THE BATTLE IS JOINED
As they open their Convention, Democrats take their first swings
at President Bush while yet extolling Senator Kerry's virtues
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
by Richard E. Berg-Andersson
The opening session of the 44th Democratic National Convention was scheduled to open at 4 PM Eastern Daylight Time (2000 UTC), Monday 26 July 2004, and- sure enough (as well as very unlike the old-fashioned Democratic Party I so well remember from my more youthful days!)- it was gaveled to order right on time by Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe who immediately provided some opening remarks clearly intended to set the overall tone for this Convention:
Our task over the next four days, McAuliffe intoned, is to demonstrate to all Americans that, with John Kerry and John Edwards in the White House, our Nation and our People will, once again, be stronger at home and respected in the world. We are here to proclaim that the values of this country- Patriotism, Duty, Honor, Responsibility, Opportunity, Freedom, Family and Faith - endure and are central to the ideas that we will offer the American People.
The Invocation was presented by the Rev. Stephen Ayres, vicar of Boston's historic Old North Church. As a prelude to his prayer, he reminded the assembled of Boston's role in the Nation's early history- particularly the role of his own church. But, after mentioning the obvious- the steeple of his church having been used to signal Paul Revere, waiting on the Charlestown side of the Charles River, as to whether the Redcoats were going to be marching overland or ferry across the water- he reminded his audience that the role of Old North Church in the story of Paul Revere did not become all that well known as a symbol of friendship until the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow- "an abolitionist", Rev. Ayres reminded all of those watching- included his poem of 'Paul Revere's Ride' in his Tales of a Wayside Inn collection just before the Civil War.
Invoking the spirit of the aftermath of that terrible conflict and so obviously applying that spirit to current events, Rev. Ayres noted that Freedom means more than defeating foreign enemies; Freedom means promoting the Civil Rights of all Americans. He then asked that the assembled pray with him for those who defend our freedom abroad and for those who try to perfect our freedoms at home. Rev. Ayres' Invocation was followed by the Presentation of the Colors by members of the Vietnam Veterans' Workshop and Pennsylvania State Representative- also described as "a combat veteran"- Jake Wheatley leading the delegates in the Pledge of Allegiance, after which the National Anthem was sung by Miss Teen New Mexico, 17-year-old Robyn Chavez.
The overarching theme of this first day of the 44th Democratic National Convention was to be The Kerry/Edwards Plan for America's Future but some necessary business- fairly reeking of Robert's Rules of Order- ancillary to National Conventions going back almost to the very beginning of such National Conventions had first to be dispensed with. First, there was the formal acceptance of the report of the Credentials Committee, presented to the delegates by the three Committee co-chairs: Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, Congressman Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.
Senator Stabenow spoke first, followed by Mayor Franklin and Congressman Menendez. Let me remind you why we are here, the Michigan Senator said. We are here to win back the White House; we are here to win back the Senate and the House of Representatives and we're here to take back our country from special interests. Ms. Stabenow, therefore, was the first to have the opportunity to extol the virtues of her fellow Senator, John Kerry, as a leader committed to serving all Americans, of course implying that President Bush does not. Thus was the battle with the Republican incumbent joined- at least from the challenger's side, if only for the time being.
Nevertheless, the tone of this early portion of the Convention proceedings remained generally positive. The American Dream is alive in this Party and in this Convention Hall today, Menendez declaimed to the assembled. I look out at you and I see all the faces of America.
After the Convention had approved the Credentials Committee Report viva voce, it was time for Chairman McAuliffe to formally announce his appointments to positions the Party rules permitted him to fill, most notably House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland as the Convention's Parliamentarian. Then it was time for the report of the Rules Committee, presented by Committee co-chairs Congressman Bob Matsui of California and Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York. Meeks was the one who got to announce the most historic appointment by the Committee, that of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico as the Convention's Permanent Chairman- the first time a Major Party National Convention was to be chaired by a Hispanic. The Rules Committee Report was likewise adopted viva voce.
