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Nancy Pelosi: Issue-Focused

Nancy Pelosi's speech has a recurring theme: Democrats have it right.

She hits on education and every child's right to have a world class one. She trashes Republicans for outsourcing jobs. "Invest in America and in our people."

She moves on to seniors, and health care. "Health care is a right, not a privilege."

She gets very excited when endorsing Tom Daschle--the crowd responds. A very small portion of her speech is devoted to John Kerry. It's mostly a cheerleading call to Democrats--nothing wrong with that. She's really one of the few speakers who addresses the issues as well as the candidates.

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Joe Lieberman: Falls Short

Here's Jolting Joe. He's not moving us. But he never did. So far the crowd is lukewarm, politely clapping. His speech is filled with the same themes as the others: God, values, family, strengthening the military and homeland security. He too uses a "plowshares into weapons" analogy that Wesley Clark used. He ends with John Edwards' slogan about hope. Totally uninspiring. He was far more passionate in the debates and when he was determined to stay in the race. He's way too pro-war for us, but at least then we admired his passion.

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Wesley Clark Scores

Wesley Clark gives a great speech. He's getting thunderous applause. He's on fire like we've never seen him:

And this soldier has news for you. Any who tells you that one political party has a monopoly on the defense of our nation is committing a fraud on the American people....The safety of our country demands an end to the warped, doctrinaire, ineffective policies of that crowd in Washington. Enough is enough.

Now he's praising John Kerry. He includes God, family, moral values, physical courage. He mentions Bill Clinton and the crowd explodes with applause.

Clark says the magic words: John Kerry will be a great commander in chief.

He ends with, "America: Hear this soldier. Choose John Kerry."

The crowd is wild now. They are standing, even in the upper balconies. Great job, General!

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The Hall is Packed

We just got back with our double strength espresso. We're wired and ready to go. This hall is packed to the gills. There are people sitting in the stairwells. Getting out now would be next to impossible. For the first time, we bloggers are all hunched over our computers and the gabbing has stopped. The delegates are listening to the speakers.

Joe Biden's speech is too long, but they don't care. They are standing and clapping. When we think Biden, we think Rave Act and how he snuck it into the Amber child alert bill. We wouldn't support him for dogcatcher. We can't even fathom that he was almost a contender for President. But, the people here seemed to really like him.

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Blogger Bash and Blogger Media

We just finished updating our post on our interview yesterday with Sen. Durbin. To switch to a lighter topic for a minute, we had a great time at last night's blogger bash. It was at an upscale resturant called Meze. Bloggers were the guest of honor. We got green wristbands which allowed us to get free drinks all night. There were a few hundred people at the party--the non-bloggers had to pay for drinks at the cash bar. We got goodie bags with USB memory sticks and blogger buttons and other stuff. There was a large buffet table filled with excellent Greek food.

We mostly hung out with our fellow bloggers, but we chatted a bit with Eric Alterman of Altercation and the Nation, Mickey Kaus of Slate, some guys that have started an environmental site called DefenderBear.com, a guy who runs a New York performance artist space called Tank. We said hello to Janeane Garafolo of AirAmericaRadio. We didn't know a lot of people there. When we left at 2 am, the party was still going strong.

By the way, it's getting hard to write here. The Daily Show is interviewing Jesse Taylor of Pandagon right next to us. The media has been swarming us. Bright lights, microphones, cameramen, all squeezing into our overcrowded row. It's hard to concentrate. Here's Jesse and the Comedy Central guy:

A blogfan just came up to Markos of Daily Kos just to say hello. Yesterday, people asked him for autographs. All that attention must be wearing, take a look at him now (we just snapped this, he's sitting next to us.)

Other people we got to say hello to while we were here (all of whom we had met before): Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Greta Van Susteren, Larry Elder, Gloria Allred (who is here as an "honored guest"--obviously, Amber Frey hasn't testified yet in the Scott Peterson case.)

Update: It's now 7:30 and the speeches have started but not any great speakers yet. We need some coffee--there's a lot of tired bloggers at this table.

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Tonight's Speakers

Among tonight's speakers are Wesley Clark, Madeleine Albright, Joe Lieberman, Joe Biden and Max Cleland. John Kerry will be the final speaker around 11 pm.

