Tag Archives: President Obama

Poor Sports

Loser bannerAPR_Oct_1_2013I am thrilled that my hometown Major League baseball team, The Cleveland Indians, have staged an impressive and determined late season rally to earn a spot in the Wild Card playoff game – and a shot to advance in their improbable quest for the Tribe’s first World Series crown since 1948.

Chicago White Sox v Cleveland IndiansMy Indians will play the Tampa Bay Rays in a single game tomorrow, Wednesday October 2 in Cleveland, to determine which team advances to face the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series.

There will be a lot riding on that one game tomorrow: the hopes and dreams of both teams and the millions of fans that follow them in Northern Ohio and the Florida Gulf Coast. For the players and fans, there will be a lot of pride, prestige and money at stake. A great deal will be on the line when the two teams face off between the lines.

-48a9714f75dcb39dWhen the Wild Card game is over, there will be a winner and a loser. The winning team will advance and the losing team will not.

The team that loses may claim a moral victory. The Indians and their manager, Terry Francona, certainly could console themselves with a moral victory as nobody expected this young team of no-name players to get anywhere near the playoffs this season. But, more likely, they won’t. Instead, like all good and honorable athletes and sportsmen, they will look to the future and rededicate themselves to earning playoff victories next season.

bildeAnd you won’t hear a lot of gripes from the players on the losing team about the umpires being unfair or how they really won but the media, or the opposing team, or their opponent’s fans are Un-American  liars and cheaters. They will behave like professionals. They’ll have measured, respectful, even complimentary words to say about the team that defeated them. They’ll thank their fans and they’ll take their lumps in the press and the court of public opinion depending upon the merits of their performance on the field.

And that’s why I love sports. Because, in the end, if you play the game the right way – sports builds character. In life, you must learn how to win with grace and humility – and how to lose with dignity and an optimistic resolve to improve and persevere.

2aea3a55c6047b68_enhanced-buzz-25400-1380636798-10.preview_tallWhich is also why I can’t stand the GOP majority in the House of Representatives and their poor sport tactics that have led to this unfortunate, self-inflicted government shutdown. Driven by the right wing ideological anarchists of their rabidly anti-government Tea Party caucus, the GOP has steered itself – and the nation – into an easily avoidable ditch. And why?

Because the GOP refused to behave like professionals when they lost the big game.

0929-romneycare-obamacare.jpg_full_380Last year, President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, played a long, marathon playoff series called the Presidential Election of 2012. At stake in that contest was a public referendum on the key legislative accomplishments of Obama’s first term, especially the Affordable Care Act. Romney made it clear that he would abolish “Obamacare” (as though he actually could do such a thing on his own, which he couldn’t) and President Obama defended the new health care law as a fundamental step in restoring out nation’s economic and physical health.

After all the games were played, The Democrats outscored the Republicans to take the championship.

763fc0aaf484d5203e0f6a706700c3e6President Obama won the election 51% to 47%. He won by 5 million votes. It wasn’t even close. Democrats also increased their majority in the Senate and won additional seats in the House. In fact, half a million more Americans cast their votes for Democrats in the House than they did for Republicans. So, the GOP could claim no mandate (no moral victory) coming out of the big game.

So what did the poor sport Republicans do?

Did they endure their loss with dignity and look forward with optimism and a resolve to improve and persevere?

130820231059-ted-cruz-obamacare-story-topNo, that’s not the way these sore losers play. Instead, the GOP refused to accept the final score and have tried over and over to re-play the game all by themselves. They voted dozens of times to overturn Obamacare — despite the fact they could not possibly prevail because the President and the Democrats in the Senate had already won that crucial game and had no reason to re-play it. The same was true of the GOP House majority’s constant votes to degrade a woman’s right to choose, weaken voting rights laws, and re-play other critical games they lost in the Presidential Championship Series of 2012.

rAnd now these poor GOP-Tea Party losers have decided that, rather than compete in a new season with new ideas, more popular policy positions and a rededication to making progress through the small-D democratic process – they have forced themselves and the nation into the damaging, self-defeating equivalent of the 1994 Major League Baseball strike.

That baseball strike wiped out the second half of the season, the playoffs and the World Series. It was devastating to the Great American Pastime – and to Cleveland in particular. When the strike began on August 12, 1994, the Indians were just one game back from the division-leading Chicago White Sox and were leading the AL Wildcard Race over the Baltimore Orioles by 2.5 games.

Barack ObamaNow, these whining Conservative House Republican losers have shut down the political season because they couldn’t compete on the playing field in last year’s championship playoffs. And their manager, John Boehner, has proved himself a wimp of a leader: a man who knows how the game should be played but is too weak and venal to lead his unruly players in a manner that respects their opponents and the great American game they all play: democracy.

I wish my Cleveland Indians good luck tomorrow and I dearly hope they win.

john_boehner_begs_gop_congressmen_to_stop_partying_with_pretty_lady_lobbyists-1280x899And I hope John Boehner and his Tea Party-GOP children are watching. It will be good for them to see how adult professional sportsmen compete.

Play ball, GOP.

In the adult world, you can’t just take your ball and go home when you’re on the wrong end of the score.

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Banal & Bankrupt Notions from the Squishy & Feckless Political Center: An Examination of the Weak, Useless, and (perhaps) Willfully Naive Thinking of Columnist Doyle McManus of The Los Angeles Times.

doylebanner 1Barack Obama Sworn In As U.S. President For A Second TermWithin days of President Barack Obama’s triumphant and stirring Second Inaugural Address, we were treated to a seemingly profound and thoughtful newspaper column by Los Angeles Times opinion writer, Doyle McManus, who gave us his sage and pointedly disappointed observations on the tone of Obama’s speech. Deeply serious Mr. McManus thought President Obama’s Second Inaugural Address should have struck a less partisan attitude. But who the hell is Doyle McManus? What is he thinking? Why is he such a naïve, right of center, post-partisan fetishist? And why should we just ignore what he writes?

