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Is it time to do away with national political conventions?
July 11th, 2012
03:45 PM ET

Is it time to do away with national political conventions?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the Democrats and Republicans prepare to host their national conventions in the coming weeks, some wonder if it's even worth throwing these big pep rallies anymore.

For starters, the Democrats are facing numerous problems when it comes to their convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Some Democrats aren't even going to attend, saying they'd rather stay home and campaign instead.

The Democrats are millions of dollars behind Republicans in fundraising for the convention - Since President Obama is refusing corporate donations.

Pres. Obama carried North Carolina four years ago, but he has major problems there this year. Voters amended the state constitution to outlaw gay marriage. The unions are steamed because there are no unionized hotels in Charlotte. There is a sexual harassment scandal rocking the North Carolina Democratic Party, and the state has a very unpopular sitting Democratic governor.

It's probably no coincidence that the Democrats have already shortened their convention by a day.

But it's not just the Democrats. Some Republicans are also skipping their party's convention in Tampa.

The fact is these political conventions are expensive, 4-day long parties - and they still get tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding. Not exactly a top priority for most of us taxpayers when you consider all the other places that money could go.

Plus it's not like there's any surprise or drama when the candidates and their running mates are generally known long before the conventions.

Former Mississippi governor and RNC chairman Haley Barbour told Politico he would prefer 3-day conventions instead of four:

"Nobody would know the difference besides some bartenders and restaurateurs in the host city."

Here’s my question to you: Is it time to do away with national political conventions?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Was it a mistake for Democrats to pick North Carolina for their convention?
May 24th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Was it a mistake for Democrats to pick North Carolina for their convention?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Right about now, Democrats are probably wishing they hadn't picked North Carolina as the site for this summer's convention.

When President Obama selected Charlotte, North Carolina, more than a year ago, it seemed like a smart way to double down on a state that propelled him to victory in 2008.

North Carolina hadn't gone to the Democrats since Jimmy Carter.

But things have gone downhill – fast – in the Tar Heel State for Democrats, and the list of problems seems endless.

For starters, North Carolina voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage at the same time President Obama was saying he thinks it's a good idea.

Now gay rights activists want the convention moved out of North Carolina, practically impossible at this point.

Unemployment in North Carolina is 9.4%, far above the national average.

Plus, who dreamed this up? President Obama will give his convention speech in Bank of America Stadium. Perfect – not.

Then there are the unions, one of the Democrats' key voting blocs. They're angry and aren't in the mood to help fundraise.

That's because there are no unionized hotels in Charlotte. Also, North Carolina has the smallest proportion of union members and union membership in the country.

To top it all off, there are two sex scandals engulfing prominent North Carolina Democrats: the trial of former Sen. John Edwards and the ongoing investigation of the state party chair, David Parker.

The Obama political operation used to be better than this.

Here’s my question to you: Was it a mistake for Democrats to pick North Carolina for their convention?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

August 19th, 2008
01:58 PM ET

Clinton fundraising at convention?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Yet another sign that Hillary Clinton is doing her dead-level best to take title to the Democratic National Convention.

In addition to the laundry list of concessions she has already wrung out of Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton plan to use the convention to raise money to pay off more of her campaign debt from the primaries.

Hillary Clinton has announced she will award one lucky donor a trip to the convention – with her. And in case that's not incentive enough, Bill Clinton sent an e-mail to potential contributors promising a memorable week with his wife.

Watch: Cafferty: Clinton in debt?

"You'll get to see Hillary speak on Tuesday, and Barack Obama – the next president of the United States – on Thursday. And I hear Hillary and you will have a chat – I'll make sure to stop by." Makes you want to borrow against your house.

I mentioned Hillary Clinton's doing her best to take title to the convention? Clinton will have her name placed into nomination and there will be a roll call vote. She gets her own prime-time speaking slot. She will be introduced by her daughter, Chelsea. The video preceding her will be produced by her own production company – the same bunch that did the "Man From Hope," for Bill Clinton. Oh, and he's going to speak too. All this for the loser in the race.

The clock is ticking when it comes to Clinton's debt. According to campaign finance rules, candidates only have 20 days after the convention ends to fund-raise for their personal loans. So if you see Senator Clinton out in front of the convention hall with a cup of pencils, buy one. She needs the money.

Here’s my question to you: Is the Democratic Convention the appropriate place for Hillary Clinton to raise money to pay off her campaign debt?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

June 26th, 2008
02:20 PM ET

Hillary Clinton's role at the convention?

ALT TEXT
Sen. Clinton will introduce some of her top donors to Sen. Obama on Thursday night in Washington, and on Friday the two of them will appear together at a rally in Unity, N.H. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

After a rough and tumble primary season, the Democrats are now hard at work trying to heal the wounds.

The New York Times reports that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are working their way through a stack of complicated issues with the help of one of Washington's top lawyers - sort of like a couple in a troubled marriage going through counseling.

On the table are topics like how to repay Clinton's campaign debt and what her role should be at the Democratic convention. Aides say no one has raised the issues yet of a potential V.P. slot for Hillary, or what to do about Bill Clinton.

When it comes to Clinton's debt – which is estimated at more than $22 million, including $10 million of her own money – Obama has asked his big-dollar fund-raisers to help her out. However, he says he's not going to e-mail his small-dollar donors to pitch in since "their budgets are tighter." Some Clinton backers are disappointed that Obama hasn't made the symbolic move of writing Clinton a check for $2,300, the maximum allowed. Others think Obama hasn't made much of an effort to hire Clinton staffers.

As for the convention, the two sides are negotiating which night Clinton should make a prime-time speech and if her name should be symbolically put into nomination. The talks have been described as complicated, but not hostile.

Meanwhile, Clinton and Obama will have a joint meeting with some of her top donors tonight in Washington and tomorrow the two will appear together at a rally in Unity, New Hampshire.

Here’s my question to you: What should Hillary Clinton's role be at the Democratic convention?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST