DENVER – Sen. Joe Biden accepted the Democratic Party’s vice presidential nod, and then threw some political red meat to the party faithful, going after Republican nominee Sen. John McCain.
Biden came out swinging on foreign policy, the topic where his experience is suppose to buttress the Democratic ticket.
“As we gather here tonight, our country is less secure and more isolated than at any time in recent history,” Biden said, accepting the nomination before a national television audience. “The Bush-McCain foreign policy has dug us into a very deep hole, with very few friends to help us climb out.
“Now, after six long years, the Bush administration and the Iraqi government
are on the verge of setting a date to bring our troops home. …John McCain was wrong. Barack Obama was right.”
Biden’s comments stayed on point with the Democratic message this election season, linking Republicans to dissatisfaction over the war in Iraq and a struggling economy. He used his experience campaigning during the Democratic presidential primary against Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama to make his point.
“You can learn an awful lot about a man campaigning with him, debating him, and seeing how he reacts under pressure,” Biden said. “You learn about the strength of his mind. But even more importantly, you learn about the quality of his heart.
“I watched how he touched people, how he (Obama) inspired them, and I realized he has tapped into the oldest American belief of all: we don't have to accept a
situation we cannot bear. We have the power to change it.”
Tennessee Democrats appeared pleasantly surprised by Biden’s speech, saying it continued the momentum for the convention gained earlier in the evening by Sen. Hillary Clinton moving to acclaim Obama the nominee.
“I thought it was inspirational and substantive,” State Sen. Jim Kyle said. “Clearly it began the process of differentiating Obama and McCain in a tasteful and relevant way.”
“I thought Biden hit a homerun,” 5th District U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper said. “I was especially touched by his comments about his mother. Also, it’s nearly impossible to follow Bill Clinton but he did it. After today, all divisions in the party have been healed.”
In a day full of surprises, Democrats got one more in that Barack Obama showed up in the arena.
Presidential nominees typically never show up until the last night of the conventions. Obama’s entering the room was met with an avalanche of sound that shook the Rocky Mountains.
“I thought the roof was going to come off the building when Obama came out,” Kyle said.
A breakfast for the Tennessee delegation to the Democratic National Convention had its own moment of angst over delegate loyalties Wednesday.
Just after a delegation breakfast, Tennessee’s Hillary delegates convened to discuss their options for the roll call vote. That is when things got heated.
Tennessee Hillary delegate whip Betsy Reid said that Clinton was going to speak to her delegates about how they should vote during the roll call.
Reid then said that, after hearing Clinton's speech last night, she would be voting for Barack Obama. As soon as she finished that sentence, there were calls from other Hillary Tennessee delegates for her to immediately resign as a whip.
Reid said she would not do so, which was countered by various delegates saying they would not forget her switching her vote after all the promises made during the primary season.
Former State Rep. Bill Owen, also a Hillary whip, jumped to the podium and said that each person should vote their conscience and that he was still going to vote for Hillary. Interestingly, Owen said the day after the last primary in June at a gathering of Democrats at Swett’s Restaurant that he and all the Clinton supporters would be throwing all their weight behind Obama.
As he was speaking, one unidentified delegate rose and interrupted Owen to say that they were all Democrats, that they all need to support the Democratic ticket, and that they need to be united.
“This is an open meeting and it’s being recorded,” the delegate added, a reference to the presence of press in the room.
CCA courts Tennessee Democrats
One Tennessee company that has been in the news a great deal lately, Corrections Corporation of America, held a reception for the Tennessee delegation Wednesday with some high-profile attendees.
CCA has recently launched a public relations campaign targeting bad press it has received over a series of incidents at its private prisons as well as the stalled nomination to a federal judgeship of its lead counsel, Gus Puryear.
Tony Grande, CCA’s executive vice president and chief development officer, said that receptions like the one here in Denver are nothing new and pointed out that they held a similar event four years ago at the Democratic Convention in Boston and will be holding another one next week for Tennessee Republicans in St. Paul.
“We are in 20 states, about half of them have Democratic governors and the others are Republicans,” Grande said. “This is a way to show our support for our state partners, and, frankly, Governor Bredesen deserves recognition for what he has done no matter what state he was from.”
CCA’s CEO and chairman John Ferguson was on hand as was Nashville Star finalist Lance Miller, who crooned for attendees.
Present were Tennessee State Employee Association president Zoyle Jones, former deputy governor Dave Cooley, newly minted Obama Tennessee chair Jerry Martin, and a slew of legislative members like Reps. Brenda Gilmore, John Hood, Randy Rinks, Speaker Jimmy Naifeh and State Senators Thelma Harper and Jim Kyle.
“Black Bloc” and “Sleeping Dragons”
A memo obtained by The City Paper and being circulated to area law enforcement demonstrates just what police and security have to contend with in Denver this week. The memo does not give any security plans but rather details what they have deemed to be security threats in the area on Aug. 25.
Much of the concern from law enforcement here seems to be on protesters, with references made to different types of protest techniques, including the use of urine and feces to possibly throw at police.
The memo mentions “Black Bloc” techniques that are used by a loose group of anarchists and anti-capitalists that protest dressed all in black with covered faces to hide their identities.
It also mentions “Sleeping Dragons” or weighted devices such as pipes or paint cans with concrete chained or locked to protestors to make them more difficult for police to cart away.