6a00d8341c7de353ef0133f5907330970b-320wiDoyle McManus is a son of privilege. Born in 1952, the son of a San Francisco advertising executive, he graduated from Stanford University. A Fulbright scholar, Doyle attended the University of Brussels before joining The Los Angeles Times in 1978. Thirty years later The Tribune Company made him a columnist. Mr. McManus is an accomplished journalist — he’s covered every presidential election since 1984 — but he’s managed to keep his rose colored classes perched on the bridge of his centrist nose.

And his opinion of President Obama’s Second Inaugural Address is a gob of lukewarm spit.

Here’s middling, piddling, pusillanimous Doyle’s opinion column in The Los Angeles Times, along with my commentary IN BOLD CAPS:

Obama’s reach wasn’t long enough

By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

On the eve of Inauguration Day, White House political strategist David Plouffe promised that President Barack Obama’s inaugural address would include a call for bipartisan cooperation.

“He is going to say that our political system does not require us to resolve all of our differences or settle all of our disputes, but it is absolutely imperative that our leaders try and seek common ground,” Plouffe said on ABC.

But it was hard to find that outstretched hand in the inaugural speech Obama gave Monday.

mitch-mcconnell-make-obama-one-term-presidentREALLY, MR. DOYLE? DID YOU REALLY EXPECT THAT, AFTER REPUBLICAN SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL GREETED OBAMA’S FIRST INAUGURAL BIPARTISAN OVERTURE WITH A CLEARLY STATED DETERMINATION TO MAKE PRESIDENT OBAMA “A ONE TERM PRESIDENT”, THAT OBAMA WOULD STRETCH OUT HIS HAND TO HAVE IT BITTEN AGAIN?

In 19 minutes, Obama delivered an eloquent, powerful and often combative summary of his values as a progressive Democrat who believes that an activist federal government helps make America great.

And if there was any question about how ambitious an agenda Obama intends to pursue in his second term, the answer was clear: He’s going big, not small, just as he did in 2009.

The president listed a daunting series of priorities: a fiscal deal including tax reform, measures to reduce health care costs, a new immigration law, gun control and education reform. He made a point of promising progress on climate change, a priority he seemed to have abandoned during his difficult first term. He added full equality for gay Americans, an item that made its way onto his first-term agenda only through a campaign-year back door.

Obama knows that he will need to win some Republican votes, especially in the House, to accomplish any of those goals. But on Monday he chose to assert his electoral mandate rather than extend an olive branch.

0122-OBAMA-BOEHNER-sized.jpg_full_600AH, YES – THE OLIVE BRANCH! JUST HOW WILL EXTENDING AN OLIVE BRANCH – WHICH McCONNELL AND BOEHNER REJECTED DURING OBAMA’S LAST TERM – GET THESE NEANDERTHAL, TEA PARTY-DRIVEN REPUBLICANS TO MOVE FORWARD ON TAX REFORM, REDUCING HEALTH CARE COSTS, COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION LAW, GUN CONTROL AND EDUCATION REFORM – LET ALONE EQUALITY FOR GAY AMERICANS? ARE YOU SERIOUS, MR. McMANUS?

If there’s a second half of his strategy — a secret plan to help bring some Republicans to “yes” — the president is keeping it well hidden.

Most inaugural speeches are so anodyne — full of airy invocations of national unity and vague calls to greatness — that the words are forgotten by lunchtime. Not this one. It was a progressive’s call to arms.

1358788602_barack-obama-inauguration-speech-467OF COURSE IT WAS. IT WAS A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS – PROGRESSIVES, LIBERALS AND DEMOCRATS – WHO ELECTED HIM. AND HE WAS SPEAKING TO US – THE MAJORITY WHO ELECTED HIM AND WANT TO MOVE THE COUNRTY FORWARD. WHY DOES THAT SURPRISE YOU, MR. McMANUS?

“We have always understood that when times change, so must we,” Obama said, “that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges” (are you listening, Tea Party?) and “that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.

“A great nation must care for the vulnerable and protect its people from life’s worst hazards. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people.”

And instead of gauzy invocations of common ground, Obama issued a series of surprisingly tart political zingers aimed, not so subtly, at his adversaries.

“Our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it,” he said. “We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky or happiness for the few.

“We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.”

He even took aim at Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee, who has derided recipients of federal benefits as “takers” rather than “makers.”

photoAMAZING! OBAMA ACTUALLY RE-STATED THE ARGUMENTS THAT WON HIM RE-ELECTION! MR. McMANUS SEEMS TO BE SHOCKED THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA WOULD ACTUALLY EMPHASIZE THE KEYS TO HIS VICTORY: CHAMPIONING THE 99% — AND PROTECTING FDR’S NEW DEAL SOCIAL SAFETY NET.

“The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security … do not make us a nation of takers,” he said.

Ryan, who was on the platform listening, took the high road with a statement that said: “We (have) strong disagreements over the direction of the country. But today we put those disagreements aside. Today we remember what we share in common.”

Privately, though, many Republicans were seething.