Parliamentarian Steny Hoyer then got to speak, urging the delegates to have a great Convention! Hoyer was followed by Democratic National Committee Treasurer Andrew Tobias. Openly gay, Tobias noted that he and his companion, Charles, were about to celebrate their 10th Anniversary together and, he told the assembled, the Constitution defends all Americans and there should be no exceptions... we should be able to share fully in the promise of America. Tobias also took the first direct shot across the bow of the Bush Administration (the first of many, one had to assume, at this Convention) when he noted that a friend of his with $3.2 million a year in dividends from a stock he inherited who was, as a result, saving $800,000 in taxes: which is $800,000 a year he never asked for, $800,000 a year he doesn't need and, because we don't have it, that's $800,000 a year we're borrowing from our children. Tobias further argued that it is a historical fact that the Stock Market does better under a Democrat than a Republican; it is a historical fact that the job market does better under a Democrat than a Republican. And you can bet both will do better under John Kerry than under this Republican.
Next came Maureen White, the Democratic National Committee Finance Chair, who told the Convention that the Party had gone from a $19 million deficit in 2001 to a $60 million surplus this year. Who says Democrats can't raise money?, she asked rhetorically. Ms. White opined that the increase in donations to the Party was primarily due to her observation that Americans are more frustrated than ever and they are contributing to the cause for change. Then came Democratic National Committee Secretary Alice Germond who- before having the new touch-screen voting system in each of the 56 delegations tested- declaimed that the Democrats had convened to celebrate our passion, our passion to win, for win we must.
The second hour of the Convention began with Linda Chavez-Thompson, Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee and Executive V.P. of the AFL-CIO who scored the Bush Administration by noting that it is tough to build a better life when the President is busy rewarding companies that destroy our jobs and ship them overseas. Evoking the famous Woody Guthrie song, she continued This land was made for you and me... This land was not made for us to be poor, scared, insulted and denied a voice when we need it the most. She was followed by former Little Rock Mayor Lottie Shackelford, another DNC Vice-Chair, who argued that a Kerry victory would produce, among other things, a country in which our Civil Rights laws are protected and our Civil Liberties defended. Next came Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, yet another DNC Vice-Chair, followed by the final DNC Vice-Chair Mark Brewer, chairman of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, assuring the assembled that the State Parties were eager for battle.
It was only after this that Permanent Chairman Governor Richardson took the gavel for the first time. It was now time for the Platform Committee to present its report to the Convention and now one could truly say that the theme for the evening, The Kerry/Edwards Plan..., would be getting under way, for the Platform would provide the template on which that Plan was to be presented. Platform Committee co-chair Congresswoman Rosa De Lauro of Connecticut spoke first: Why was our country pursuing a Foreign Policy that leaves it isolated and less safe? Why a Fiscal Policy that passes off debts to the next generation? Why an Economic Policy indifferent to the export of our jobs and indifferent to the health care costs that crush our middle class? And why have the powerful been allowed to doggedly cut taxes for the most privileged knowing there was little left for the most vulnerable? Platform Committee co-chair Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa took on the issue of homeland security, claiming that a Kerry Administration would do what the Bush Administration has failed to do: use diplomacy to create an effective, worldwide coalition against Terror. Vilsack was followed by Clinton Administration Defense Secretary William Perry who stated that without the strong support of our allies and partners, we simply cannot protect our security. We cannot rebuild Iraq alone, we cannot prevent nuclear proliferation alone, we cannot stop terrorism alone. We must isolate the terrorists, not isolate the United States. He was followed by Congresswoman Hilda Solis of California who declared that Democrats will never surrender the freedoms that generations of Americans have died defending.
After an interval (during which an audio excerpt from a speech from a famous Democrat of the past [in this case, a snippet of John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address] was played for the Convention- under the heading "America Remembers", there would be several of these throughout the session), there were more speakers: Los Angeles City Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa decrying the largest job loss since the Depression; Platform Committee member Bill Garcia of New Mexico; Iowa Agriculture Secretary Patty Judge, who strenuously insisted that her Party would never turn our backs on the veterans who have served our country, especially as regards health care.
There was former Clinton Administration Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Bill Lann Lee, who stated that our platform pledges us to protect Civil Liberties, even as we protect our homeland from terrorist threats; there was Roberta Achtenberg, a Clinton era Assistant HUD Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, who proudly described herself as a lawyer, a mother and a lesbian who emphatically declared that Democrats reject the Federal Marriage Amendment and reject Republican efforts to exploit our differences and divide our nation. Finally, there was Tallahassee Mayor John Marks, the first to bring up the spectre of how the 2000 Presidential Election went down in his home State of Florida at this Convention: Through this platform, we Democrats commit to working so that all Americans can vote and all votes count!
After a half hour recess, the Convention resumed at 6:30 PM EDT (2230 UTC) with Rod O'Connor, the Chief Executive Officer of the Convention (DNC Chairman McAuliffe's job four years earlier), Convention Committee Chair Alice Huffman (who argued that Kerry and Edwards would bring back the strong America that we used to know, an America that goes to war because it has to, not because it wants to) and American Federation of Teachers President Ed McElroy. But the Convention adopted a somewhat more strident tone with the appearance of Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Gloria Feldt.
Planned Parenthood had never endorsed a presidential candidate before but, this year, it was endorsing John Kerry over George W. Bush. Ms. Feldt explained why: Right now, we're fighting a war abroad, but we also have a war here at home: a war on women's choice. We must win this war and we must win it now. The tone now turned a bit darker as Feldt observed that John Kerry and John Edwards are running a very positive campaign but then went on: John Kerry won't corrupt Science with Ideology. John Kerry won't appoint an Attorney General who will violate the privacy of your medical records. John Kerry won't put a man on the Court who has worked to criminalize abortion and who says "women must submit themselves to their husbands". We are going to put John Kerry in the White House because he trusts women, he respects women and he cares about women- the difference is that simple!
Next came California State Treasurer Phil Angelides, who opined that America can once again be a nation of inspiration and aspiration in the eyes of the world, followed by Marca Bristo, former chair of the National Council on Disabilities, who- after saluting the 14th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (signed into law by the father of the current President)- chided the current President Bush by noting that millions of our children with disabilities have been left behind.
The 7 o'clock hour (2300 UTC) began with Congressman Kendrick Meek going much further than his fellow Floridian Mayor Marks had about Florida 2000: For four long years, thousands of Floridians have been looking forward to this election, because four years ago they threw out thousands of presidential votes that were cast and four years ago they prevented thousands of us from voting- but not this year, ladies and gentlemen. I come from a State that's hungry to vote: we want our voices to be heard, we want our votes to be counted and we don't want to be turned away at the polls. And, this year, we will be prepared for whatever they throw at us. Meek extolled his Democratic Party as one that honors our Constitution and doesn't treat it as a rough draft... that dedicates itself to making sure that every vote counts and we leave no vote behind!
After Congressman Meek, MTV correspondents Gideon Yago and Su Jin Pak introduced the winner of the Speak Out For the Future essay contest, part of the music network's 'Choose or Lose: 20 Million Loud' get-out-the-youth-vote campaign (there will be a similar essay winner at the Republican Convention in New York next month). The Democrats' winner was law student Michael Negron, 24 years old, whose essay was 'If Not Us, then Who?', in which he opined that many young people have lost faith in the political process: we don't see the connection between policies made in city halls and state capitals and what happens in our daily lives. He was followed by Thomas Menino, Mayor of the host city of Boston, who told his fellow Democrats: Get ready, take heart, the next four years will be better than the last. He was followed by Congressman James Turner of Texas and a return appearance of Congressman Steny Hoyer who declaimed that Morality demands our generation not put its purchases on its children's tab.
Next came a rather amusing moment: it was time for all the delegates in the hall to stand for the official Convention photo. When the delegates were directed to face the same way by looking in the direction of a digital clock next to the sign for a local TV station- Fox 25 News- a large number of the assembled (obviously thinking of Fox News Channel which, I dare say, most on the floor see as a conservative mouthpiece) roundly booed.
After a video extolling the Party's fiscal health was shown to the Convention, DNC Chairman McAuliffe once again took to the podium: Stand up, stomp your feet. Our march to victory begins tonight! George Bush [and the Convention, perhaps primed by that earlier Fox News reference, booed at the very mention of the President's name, causing McAuliffe to chuckle noticeably], George Bush promised that he would be a uniter, not a divider. Well, let me ask you: are the Democrats united? are we energized? are we ready to win? [the delegates responded loudly and affirmatively to each of those three questions].
