Three interesting speakers came to talk to our JSA group on Tuesday morning. Bob Graham, the former U.S. Senator and former Governor of Florida, discussed topics ranging from the Iraqi War to the vetting process for a vice presidential pick (he was vetted but ultimately not selected as VP in the elections of 1988, 1992, and 2004). Then, former Senator and 1972 presidential candidate George McGovern spoke of his experiences climbing the political ladder. But by far the best speaker of the morning was New York State Senator and DNC Delegate Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who captivated the audience with her eloquence and strong moral and political messages. She detailed the importance of politicians helping the communities they grew up in and warned of the dangers of hubris. Stewart-Cousin's amazing skill with words will likely take her far in the field of politics, and students responded to her speech with a standing ovation.
At the Convention
I was able to get a Hall Pass for the convention Tuesday night thanks to a generous man working in the credentials office. Thus, I entered the Pepsi Center for the first time and was immediately struck by how much more lively and energetic the atmosphere was in comparison to that of the Convention Watch Parties.
Tuesday night speeches seemed to be especially focused on party unity. Kathleen Sebelius, Governor of Kansas, received a particularly warm reception but gave a speech that was not particularly memorable. Ted Strickland from Ohio was sharp in criticizing Bush and McCain, and his speech featured my favorite line of the night: "George Bush started on third base and stole second. And John McCain cheered him every step of the way." Mark Warner, presenting the keynote address, gave a strong but not particularly memorable speech. However, he was admittedly in a tough situation to give a speech, following Obama's 2004 Keynote address and preceding Hillary Clinton that night. Brian Schweitzer, Montana Governor, then gave a phenomenal speech in which he rallied the Democrats through chants and comparisons between Obama and McCain. And lastly, Hillary urged unity and gave her full support to Obama. However, Hillary did not release her delegates as expected, meaning that unless she releases them tomorrow morning, all pledged Clinton delegates will be forced to vote for Hillary in the first round of voting during the roll call.
Denver Police and Protests
While I have not noticed the security cameras said to be installed all over the city for the convention, it would be impossible not to notice the huge number of policemen in Denver this week. According to one policeman who I talked to, the city of Denver brought in approximately 2,000 extra cops for the convention, leaving Denver with well over 3,000 policeman this week.
On Tuesday, I watched as about 100 police officers, holding batons and pepper spray, surrounded several protests (protestors ranging from September 11 conspiracy theorists to members of Code Pink) outside the taping of MSNBC"s Hardball with Chris Mathews. However, the protests remained peaceful, and the police eventually left without intervening.