AP771916897310_620x350BOO HOO HOO. PAUL RYAN IS SEETHING. CRY ME A RIVER, McMANUS. CAN YOU IMAGINE ANYTHING OBAMA MIGHT HAVE SAID THAT WOULD HAVE PLACATED ANTI-NEW DEAL TEA PARTIERS LIKE RYAN? SPARE ME THEIR CROCODILE TEARS. 

It was a long way from the Barack Obama of 2009, the brash young idealist who promised to change the way Washington worked, seek post-partisan solutions and banish “the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long.”

2700349-president-barack-obama-2013-obama-inauguration-650-430IT WAS A LONG WAY FROM THE RELENTLESS PUNCHES THAT OBAMA TOOK IN THE FACE FROM THE GOP AFTER OFFERING AN OLIVE BRANCH IN HIS 2009 SPEECH. WERE YOU THERE, MR. McMANUS? DID YOU MISS PRESIDENT OBAMA’S FIRST ADMINISTRATION? WERE YOU SLEEPING THE PAST FOUR YEARS – AND JUST WOKE UP, IMAGINING YOU’RE IN POLITICAL FANTSASY LAND?

This year, instead of an outstretched hand, he delivered a slap. “We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate,” he said.

Obama has been trying this more pugnacious approach since the November election, and it has undeniably made him more effective — so far. He forced Republicans to back down on income tax rates at the edge of the “fiscal cliff,” and he appears to have forced them to back down again on their threats to block an increase in the federal debt ceiling.

boehner-kelly-clarksonDUH. GETTING TOUGH WITH THESE GOP CLOWNS ACTUALLY WORKS. BECAUSE REPUBLICAN IDEAS ARE MORIBUND – AND THEIR LEGISLATIVE AGENDA IS DETRIMENTAL TO PROGRESS.

It’s impossible to blame any politician, even a president who once promised post-partisan hope and change, for surrendering to reality and doing what works. But it sure isn’t pretty, and, more important, it may not always be effective.

At some point, Obama is likely to need willing collaborators from the opposition — if he hopes to pass an immigration reform law, for example, or negotiate a long-term deal to reduce the deficit.

When that day comes, the president may find himself wishing he had devoted a few more words of his second inaugural address to offering an outstretched hand.

obama-inauguration-elite-dailyREALLY, DOYLE McMANUS? DESPITE ALL HISTORICAL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY, DO YOU TRULY BELIEVE THAT THE GOP CULTURE WARRIORS AND TAX FETISHISTS WERE GOING TO BE ASSUAGED BY OBAMA SPEAKING A FEW “MORE WORDS” IN THEIR FAVOR?

DO YOU TRULY BELIEVE THAT BOEHNER, RYAN, McCONNEL, RAND PAUL AND THE REST OF THE GOP WILL ACTUALLY RESPOND POSITIVELY TO OBAMA “OFFERING AN OUTSTRECHED HAND”?

IF SO, THEN DOYLE McMANUS — YOU ARE EITHER A COMPLETE FOOL OR SOMETHING MUCH, MUCH WORSE. 

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My Friend’s Message to Mitch…

r-MITCH-MCCONNELL-DEBT-DEAL-large570deadringersturtlemcconnellMy good buddy Darroch Greer (a fine documentarian and learned historian) sent me an e-mail today that so perfectly expresses my own frustration with the Senate Minority Leader from Kentucky that I felt it should be shared with readers of this blog.

Here is Darroch’s message to Senator Mitch McConnell:

Dear Senator McConnell:

mitch-mcconnell1It is time for you to move forward or get out of the way.  The  American people are done with your obstructionist politics.  You and  Speaker Boehner are now more than ever the symbols of an entrenched, do-nothing congress.  To whomever you are beholden, their interests  are not serving the American people.  What kind of legacy do you expect to have?  You made your stand four years ago, and it has been nationally rejected.  You have painted yourself into a corner, and your only chance for a decent record to reflect on with pride is to work with the president and the majority party to move the country forward.  It is time for you to work for the interests of the country as a whole, and stop being an obstructionist to progress.  Settle the budget and tax questions to the majority’s liking, support the Affordable Health Care Act, and move on.  Get the job done.

 Sincerely,

Darroch Greer

 You too can voice your displeasure!:  http://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=ContactFormmcconnell_turtle

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An Election Night to Remember.

When newly re-elected President Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Nov. 7, 2012 at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center, my daughter Emilia was there to witness history from the front row.

Little did we know that she was about to become the right girl in the right place at the right time.

A senior at Northwestern University, Emilia had worked all summer as an unpaid Obama-Biden Campaign Fellow, helping to set up volunteer phone banks all over Chicago’s north side, as well as canvassing in the battleground states of Iowa and Wisconsin. Emilia had paid her campaign dues, and cast her first-ever vote for Obama. On election night, she was anxious but hopeful.

I must admit that I was less anxious. I had been a faithful adherent of Nate Silver’s 538 blog and had been checking the Talking Points Memo poll averages everyday. Unless math and the law of averages no longer mattered, the odds were long for Mitt Romney. However, as an Ohio boy born and raised, I feared for the kind of voter suppression and voting machine shenanigans that probably cost John Kerry the White House in 2004. But if Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa held strong for Obama – I knew that Florida wouldn’t even matter. (Which, as it turned out, was a good thing.)

As the polls closed across the country on the evening of November 6, Emilia and a group of our closest friends drove from Evanston to the south end of downtown Chicago – hoping to celebrate the election victory they had all worked so hard to make happen. Our enterprising buddies JoAnn Loulan and Ronny Crawford, who had worked hard for Obama in California, managed to wangle ID and passes that would get them all very close to the presidential action in McCormick Place, the largest convention center in America.

