The delegates to the annual California Democratic Party convention began trickling into the San Diego Convention Center on April 27, and one of the first people they saw was Barbara Cummings. She had stationed herself about a block away from the entrance and was holding a big "Impeach Bush and Cheney" sign.
"It's wonderful," the San Diego activist told me. "The delegates all want their pictures taken with us. The tourists want pictures too."
Inside the convention hall, the grassroots sentiment was pretty similar. Read more »
Former Senator John Edwards can't let Hillary and Barack show him up, so he has his own carefully staged entrance, surrounded by signs and supporters. He looks like a llittle Ken doll in the middle of the crowd, perfectly coiffed and impeccably dressed. But he's got the right lines for this audience. "We are past the time for cautious, poll-driven politics," he announces. Read more »
The warm up for John Edwards is L.A. Rep. Maxine Waters -- and she utterly steals the show. "We cannot deal with our domestic agenda until we end this war in Iraq," she says to rousing cheers. She talks about "the most dastardly lie ever told to the American people by their president." She goes through an amazing litany of what's gone wrong in Iraq, then says:
"Democrats, your presidential candidates and elected officials must stop nuancing and playing it safe."
My first headline for this entry was "Angelides bores small crowd." Poor guy -- almost nobody is paying attention as the former candidate for governor makes an utterly uninspiring speech. Then it's time for Chris Dodd, the senator from Connnecticut who has about as much support now in the polls (that is, very little) as Bill Clinton did at this point in his first presidential bid. (Dodd likes to point this out.)
During the Hillary Clinton press conferece this morning, one of the reporters asked Clinton to respond to the perception that she's the old guard of the party and Barack Obama is the upstart. She sidestepped politely, but here on the convention floor, there's some evidence that the reporter was right. There were a lot more Hillary signs and a more organized contingent this morning, but Obama's people are distinctly younger.
Like Clinton, Obama has staged a surprise entrance -- not even the rank and file of his supporters know exactly what door he will enter. Read more »
Barack Obama is scheduled to speak shortly after 2 pm, but first we have to pass a rather large and loud choir that is performing in the convention lobby. I catch the posters in front, talking about the unlimited potential of nuclear energy and the tagling at the bottom: larouchepac.com.
I run into Bill Lockyer, the former state Attorney General (now treasurer) waiting his chance to get on stage. I explain to him that his successor, Jerry Brown, has formally closed any investigation in to the merger that gave Dean Singleton control over almost every daily newspaper in the Bay Area. "Any thoughts on that?" I ask.
I got a chance to talk briefly last night with Rep. Jerry McNerney, the man who defeated Richard Pombo, and I asked him what the Democrats would do after Bush vetoes the Iraq funding cutoff. "Bring it back again, and again, and again," he told me. "That's what I would do."