Once Terry McAuliffe was done, there was a brief interval as the clock reached 8 PM Eastern (0000 UTC) , which marked the earliest hour at which the Cable TV news networks, at least, would begin covering the Convention. For the benefit of this potential national audience, Convention Chairman Bill Richardson formally called the Convention to order again (even though the Convention had, of course, already been in session for the better part of four hours) and there was even another rendition of the National Anthem, this time by singer Bebe Winans. Governor Richardson then began introducing former Vice President Al Gore- the first of the Prime Time speakers this evening- humorously pointing out that, in 2000, the Party embraced him and he embraced--- Tipper (a reference to then-presidential nominee Gore giving his wife a long kiss on stage prior to his Acceptance Speech four years earlier).
For his part, Gore employed similar humor as he began his speech: My friends, fellow Democrats, fellow Americans. I'm going to be candid with you: I had hoped to be back here this week under different circumstances, running for re-election. But you know the old saying: You win some, you lose some and then there's that little known third category. Of the Democrat who would actually be running for the Presidency in the Fall of 2004, the former Vice President first noted that he and John Kerry came into the Senate at the same time two decades before and then offered that he is a friend who'll stand by you, his word is his bond, he has a deep patriotism that goes far beyond words. As for Kerry's running mate, Senator Edwards, Gore referred to him as an inspiring fighter for the middle class and families struggling to reach the middle class. Gore ended his appearance before the Convention with the same humor with which it began, by inviting his wife, Tipper, to join him at the podium where they engaged in a modified, tasteful re-enactment of "The Smooch Seen Round the World" before leaving the stage.
As the evening session progressed, there were live video feeds of small groups of ordinary Democrats assembled in places such as Canton, Ohio, Little Rock, Arkansas and Los Angeles: to fill in the time between speakers, one of those in these groups would be a spokesperson for the issues affecting their particular region of the country. The first of these was a steelworker from Canton named Bill Wright who chided the Bush Administration, reminding the incumbent that it is not just about profits, but it's about people. This was followed by actress Glenn Close introducing, one by one, the 9 women in the United States Senate who happen to be Democrats, led by Senator Barbara Mikulski- with the most seniority of all of them (though former First Lady, now Senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton seemed to get the loudest cheers as she appeared on the stage). Ms. Mikulski was the only one who spoke, however: We're here to stay, and even more are coming... It's not about gender, it's about an agenda, one on behalf of those adversely affected by the Bull of the Bush Administration or the Bear of a Market. Mikulski declared that, with a Democrat in the White House, there would be no more 9/11s, no one going to war on flimsy evidence.
The next major Prime Time speaker was former President Jimmy Carter, once all but persona non grata at these quadrennial gatherings after his defeat at the hands of Ronald Reagan back in 1980, but who was now fully rehabilitated as an elder statesman of the Party, virtually a 'Deng Xiaoping' among his fellow Democrats. The 39th President of the United States actually gave one of the better speeches of the evening, one which very well outlined the Democrats' case against President George W. Bush. Recalling his service in the Navy, Carter noted that he served under two Presidents: Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, men who represented different political Parties, both of whom had faced their active military responsibilities with honor. They knew the horrors of war and, later, as Commanders in Chief, they exercised restraint and judgment and they had a clear sense of mission. We had a confidence that our leaders.... would not put our soldiers and sailors in harm's way by initiating wars of choice unless America's vital interests were in danger. We also were sure that these Presidents would not mislead us when issues involved our national security. Of Senator Kerry, in obvious contrast to what Democrats generally think of President Bush's military record, Carter said the Massachusetts Senator was someone who volunteered for military service. He showed up when assigned to duty and he served with honor and distinction. He argued that, should Kerry be elected President, he will restore the judgment and maturity to our government that nowadays is sorely lacking.
Today, our dominant international challenge is to restore the greatness of America, based on telling the truth, a commitment to peace, respect for Civil Liberties at home and basic Human Rights around the world. Truth is the foundation of our global leadership, but our credibility has been shattered and we are left increasingly isolated and vulnerable in a hostile world. Carter went on: After 9/11, America stood proud- wounded, but determined and united. A cowardly attack on innocent civilians brought us an unprecedented level of cooperation and understanding around the world. But, in just 34 months, we have watched with deep concern as all this goodwill has been squandered by a virtually unbroken series of mistakes and miscalculations. Unilateral acts and demands have isolated the United States from the very nations we need to join us in combating terrorism. The former President then noted that, during the Cold War, we understood the positive link between the defense of our own freedoms and the promotion of human rights, but recent policies have cost our nation its reputation as the world's most admired champion of Freedom and Justice.