Back in Woodland Hills, the rest of our family and more of our close friends gathered in front of our television to enjoy a big pot of chili, an endless parade of desserts – and President Obama’s steady Electoral College march to victory.One by one, the bellwether states came in for Obama: Pennsylvania, Iowa, Michigan – and, halleluiah! – Ohio. I knew Obama had won.We were switching from station to station when Fox News called the election for the President. It felt freaking great. Everybody jumped to their feet in our crowded den — cheering and laughing and celebrating the Democratic Party’s triumph over Tea Party lunacy and Mitt Romney lies.

But there were even more thrills in store.

We were watching MSNBC when President Obama strode onto the stage at McCormick Place to acknowledge his defeated foe, thank his supporters, claim his victory – and eloquently lay out his vision for America’s next four years.

Emilia, as I mentioned earlier, had a front row view of Obama as he spoke. Her enraptured face caught the attention of the photographers covering this historic moment.

At one point early in the President’s speech, the camera cut away to the crowd – and our beaming daughter Emilia filled our TV screen. Needless to say, our delirious corner of Woodland Hills got even louder at that moment.

What follows is the transcript of President Obama’s speech that night, illustrated with the photos that were taken of Emilia as he spoke.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.

Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward.

It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.

Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.

Our friend Suzy Crawford is just to Emilia’s right.

I want to thank every American who participated in this election — whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time.

By the way, we have to fix that.

Whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone — whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference.

I just spoke with Governor Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign. We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service and that is the legacy that we honor and applaud tonight. In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.

I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America’s happy warrior, the best vice president anybody could ever hope for, Joe Biden.

And I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago. Let me say this publicly: Michelle, I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you, too, as our nation’s first lady.

Sasha and Malia, before our very eyes you’re growing up to become two strong, smart beautiful young women, just like your mom. And I’m so proud of you guys. But I will say that for now one dog’s probably enough.

To the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics. The best. The best ever. Some of you were new this time around, and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning. But all of you are family. No matter what you do or where you go from here, you will carry the memory of the history we made together and you will have the life-long appreciation of a grateful president. Thank you for believing all the way, through every hill, through every valley. You lifted me up the whole way and I will always be grateful for everything that you’ve done and all the incredible work that you put in.

I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics that tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests. But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym, or saw folks working late in a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you’ll discover something else.

You’ll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who’s working his way through college and wants to make sure every child has that same opportunity.

You’ll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who’s going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift.

Our friends Bea & Steve Rashid appear in this photo, peeking up from the left of the woman in he center of the shot.

You’ll hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse whose working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home.

That’s why we do this. That’s what politics can be. That’s why elections matter. It’s not small — it’s big. It’s important.

Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.

That won’t change after tonight, and it shouldn’t.

These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today. 

The marvelous Sydney Crawford is the lovely platinum blonde on Emilia’s left.

But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future. We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers: a country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation — with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow.

We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.

We want to pass on a country that’s safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops this — this world has ever known.

But also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war, to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being. We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag.

To the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner. To the furniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president — that’s the future we hope for. That’s the vision we share. That’s where we need to go — forward. 

That’s where we need to go.

Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It’s not always a straight line. It’s not always a smooth path.

By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin.

Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over. And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you’ve made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.

Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do.

Shelly Goldstein keeps count of Obama’s Electoral College victory.

But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our Democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on.

This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores. What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth: the belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.

I am hopeful tonight because I’ve seen the spirit at work in America. I’ve seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors, and in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose a job. I’ve seen it in the soldiers who reenlist after losing a limb and in those SEALs who charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind them watching their back. I’ve seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm.

And I saw just the other day, in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his 8-year-old daughter, whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost their family everything had it not been for health care reform passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care. I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father, but meet this incredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd listening to that father’s story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes, because we knew that little girl could be our own. And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright. That’s who we are. That’s the country I’m so proud to lead as your president.

And tonight, despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I’ve never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope. I’m not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I’m not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight. I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.

America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.

The author and his wife, Victoria, seal the victory with a kiss.

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America. And together with your help and God’s grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.

Note: After President Obama’s speech, the news media went into action across the Internet, relaying the news of Obama’s victory across the world. And, quite often, our daughter found herself the face of that glorious, victorious night.

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Democratic Convention Day Two: The Hug Heard ‘Round the Political World…

The GOP tried desperately to demonize Bill Clinton and hound him out of office, despite the fact that the Clinton administration eliminated the national debt and presided over the largest period of peacetime economic growth in our nation’s history. The GOP/Tea Party has also tried hard to demonize President Obama.

Last night, Bill Clinton came back to haunt and taunt the GOP — and make his eloquent, folksy, clear-cut case for President Obama’s re-election. Clinton’s speech was masterful, but perhaps the biggest moment came after The Big Dawg was done speaking.

Game on, Mitt!

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Michelle’s Magic & More: Democratic National Convention Day One…

The first night of the 2012 Democratic National Convention is over – and what an evening it was! First Lady Michelle Obama’s moving speech capped a series of strong presentations by a diverse parade of passionate Democratic politicians and non-pols whose lives have been affected by Barak Obama’s presidency.

For those who might not have the pleasure of watching the entire evening, here are some highlights from my favorite speakers in the order in which they appeared:

Harry Reid, Democratic Majority Leader, Member of the U.S. Senate, Nevada

Some said he shouldn’t save Detroit. But President Obama made the tough and right call to save more than a million American jobs in an important, iconic industry.

Some said he shouldn’t move heaven and earth to get bin Laden. But President Obama made the tough and right call to bring the world’s worst terrorist to justice.

