August 29th, 2008
05:52 PM ET

How can GOP top Dems convention?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Democrats went out with a bang last night at Invesco field, and may have ended the week with one of the best political conventions ever. This also means they've left John McCain and the GOP with one tough act to follow when they convene in St. Paul on Monday.

Although it's pretty hard to argue that the week wasn't a hit, Republicans were quick to dismiss Barack Obama's speech in front of nearly 90,000 people last night. McCain called it "misleading" and "fundamentally at odds" with his "meager" record. McCain insists despite all the hoopla, Obama is still not ready to be president. it will be interesting to see if he keeps making that argument now that he's named Sarah Palin, a first-term governor from Alaska who's younger than Obama and has even less experience, as his V.P.

Republicans may also have to contend with Hurricane Gustav, which is on track to hit the Gulf Coast and maybe even New Orleans, next week. Some Republican officials are considering delaying the start of the convention, and the White House has also been debating whether President Bush should cancel his appearance Monday. Three years after Hurricane Katrina, the image of Republicans celebrating their nominee with another potentially deadly storm looming could be a disaster for the party. However, the convention president insists that the gavel will go down Monday.

Here’s my question to you: What do Republicans have to do at their convention to top the Democrats?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: DNC Convention • GOP Convention
August 28th, 2008
04:52 PM ET

What can Obama say to get your vote?


FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Even for a guy who's used to delivering impressive speeches, tonight is big.

Barack Obama will address 80,000 people at Denver's Invesco Field as the first African-American nominee ever for a major political party, on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech. No pressure.

Millions more will watch him on TV – and to many of them, Obama is still an unknown. The Democratic nominee has said there are two things he wants to accomplish tonight – to make the choice between himself and John McCain as clear as possible and to tell America what he stands for.

Obama wrote a first draft of his speech longhand last week, and then worked on it with his speechwriters. He looked to previous convention speeches from people like John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton for inspiration.

Friends say Obama has become sensitive to criticism that his speeches lack content. So look for specifics on how he'll fix the country's problems tonight. But he also must connect with his audience on an emotional level. There will be lots of time for policy. Tonight he's got to make people want to vote for him. To do that, he's got to touch their feelings.

Here’s my question to you: What can Barack Obama say tonight to convince you to vote for him?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Barack Obama • DNC Convention
August 26th, 2008
04:56 PM ET

Hillary’s advisers skipping Obama speech?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Hillary Clinton is expected to be a cheerleader for party unity when she takes the stage tonight in Denver, but there may be less there than meets the eye. Reports are that tensions continue to run high between the Clinton and Obama camps.

The Washington Post reports that some of Clinton's top advisers will leave town before Barack Obama accepts the party's nomination on Thursday night – that includes Terry McAuliffe who was Clinton's campaign manager.

One Clinton supporter who is staying on for Obama's speech says it would be unrealistic to expect that there wouldn't be tension between the two groups... and that the convention is a good chance for the two groups to bond – which is hard if you're leaving Denver.

Two longtime Clinton backers who are leaving early have excuses: one says it's for his daughter's weekend wedding and the other for an overseas business trip.

Nonetheless, the Democratic Party is probably not as unified as Barack Obama and many others were hoping it would be at this point. Obama was forced to address reports that Hillary Clinton was never even vetted to be his running mate, saying he did in fact consider her. Meanwhile, John McCain is now out with his 4th ad using Hillary Clinton's words from the primaries against Barack Obama. The infamous 3 A.M. ad is back with the announcer intoning, "Hillary was right."

This is not the way the Democrats drew this up.

Here’s my question to you: What message does it send when some of Hillary Clinton's top advisers plan to skip Barack Obama's acceptance speech?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Barack Obama • DNC Convention • Hillary Clinton
August 25th, 2008
05:54 PM ET

What’s a successful convention for Democrats?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If ever there was a chance for a resounding victory, the Democrats certainly have it. Look anywhere… Americans are fed up. Fed up with war, illegal immigration, a lack of affordable health care, rising inflation, unemployment, etc. They can't stand President Bush. The Republican nominee is a Bush clone – 26 years in the Senate, John McCain has voted with President Bush 95 percent of the time.

But the polls all suggest this is going to be close. Why? Is it that Obama's a comparative unknown? You wouldn't think so after the long Democratic primary battle. Is it because he's black? Maybe. Whatever the reasons, the Democrats are a long way from winning the White House in an election that should be a slam dunk for them.

All eyes will be on the Democratic Convention for the next few days to see if the party can right itself and head into the campaign stretch that matters with some momentum. There is the "Clinton" factor, of course… but you would think even her most ardent supporters would opt for one of their own. In the end, maybe they will. But we don't know that yet.

It's worth noting that no Democrat has ever come out of a fractured convention to win the presidency. So the pressure is definitely on. After the conventions, opinions begin to solidify and choices made are hard to undo the closer we get to November.

Here’s my question to you: What will constitute a successful convention for the Democrats?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: DNC Convention