serves as an entrée into small-town America.
Friday marked the trial run. To the chants of "Sarah, Sarah, Sarah," Palin spoke for about a dozen minutes, debuting her stump speech derived from her well-watched acceptance address at the convention and launching the attack against Democrat Barack Obama.
When McCain took his turn, he praised Palin before calling for reform and describing his fight against corruption among Democrats and Republicans.
But on the bad economic news of the day - another 84,000 jobs lost nationwide last month - McCain offered no rosy picture, though he promised to create millions of jobs, mostly by cutting taxes. "A little straight talk. These are tough times," he said. "You're worried about keeping your job, and struggling to put food on your table."
His solution: Have government not stand in their way, but stand by their side.
Obama criticized the proposal as inadequate, saying it's not that McCain doesn't care, but that "He just doesn't get it."
Meanwhile, the Alaska Legislature is speeding its probe into whether Palin abused her power as governor by firing the state public safety commissioner, who had refused to fire a state trooper who had gone through a messy divorce and custody battle with Palin's sister. But the results might be incomplete: Seven witnesses won't give depositions, said the senator overseeing the probe.
The trooper at the center of the controversy, Palin's former brother-in-law Mike Wooten, told CNN that he has "made mistakes, and I've learned from those mistakes." But Wooten, 36, also denied some of the biggest allegations against him, including drinking while driving.
DENVER --Hillary Rodham Clinton supporters had mixed reactions Saturday to the selection of Joe Biden as the Democrats' vice presidential candidate.
Some realized a long time ago that Barack Obama the party's presumptive nominee for president, was not going to pick Clinton as his running mate. Others held out hope until they awoke to the announcement Saturday morning.
Susan Castner, a Clinton delegate from Portland, Ore., said she sees some of Clinton's qualities in Biden. She likes his experience, especially on foreign policy.
"It really kind of humanizes Barack Obama," Castner said. "He has this air of perfection, and Joe Biden is more down to earth."
"I love his passion," Castner said of Biden. "I like him a lot."
Obama announced Saturday that Biden, a senator from Delaware for the past 36 years, would be his running mate,passing over Clinton, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh
Clinton issued a statement Saturday praising Obama's decision and calling Biden "an exceptionally strong, experienced leader and devoted public servant."
Some of her supporters were less charitable.
"It's a total diss to Sen. Clinton, in my opinion," said Diane Mantouvalos, co-founder of the Just Say No Deal Coalition. "It just speaks volumes about how Barack Obama doesn't stand for anything."
Mantouvalos, of Miami, is part of an Internet movement of Clinton supporters who refuse to back Obama, regardless of pleas from Clinton herself. Mantouvalos is in Denver, where the Democratic National Convention is scheduled to start Monday, stoking anti-Obama sentiment.
She said the selection of a Washington insider undermines Obama's call for change.
"It was a desperate move," Mantouvalos said.
John West, a Clinton volunteer during the primaries, said he's not excited about Biden, but he had little hope that Clinton would get the nod.
"Most people feel that if she wanted to press to be vice president, she would have made a bigger push for it," said West, of Chicago.
West has been working with Clinton delegates to have her name placed in nomination at the convention, with a roll call vote _ a vote that was agreed to by both Obama and Clinton.
Democratic Convention 2008 Obama/Biden
Democrats choose Obama in historic acclamation
DENVER - Barack Obama stepped triumphantly into history as the first black American to win a major party presidential nomination, as thousands of Democrats transformed their convention hall into a joyful, shouting celebration.
CHICAGO — Barack Obama introduced Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware on Saturday as “a leader ready to step in and be president,” and the newly named running mate quickly converted his debut on the Democratic ticket into a slashing attack on Republican John McCain.
The GOP presidential contender will have to “figure out which of the seven kitchen tables to sit at” when considering his own economic future, said Biden, jabbing at the man he nevertheless called his personal friend.(more)
Democratic Convention 2008 - Hillary Clinton / Barack Obama / Joe Biden