Some said he couldn’t take on the big banks that brought our economy to its knees. But President Obama made the tough and right call so taxpayers will never again be on the hook for Wall Street’s risky bets.

Some said he couldn’t take on the insurance companies that were ripping us off. But President Obama made the tough and right call to save lives, save Medicare and ensure no one goes broke just because they get sick.”

“In the depth of the Great Recession, as millions of Americans were struggling to find work, the Republican leader of the senate, Mitch McConnell, said Republicans’ number one goal was to make Barack Obama a one-term president. They wouldn’t cooperate to create jobs. They wouldn’t try to turn around the economy. They wouldn’t do anything but stand in President Obama’s way.

I’ve had a front-row seat to watch the Tea Party take over the Republican Party. For three and a half years, they wouldn’t govern. They couldn’t lead. And we shouldn’t let them take over the Senate and the White House.

We must stop the Tea Party before the United States Senate falls into the hands of extremists and ideologues who leave no room for reason or compromise, who don’t recognize common ground even when they’re standing on it.

And if they won’t stand up to Rush Limbaugh or Grover Norquist, what would make anyone think they would stand up for you?”

“Today’s Republican Party believes in two sets of rules: one for millionaires and billionaires, and another for the middle class. And this year, they’ve nominated the strongest proponent—and clearest beneficiary—of this rigged game: Mitt Romney.”

Tammy Duckworth, Candidate for the US House of Representatives, Illinois

“I became an assault helicopter pilot, working my way up to command a Blackhawk helicopter company. In 2003, my National Guard unit was mobilized, and I became one of the first Army women to fly combat missions in Iraq.

Almost a year into my tour I was wounded, and recovered at Walter Reed with other wounded warriors. Some of us had obvious injuries. Others had scars on the inside that were less visible, but no less real. At the hospital, I realized my new responsibility: to honor the buddies who saved me by serving our military men and women. I became director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. We led the nation in screening for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress, and we created a tax credit for Illinois businesses that hire veterans.”

“When it comes to our men and women in harm’s way, we have a clear choice on November 6th. Last week, Mitt Romney had a chance to show his support for the brave men and women he is seeking to command. But he chose to criticize President Obama instead of even uttering the word “Afghanistan.”

Barack Obama will never ignore our troops. He will fight for them. That’s why he is my choice on November 6th. My choice is to do what my family did when times were hard: roll up our sleeves and get to work. My choice is to do what my crew did for me in a dusty field in Iraq.

On November 12th, 2004, I was co-piloting my Blackhawk north of Baghdad when we started taking enemy fire. A rocket-propelled grenade hit our helicopter, exploding in my lap, ripping off one leg, crushing the other and tearing my right arm apart. But I kept trying to fly until I passed out. In that moment, my survival and the survival of my entire crew depended on all of us pulling together. And even though they were wounded themselves and insurgents were nearby, they refused to leave a fallen comrade behind. Their heroism is why I’m alive today.”

Ultimately, that’s what this election is about…It’s about whether we will do for our fellow Americans what my crew did for me; whether we’ll look out for the hardest hit and the disabled; whether we’ll pull together in a time of need; whether we’ll refuse to give up until the job is done.

So let’s finish what we started. Let’s keep moving forward with Barack Obama. Let’s do what this country has always done: look adversity in the eye and work together to overcome it.”

Stacey Lihn, a mother whose infant daughter Zoe has had two heart surgeries and needs one more.

“Governor Romney says people like me were the most excited about President Obama the day we voted for him.

But that’s not true. Not even close.

For me, there was the day the Affordable Care Act passed and I no longer had to worry about Zoe getting the care she needed.

There was the day the letter arrived from the insurance company, saying that our daughter’s lifetime cap had been lifted.

There was the day the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare.”

“But we’re also scared. Governor Romney repealing health care reform is something we worry about literally every day. Zoe’s third open-heart surgery will happen either next year or the year after.

If Mitt Romney becomes president and Obamacare is repealed, there’s a good chance she’ll hit her lifetime cap.

There’s no way we could afford to pay for all the cares she needs to survive.”

“One in 100 children is born with a congenital heart defect. President Obama is fighting for them. He’s fighting.

For families like mine.

And we need to fight for him.”

Ted Strickland, Former Governor of Ohio

It’s been a long slog back, and we’ve still got a long way to go. But all over Ohio—all over America—men and women are going back to work with the pride of building something stamped “Made in America.” Before Barack Obama took office, it looked like that pride could have vanished forever, but today, from the staggering depths of the Great Recession, the nation has had 29 straight months of job growth. Workers across my state and across the country are getting back the dignity of a good job and a good salary.”

“President Barack Obama stood up for us, and now by God we will stand up for him. Quite frankly, Barack Obama knows what it’s like to pay a mortgage and student loans. He knows what it’s like to watch a beloved family member in a medical crisis and worry that treatment is out of reach. Barack Obama knows our struggles. And, my friends, he shares our values.

Now, Mitt Romney, he lives by a different code. To him, American workers are just numbers on a spreadsheet.

To him, all profits are created equal, whether made on our shores or off.”

“Mitt Romney proudly wrote an op-ed entitled, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” If he had had his way, devastation would have cascaded from Michigan to Ohio and across the nation. Mitt Romney never saw the point of building something when he could profit from tearing it down. If Mitt was Santa Claus, he’d fire the reindeer and outsource the elves.”

“Mitt Romney has so little economic patriotism that even his money needs a passport. It summers on the beaches of the Cayman Islands and winters on the slopes of the Swiss Alps. In Matthew, chapter 6, verse 21, the scriptures teach us that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. My friends, any man who aspires to be our president should keep both his treasure and his heart in the United States of America. And it’s well past time for Mitt Romney to come clean with the American people.