Jimmy Carter's prescription (which he argued should transcend partisan differences and that a Kerry Presidency would carry out)? First, we cannot enhance our own security if we place in jeopardy what is most precious to us- namely, the centrality of human rights in our daily lives and in global affairs. Second, we cannot maintain our historic self-confidence as a people if we generate public panic. Third, we cannot do our duty as citizens and patriots if we pursue an agenda that polarizes and divides our country. Next, we cannot be true to ourselves if we mistreat others. And, finally, in the world at large, we cannot lead if our leaders mislead.
Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio was the first speaker before the Convention after Jimmy Carter had said his piece. I know I speak for millions of my neighbors, she said, when I say: we are tired of seeing American jobs shipped overseas... we are tired of seeing our hard-earned tax dollars going to the 'have's and the 'have more's while the 'must have's, the 'could have's, the 'should have's, the 'maybe's and the 'have not's have not at all. The next speaker was Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, the first openly homosexual non-incumbent ever to be elected to the U.S. House, in which she has now served three terms. Her only reference to those who share her sexual orientation, however, was when she noted that a Kerry Administration would provide the same great health care that members of Congress and their families enjoy and he'll guarantee that right to family health care benefits for all of our families, including domestic partners.
Ms. Baldwin was followed by Congressman Bob Menendez of New Jersey- again, who opined that there is perhaps nothing more vital, more crucial, more fundamental to our future than America's providential role in the world. Today, America is the only superpower in the world, but we need a President who understands the difference between a war of choice and a war of necessity... America cannot lead if others will not follow.
Before the final, and most featured, speaker of this first day of the Convention was to be introduced, actress Glenn Close reappeared to introduce a remembrance of the events and aftermath of the events of 11 September 2001, including a touching speech by a woman, Haleema Salie, whose daughter was killed aboard one of the planes that were crashed into New York City's World Trade Center that awful morning. Ms. Salie urged that you never forget our loved ones, to remember they were people, exactly like you and me, each with their own story. Dignity asks that you give them a human face. And then I want to ask that you remember September 11th as the day we were one- it was the day we acted as if we were responsible for each other: human life was valued above all else. It was, and must remain, the defining moment that reminds us what unites us is stronger than what divides us. Her speech was followed by a 16-year-old violinist playing Amazing Grace.
The Rev. David Alston of Columbia, S.C.- who served under Senator Kerry in Vietnam- gave a rousing speech on behalf of his former skipper. If this Convention were being held some two generations or more ago, this might even have formed the basis for a compelling nominating or seconding speech promoting the candidacy of a presidential contender actively battling for the presidential nomination on the floor of the Convention, the way it used to be. Friends, in this city- more than two centuries ago- patriots launched a revolution that changed History. Generations since have marched, fought and died to defend the sacred ideals of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. And, to make these ideals a reality for you, every American, it is now our turn to defend these ideals, it is our time to speak out, it is our duty to exercise our most precious right as Americans- the right to vote. Come November 2d, join me in casting your ballot for a new, principled and courageous leader- America's next President, John Kerry!
Finally, the main event of this Convention's first day: first, New York's Junior Senator- and America's former First Lady- Hillary Rodham Clinton was introduced by Permanent Chairman Richardson. Tonight, she began, I have the pleasure of introducing the last great Democratic President but, first, I want to say a few words about the next great Democratic President, John Kerry. Senator Clinton stated, of Kerry: He knows very well that you have to lead the world, not alienate it. He will lower the deficit, not raise it. He will create good jobs, not lose them. And he will solve a health care crisis for our people, not ignore it.
