The reviews are in and the Democrats delivered on day one of the Charlotte convention. From inside the convention I can tell you the place was jumping.
Since TV doesn't cover the event in its entirety, I thought I would mention some of the highlights. Corey Booker, Mayor of Newark, delivered a rousing speech early in the afternoon. He will give Gov. Christie a race for his money if he decides to pursue the New Jersey Governor in 2014 - I like his chances and that will be a debate worth watching.
The non-politicians had a great showing, too. A family with a young daughter suffering from a congenital heart defect put a human face on healthcare reform and America's understanding of the elimination of insurance company lifetime caps became very real as she described the relief they now enjoy.
Lily Ledbetter (fair pay crusader) may be one of the feistiest, proudest, and most persuasive advocates out there. The first law that President Obama signed is named for her and she makes you want to get engaged in the ongoing struggle for equality. Strong speaker with a powerful story to tell.
Rep Gonzalez of Texas remembered Adlai Stevenson's comment to Nixon during their campaign decades ago - "Stop telling lies about my record and I'll stop telling the truth about yours." Wow, that captured a lot of the current dynamic at play right now in 2012.
Possibly the most searing indictment of Romney came from beyond the grave. Ted Kennedy (who spoke in person to us in Denver 4 years ago) was the subject of a tribute video. Included were highlights from his campaign against Romney for his Massachusetts Senate seat 16 years ago. Google it to see the hypocrisy of Mitt Romney on full display. (It's also easily found on HuffPo.) Kennedy debating Romney wasn't even fair (the Lion roared) - and it is very revealing about Romney.
Former Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio had what I thought was the line of the night. "If Mitt was Santa Claus, he’d fire the reindeer and outsource the elves.” The convention center went bananas. Strickland found the perfect construction to tell a troubling truth about Mitt Romney's record of outsourcing without being mean. It was funny. But sometimes the truth hurts.
Mayor Castro is clearly a rising star and there were many other terrific speakers but no one came close to touching the First Lady who closed the evening. In Denver 4 years ago, we all watched nervously as Michelle Obama stepped forward to deliver her first major national address - she got through it beautifully and set the convention off to a great start back then.
This year, she delivered an extraordinary speech with emotion, drama, depth, and power. She has grown in the role of First Lady and demonstrated how powerful a force she can be for our nation, for our children and for our servicemen and women, whose cause she has taken on.
It's no wonder that President Obama has enjoyed so much success, accomplished so many difficult things (all articulated well by the speakers last night), and maintained such a calm demeanor throughout his Presidency. He has a rock in Michelle Obama to carry him through each day. And now the whole country sees in her what he obviously did all those years ago when he picked her up in that rusty car.
President Clinton tonight and the official nominating vote. Exciting stuff!
Here's a couple if pictures from the evening. Casting my official vote for President Obama's renomination. And Michelle Obama delivering the goods.
Reporting from Charlotte - I'm Neil Samuels, Executive Director of the Bucks County Democratic Committee and honored to be a delegate voting on behalf of the 8th Congressional District for the next President of the United States - Barack Obama!