On what he’s saying about the president’s policy for welfare to work, he’s lying. Simple as that. On his tax returns, he’s hiding. You have to wonder, just what is so embarrassing that he’s gone to such great lengths to bury the truth? Whatever he’s doing to avoid taxes, can it possibly be worse than the Romney-Ryan tax plan that would have sliced Mitt’s total tax rate to less than one percent?”

“Barack Obama is betting on the American worker. Mitt Romney is betting on a Bermuda shell corporation. Barack Obama saved the American auto industry. Mitt Romney saved on his taxes. Barack Obama is an economic patriot. Mitt Romney is an outsourcing pioneer.”

Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services

“I was governor of Kansas when Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts. Many of us watched in amazement—envy, even—as he passed a universal health care law in his state. Well, Republicans may see Romneycare as a scarlet letter.  But for us Democrats, Obamacare is a badge of honor. Because no matter who you are, what stage of life you’re in, this law is a good thing.”

“I’ve spent my career fighting the worst practices of insurance companies. I know how tough it is to stand up to powerful forces that prey on consumers.  Governor Romney and Paul Ryan know how tough it is, too. That’s why they won’t do it!”

“What’s missing from the Romney-Ryan plan for Medicare is Medicare.”

Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago & Former White House Chief of Staff

“When President Obama entered the White House, the economy was in a free-fall. The auto industry: on its back. The banks: frozen up. More than three million Americans had already lost their jobs. And America’s bravest, our men and women in uniform, were fighting what would soon be the longest wars in our history. You remember the uncertainty and fear that seized the country.

On that first day, I said, “Mr. President, which crisis do you want to tackle first?” He looked at me, with that look he usually reserved for his chief of staff, “Rahm, we were sent here to tackle all of them, not choose between them.”

“Each crisis was so deep and so dangerous; any one of them would have defined another presidency. We faced a once-in-a-generation moment in American history.

Fortunately for all of us, we have a once-in-a-generation president.”

“I remember when the president received a report that the auto industry had a few weeks before collapse. We met in the Roosevelt Room late into the night. Some of the president’s advisors said that in order to save General Motors, you had to let Chrysler go under. Others said it was throwing good money after bad. Among all the experts, there were only guesses, and nobody put it at better than a one-in-four shot. Only the president suggested going all-in to save the industry.

Rising above all the voices in Washington, President Obama listened to the voices that mattered to him most—the voices of the auto workers and the communities that depended on them, just like the voices of the steelworkers and communities on the south side of Chicago where he worked earlier in his career. To President Obama, they were not just companies that needed a loan, they were communities that needed a leader to stand up for them. And because President Obama made the right choice, over one million Americans are still working today.”

“Now, one thing I know with absolute certainty, having served two great presidents, is that in the next four years, an unforeseen crisis, challenge or conflict is gonna seize the country. Whose leadership, whose judgment, whose values do you want in the White House when that crisis lands like a thud on the Oval Office desk?

A person who said in four words, “Let Detroit go bankrupt,” or a president who had another four words, “Not on my watch”? A person who believes in giving tax cuts to the most fortunate, or a president who believes in making college affordable for all Americans?”

Kal Penn, Actor/Producer, Former Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement

“I am honored to accept your nomination for president of the United States!

Wait, this isn’t my speech. Prompter guy, can we pull up my speech?”

“One of the most special days was a Saturday in 2010. The Senate repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell,” so anyone can serve the country they love, regardless of whom they love. But that same day, the Dream Act was blocked. That bill would give immigrant children—who’ve never pledged allegiance to any flag but ours—the chance to earn their citizenship. Simple. Important.

I was in a small office on the second floor of the West Wing with eight other staffers. We’d worked our hearts out and cared deeply about what this would mean for other young people. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room—tears of joy for the history that was made, but also tears of sadness because some American dreams would still be deferred.

Five minutes later, President Obama walked in, sleeves rolled up. He said to us, “This is not over. We’re gonna keep fighting. I’m gonna keep fighting. I need young people to keep fighting.” That’s why we’re here!”

“I volunteered in Iowa in 2007 because, like you, I had friends serving in Iraq, friends who were looking for jobs, others who couldn’t go to the doctor because they couldn’t afford it. I felt that had to change. So I knocked on doors. I registered voters.

And I’m volunteering again now because my friend Matt got a job at a Detroit car company that still exists, and Lauren can get the prescription she needs. I’m volunteering because Josiah is back from Iraq, Chris is finishing college on the GI Bill, and three weeks ago, my buddy Kevin’s boyfriend was able to watch him graduate from Marine Corps training. That’s change! And we can’t turn back now.”

“I really enjoyed listening to Rahm’s speech. But he’s a mayor now, so he can’t use four-letter words.

But I’m no mayor. So I’ve got one for you:

Vote!”

Lilly Ledbetter, Namesake of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Some of you may know my story: How for nineteen years, I worked as a manager for a tire plant in Alabama. And some of you may have lived a similar story: After nearly two decades of hard, proud work, I found out that I was making significantly less money than the men who were doing the same work as me. I went home, talked to my husband, and we decided to fight.

We decided to fight for our family and to fight for your family too. We sought justice because equal pay for equal work is an American value. That fight took me ten years. It took me all the way to the Supreme Court. And, in a 5–4 decision, they stood on the side of those who shortchanged my pay, my overtime, and my retirement just because I am a woman.