We just got handed excerpts of Kerry's speech tonight. We won't quote, but we can tell you to expect he will say he will reform our intelligence system. He will build a stronger military. He will implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. There will be lots of talk about jobs and family values.

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Republican Response

By e-mail we're told that in an attempt to limit John Kerry's message, the Republicans will release a 12 minute video to embarass Kerry tonight, and that it will be all over the news tomorrow and this weekend.

Anyone know if this is true? What's the appropriate response if it is true?

Update: Minipundit advises it's true and you can watch it here.

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Swat Team Comes Out to Play

Just as we arrived at the Fleet Center, the swat team came out in full riot gear. The protesters were burning flags and chanting. Here are some pictures --we were closer to the police than the protesters.

Update: Sullivan writes in to say there are some good protest photos here. We agree. We love the ones of the protesters dressed as detainees.

Update: Here's the news account of the "skirmish" between the protesters and police.

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Kerry Movie On Tap for Tonight

MSNBC is playing excerpts of the movie on John Kerry's life that will be played at the convention tonight. Kerry seems very relaxed in the clips we've seen. This is the first time we've been able to watch any tv during the day. Right now they are doing a segment on the history of the acceptance speech...talk about a time filler!

Update: We spoke too soon. Doris Kearns Goodwin was the analyst for the speech segment and she was great. She fit so many historical stories into her five minutes--and brought out that every speech is submitteed to focus groups. Several of FDR's greatest lines wouldn't have made it into his speeches if they had focus groups then---makes you wonder whether the riskless approach to politics itoday is progress or a loss for all of us. To us, it's the latter. We'd rather see a candidate go out on a limb, bring us some spontaneous passion, even flub a line once in a while, rather than the canned, over-vetted rhetoric we get these days.

We just moved hotels again. A record for us--4 hotels in 5 nights. Atrios sure gets this right:

Sorry for light posting, but just getting from place to place is taking forever right now and I have to go to lots of places...

Back soon, we're now headed over to the Fleet Center to settle in on Blogger Alley.

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Military Role at Convention

We expect there will be a lot of military support on display for John Kerry tonight. As one of the network anchors we were listening to last night after the Blogger Bash, which we'll write4 about later, asked, how will it play with a predominantly anti-war crowd?

We suspect that this crowd is so anxious to get John Kerry elected, they will realize the display is not for them, but for the undecided voters out in the heartland.

On the other hand, there have been no promises to bring our troops home. There will be none from Kerry and Edwards. The view seems to be, the U.S. made this mess, we'll clean it up.

We'd like to see an exit strategy. A date for a pullout. Sure, we have some obligation to fix the mess we created. But we also have an obligation to our sons an daughters to bring them home safe and as soon as possible.

Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Dennis Kucinich are the liberal conscience of the party. We know the public hears them--we know they have more support than that portrayed in the media. We want them to know we are listening--and so are millions of others. This year is for John Kerry and John Edwards; eight years from now, we hope the party and country is ready for a greater shift to the left.

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Interviewing Senators

Updated to include more details of interview: Wednesday night, just before John Edwards spoke, a group of bloggers were invited to interview Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL). We jumped at the chance since we think Durbin has introduced some of the best legislation in the past year and opposed some of the worst.

He has been a strong critic of the Patriot Act. He introduced an anti-torture amendmant. He co-sponsored the Civil Liberties Restoration Act. He fought for (and lost) proposed amendments to Sen. Feinstein and Hatch's terrible Anti-Gang bill.

Durbin has been in the forefront of the fight to protect our civil liberties. The interview took place at the press office in the Fleet Center. He had ten minutes and there were 8 of us, so we each took turns asking a question.

Here were the questions I wanted to ask him:

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Edwards Shines

It's deafening in the hall. John Edwards is here. The house is packed. Everyone is yelling and waving red. Here's a picture we just took from our seat.

Update: AP coverage of speech is here.

He's gone and everyone is still cheering --now he's back, an encore, just like a rock star--we got some great pix, now we're off to the Blogger Bash the DNC is throwing for us and then we'll be watching the reruns on tv and blogging some more.

Love this rap group--the Motown was getting a little old.

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