But it was soon time for Mrs. Clinton to introduce her husband, after which- to the sounds of the recording of Fleetwood Mac's Don't Stop, which was the unofficial campaign theme song of his first run for the Presidency a dozen years earlier, the former President strode onto the stage and hugged his now-Senator/once-First Lady before taking to the podium to a great upwelling of cheering delegates, showing that he could still well turn on the charisma that so often gave him stage presence in that political arena once so familiar to him. There was no question that, at least among his own Party, Bill Clinton was still a star:
My friends, after three Conventions as a candidate or a President, tonight I come to you as a citizen... a foot soldier in our fight for the future, as we nominate in Boston a true New England patriot for President... We are constantly being told that America is deeply divided. But all Americans value Freedom and Faith and Family. We all honor the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform- in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world... We all want our children to grow up in a secure America, leading the world toward a peaceful and prosperous future. Our differences are in how we can best achieve these things in a time of unprecedented change. Therefore, we Democrats will bring to the American People this year a positive campaign, arguing not about who is or is not a bad person, but what is the best way to build a safe and prosperous world our children deserve...
Democrats and Republicans have very different, and deeply felt, ideas about what choices we should make. They're rooted in fundamentally different views of how we should meet our common challenges at home and how we should play our role in the world. The former President then went on to describe one basic difference, among others, between his Party and the other Major Party as one in which Democrats believe the role of government should be to give people the tools and create the conditions to make the most of their own lives and we think everybody should have that chance. On the other hand, the Republicans in Washington believe that America should be run by the right people, their people, in a world in which America acts unilaterally when we can and cooperates when we have to. They believe the role of government is to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of those who embrace their economic, political and social views, leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves on important matters...
Now, since most Americans aren't that far to the right, Clinton argued, our friends have to portray us Democrats as simply unacceptable, lacking in strength and values. In other words, they need a divided America, but we don't. Americans long to be united, Clinton opined. After 9/11 we all just wanted to be one nation. Not a single American- on September the 12th, 2001- cared who won the next Presidential Election: all we wanted to be was one country... The President had an amazing opportunity to bring the country together under his slogan of Compassionate Conservatism and to unite the World in the struggle against Terror. Instead... they chose to use that moment of unity to try to push the country too far to the right and walk away from our allies...
Now, look at the choices they made, choices they believed in. They chose to protect [the Bush Administration] tax cut [for those in the highest income tax brackets, a tax cut from which Clinton admitted he benefited] at all costs, while withholding promised funding for the Leave No Child Behind Act, leaving 2.1 million school children behind... [Their] policies have turned a projected $5.8 trillion surplus that we left... into a projected debt of almost $5 trillion, with over $400 million in deficit this year and for years to come.
Clinton acknowledged the choice in this year's Presidential Election as being between two strong men who both love their country but who have very different world views... I think we're right for two reasons: first of all, America just works better when more people have a chance to live their dreams and, secondly, we live in an interdependent world in which we cannot possibly kill, jail or occupy all our potential adversaries, so we have to both fight terror and build a world with more partners and fewer terrorists. Now, we tried it their way for 12 years, we tried it our way for 8 years, then we tried it their way for 4 more. By the only test that matters, whether people were better off when we finished than when we started, our way works better...
Now let me tell you what I know about John Kerry... During the Vietnam War, many young men- including the current President, the Vice President- and me- could have gone to Vietnam and didn't. John Kerry came from a privileged background: he could have avoided going, too, but instead he said 'Send me'. When they sent those swift boats up the river in Vietnam and they told them their job was to draw hostile fire, to wave the American flag and bait the enemy to come out and fight, John Kerry said 'Send me'. And then, on my watch, when it was time to heal the wounds of war and normalize relations with Vietnam and to demand an accounting of the POWs and MIAs we lost there, John Kerry said 'Send me'. The former President later opined that the Bush/Cheney campaign will tell you we should be afraid of John Kerry and John Edwards because they won't stand up to the terrorists. Don't you believe it. Strength and Wisdom are not opposing values. They go hand in hand and John Kerry has both.
Clinton concluded: So let us join tonight and say to America in a loud, clear voice: 'Send John Kerry!'
After the former President had finished his speech, R&B diva Patti LaBelle sang a rendition of Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come. This was followed by the Benediction by the Rev. Roberta Hestenes, Minister at Large for WorldVision. Then the Convention recessed until the next day. It was 11 PM EDT (0300 UTC).