The Supreme Court told me that I should have filed a complaint within six months of the company’s first decision to pay me less even though I didn’t know about it for nearly two decades. And if we hadn’t elected President Barack Obama, the Supreme Court’s wrongheaded interpretation would have been the law of the land.

And that would have been the end of the story. But with President Obama on our side, even though I lost before the Supreme Court, we won. The first bill that President Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.”

“As he said that day with me by his side, “Making our economy work means making sure it works for everyone.”

“That was the first step but it can’t be the last. Because women still earn just 77 cents for every dollar men make. Those pennies add up to real money.”

“Maybe 23 cents doesn’t sound like a lot to someone with a Swiss bank account, Cayman Island Investments and an IRA worth tens of millions of dollars. But Governor Romney, when we lose 23 cents every hour, every day, every paycheck, every job, over our entire lives, what we lose can’t just be measured in dollars.

Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts

“In Massachusetts, we know Mitt Romney. By the time he left office, Massachusetts was 47th in the nation in job creation—during better economic times—and household income in our state was declining. He cut education deeper than anywhere else in America. Roads and bridges were crumbling. Business taxes were up, and business confidence was down. Our clean energy potential was stalled. And we had a structural budget deficit. Mitt Romney talks a lot about all the things he’s fixed. I can tell you that Massachusetts wasn’t one of them. He’s a fine fellow and a great salesman, but as governor he was more interested in having the job than doing it.”

“The question is: What do we believe? We believe in an economy that grows opportunity out to the middle class and the marginalized, not just up to the well connected. We believe that freedom means keeping government out of our most private affairs, including out of a woman’s decision whether to keep an unwanted pregnancy and everybody’s decision about whom to marry.”

“If we want to win elections in November and keep our country moving forward, if we want to earn the privilege to lead, it’s time for Democrats to stiffen our backbone and stand up for what we believe. Quit waiting for pundits or polls or super PACs to tell us who the next president or senator or congressman is going to be. We’re Americans.

We shape our own future. Let’s start by standing up for President Barack Obama.”

“This is the president who delivered the security of affordable health care to every single American after 90 years of trying. This is the president who brought Osama bin Laden to justice, who ended the war in Iraq and is ending the war in Afghanistan. This is the president who ended “don’t ask, don’t tell” so that love of country, not love of another, determines fitness for military service. Who made equal pay for equal work the law of the land. This is the president who saved the American auto industry from extinction, the American financial industry from self-destruction, and the American economy from depression. Who added over 4.5 million private sector jobs in the last two-plus years, more jobs than George W. Bush added in eight.”

“With a record and a vision like that, I will not stand by and let him be bullied out of office—and neither should you, and neither should you and neither should you.”

Martin O’Malley, Governor of Maryland

Jeff Bridges and Governor O’Malley jam in the days leading up to the DNC.

Since the first days of the American Revolution, Maryland has been called the “Old Line State” because of this true story of a group of soldiers called the Maryland Line: immigrants and native born, black and white, volunteers all. It is August 27th, 1776—two months since our Declaration of Independence. Outnumbered and surrounded, Washington’s army is about to be crushed forever at Brooklyn Heights. The British are closing in.

With America’s future hanging in the balance, word is passed up and down the Maryland Line: “Fix bayonets, we’re moving forward.” And they do. Into the breach. They hold off the British just long enough for Washington’s army to escape and fight another day. Today there is a plaque by the mass graves of those citizen soldiers. It reads, “In honor of the Maryland 400, who on this battlefield saved the American army.”

In times of adversity—for the country we love—Maryland always chooses to move forward. Progress is a choice. Job creation is a choice. Whether we move forward or back: this too is a choice. That is what this election is all about!”

“With 29 months in a row of private sector job growth, President Obama is moving America forward, not back! By making college more affordable for millions of middle-class families, President Obama is moving America forward, not back! By securing the guarantee of Medicare for our seniors, President Obama is moving America forward, not back! By putting forward a concrete plan to cut waste, ask those at the top to pay a little more, and reduce our deficit, President Obama is moving America forward, not back! And by adding American manufacturing jobs for the first time since the late 1990s, President Obama is moving America forward, not back!”

“Facts are facts: No president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the Great Depression inherited a worse economy, bigger job losses or deeper problems from his predecessor. But President Obama is moving America forward, not back.”

“Instead of safeguarding our seniors, Romney and Ryan would end the guarantee of Medicare and replace it with a voucher in order to give bigger tax breaks to billionaires. Instead of investing in America, they hide their money in Swiss bank accounts and ship our jobs to China!

Swiss bank accounts never built an American bridge. Swiss bank accounts don’t put cops on the beat or teachers in our classrooms. Swiss bank accounts never created American jobs!”

“Yes, we live in changing times. The question is: What type of change will we make of it? As we search for common ground and the way forward together, let’s ask one another—let’s ask the leaders in the Republican party—without any anger, meanness or fear: How much less, do you really think, would be good for our country? How much less education would be good for our children? How many hungry American kids can we no longer afford to feed? Governor Romney: How many fewer college degrees would make us more competitive as a nation?”

Julián Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, Texas

“America didn’t become the land of opportunity by accident. My grandmother’s generation and generations before always saw beyond the horizons of their own lives and their own circumstances. They believed that opportunity created today would lead to prosperity tomorrow. That’s the country they envisioned, and that’s the country they helped build. The roads and bridges they built, the schools and universities they created, the rights they fought for and won—these opened the doors to a decent job, a secure retirement, the chance for your children to do better than you did.”

“We know that you can’t be pro-business unless you’re pro-education. We know that pre-K and student loans aren’t charity. They’re a smart investment in a workforce that can fill and create the jobs of tomorrow.”

“Now, like many of you, I watched last week’s Republican convention. They told a few stories of individual success. We all celebrate individual success. But the question is, how do we multiply that success? The answer is President Barack Obama.”

“Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn’t get it. A few months ago he visited a university in Ohio and gave the students there a little entrepreneurial advice. “Start a business,” he said. But how? “Borrow money if you have to from your parents,” he told them. Gee, why didn’t I think of that?”

Michelle Obama

“Today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are – it reveals who you are.

You see, I’ve gotten to see up close and personal what being president really looks like.

And I’ve seen how the issues that come across a President’s desk are always the hard ones – the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer…the judgment calls where the stakes are so high, and there is no margin for error.

And as President, you can get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people.

But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as President, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are.”

“When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to all those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day, another president.

He didn’t care whether it was the easy thing to do politically – that’s not how he was raised – he cared that it was the right thing to do.

He did it because he believes that here in America, our grandparents should be able to afford their medicine…our kids should be able to see a doctor when they’re sick…and no one in this country should ever go broke because of an accident or illness.

And he believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care…that’s what my husband stands for.”

“So in the end, for Barack, these issues aren’t political – they’re personal.

“When people ask me whether being in the White House has changed my husband, I can honestly say that when it comes to his character, and his convictions, and his heart, Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago.”

“He’s the same man who started his career by turning down high paying jobs and instead working in struggling neighborhoods where a steel plant had shut down, fighting to rebuild those communities and get folks back to work…because for Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”

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Live-Blogging the RNC Day Three: Part One…

5:00 PM PST

Newt Gingrich just finished his underwhelming ventriloquist act. Why he chose to take the stage with a giant wooden puppet in the image of his wife Calista I’ll never know. But, I’ll give him credit, Newt’s lips didn’t move when he threw his voice to Calista. And his lips didn’t move unless he was lying.

Newt and puppet Calista added to the list of Big RNC Lies with the charge that President Obama has decimated energy production – despite the fact that Obama has been more coal and oil friendly than his progressive base wants him to be — and that domestic oil production has never been higher. 

And, yawn, Newt repeats the Great Waiving Work Requirements Under Welfare Lie.

5:01 PM PST

Craig Romney, the Nominee’s youngest son, is making a pitch in Spanish to Latino voters. Now, he’s too choked up to talk. Another story of immigrants made good. Now, he’s done. Mercifully, it’s over in a couple of minutes. So much for Latino outreach.

5:06 PM PST

Jeb Bush comes out and says his brother W made us safe from terror. Really? I thought we suffered the worst terrorist attack in US history on W’s watch?

Now, Jeb wants Obama to stop blaming George W for the economic disaster he inherited. Fine. Let’s also stop blaming the sun for sunshine.

Jeb appears to be a likeable guy. Something tells me he’d have a hard time in the GOP primaries. He’s too soft, too compassionate.

Wait, Jeb’s just 4 minutes into his speech – and he’s already mentioned Romney! That’s a record for this RNC. Now, back to crowing about his record in Florida.

Hold on. Jeb’s doing a comedy routine about milk. It has something to do with school choice. Oh, hang on…now I get it. He’s union bashing.

Jeb just introduced a black Florida student who got a good “election”. (I think Jeb meant “education”.)  The student is advocating for school choice. When the GOP talks about school choice they really mean privatizing schools for profit. Oh yeah, and union busting.

So far, Jeb’s speech is the longest 14 minutes of the RNC.  He made his case for school reform – but not much of a case for Romney.  It’s hard not to like Jeb. But Jeb Bush in 2016? Probably not enough sex appeal.

5:30 PM PST

Grant Bennett, a former Mormon bishop from Massachusetts gives us a dry but informative look at what Mitt Romney did as a Mormon pastor. I like this move. It humanizes Mitt even more than Mitt’s wife did on the RNC’s opening night, but MSNBC and FOX have already cut away to talk to each other rather than hear the bishop out. CNN is staying with Bennett’s earnest, lackluster presentation – if only to make Wolf Blitzer sound exciting by comparison.

5:40 PM PST

A Mormon couple whose young son died of Hodgkin’s disease recounts the help that Mitt gave them in their time of trial. Quite moving, and truly humanizing. Mitt helped their dying teenage son write his will. It’s a moment beyond politics. I like Mormon pastor Mitt a lot more than pandering politician Mitt. This was the most eloquent and effective event at the RNC so far.

5:59 PM PST

There’s been some kind of tribute to Bain Capital going on at the convention, but it’s hard to follow because, flipping from MSNBC to FOX, CNN and finally C-Span, nobody seems to be covering the whole presentation.

6:13 PM PST

Statuesque former Massachusetts Lt. Governor Kerry Healey strides out onto the stage in a bright red dress to tell us how Romney saved the Bay State. She hauls out the now-familiar canard about how Obama’s policies led to the nation’s credit downgrade – ignoring the fact that the Tea Party led House refused the President’s offers at compromise: crass politic brinksmanship that led to the credit downgrade.

And now she beats that old “Obama apologizes for America” drum. Can anyone on the GOP side actually point to a single documented moment where President Obama truly apologized for America? (Crickets.)

6:21 PM PST

I’ve got to make a salad and get the steaks ready to grill. Guess I’ll have to pass up Jane Edmonds, former Massachusetts Workforce Secretary. She’s a woman and she’s black. C-Span and MSNBC are covering her speech – but FOX and CNN are ignoring her in favor of doing interviews on the convention floor. I’m no better than they are – but I’ve got a dinner to prepare!

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