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July 31, 2004

Four Nights: Links to All 738 Convention Night Photos

I've been posting the links to my DNC photos each night. Now that at least one resolution set of each gallery is online, I felt it was time to make a single entry where you can find it all in one place (the early days will start rolling off the main page and into the archive this weekend).

I'll also add a box to the left sidebar to link to ALL of the photo sets of the entire week in Boston once I get the galleries finished and the captions in place. In the meantime, consider this a handy placeholder.

So, without further ado, go immerse yourself in the Democratic National Convention as I witnessed it through the lens. Luckily, I left my Tivo back home recording C-Span's coverage, so I'll get to catch up on what I didn't hear and see once I get home.

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Monday Night - Convention - July 26, 2004 - High Quality Photos (slower)

Monday Night - Convention - July 26, 2004 - Medium Quality Photos (faster)


Tuesday Night - Convention - July 27, 2004 - High Quality Photos (slower)

Tuesday Night - Convention - July 27, 2004 - Medium Quality Photos (faster)


Wednesday Night - Convention - July 28, 2004 - High Quality Photos (slower)

Wednesday Night - Convention - July 28, 2004 - Medium Quality Photos (faster)


Thursday Night - Convention - July 29, 2004 - High Quality Photos (slower)

Thursday Night - Convention - July 29, 2004 - Medium Quality Photos (faster)

Posted by amahler at 02:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Big Night: Final DNC Photo Set

Select photos by your connection speed:

Thursday Night - Convention - July 29, 2004 - High Quality Photos (slower)

Thursday Night - Convention - July 29, 2004 - Medium Quality Photos (faster)

I finally have the gallery of the big night's shots online as of a few minutes ago. I'm sorry it took a day, but I shot over 800 photos that night alone (my rough totals are over 3,000 photos this week). This particular set includes 246 shots spread over eight pages.

These images focus very heavily on Governor Warner and the members of the Delegation as they celebrate this momentous step in John Kerry's road to the White House. There is a bit of redunancy in here, but even the slight variations between some shots tell a story. I hope these provide the Delegates, their familes, friends and interested viewers with a clearer picture of this dynamic event.

My head is spinning with thoughts and ideas today about this last week and I'm eager to take time to write a number of entries for this site. There are a ton of stories about everything from the politics to the photography to the technology and Boston itself that are percolating in my head and, for the moment, mostly coming out in conversations with friends by phone or in person. My time (and energy), though, have been pretty minimal and tomorrow begins the trek home. While I hope to not have seven hours of dead time to write in the airport like the lousy trip up here, I hope I might get some time on the plane (if you can fit a 17" Powerbook on the tray table). :) Whatever the case, I'm sure it will begin spilling out in the coming days along with captions and some improvements to the overall website.

Lots to come! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these photos...

- Aaron

Posted by amahler at 01:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 30, 2004

Through an Elector's Eyes-Part III

What So Proudly We Hailed

Aloha, again.

At the opening session of the conference I am attending here our group, over twelve thousand of us, received an offered blessing from Kumu Hula Kawaikapuokalani. A revered kahuna, he presented an oli and pule to honor the place where we were, those of us who came here, and our ancestors. This was followed by interpretive hula presentations of the story of Pele interwoven with the psychology of the native Hawaiian people. Why would I mention this, you might ask, on the eve of John Kerry's acceptance speech? Because I found our diverse American culture so vibrant during the afternoon, I felt that I had experienced our gracious country up close and personal, long before I went to the Kerry House Party in Honolulu.

I sat this afternoon watching and listening to musicians singing in native Hawaiian, being interpreted in English by our host presenter, shown simultaneously through interpretive dance by the kahuna, accompanied by hula dancers, while at the same time observing the sign-language interpreter demonstrating for the hearing impaired. I do not know if she was signing in English, or Spanish, since we were also celebrating today the 25th anniversary of the National Latina/Latino Psychological Association. Having been born in Philadelphia and growing up on the concept of America being the melting pot of the world, I was so pleasantly touched by the harmony I have found here in Hawaii.

Then the real fun began. Arriving early at the location of the Kerry House Party, I was met by my most gracious contact here, Ms. Ann Oshiro-Kauwe, and I offer her mahalo for her smile and welcoming way. Prior to Kerry's speech, I had time to shake hands and thank our fellow Americans for their support of the Party. It seemed that everyone was wearing the newly designed Hawaiian style "Run for Kerry/Edwards" theme tee shirts by the time the speech began.

It was such a wonderful opportunity to share my enthusiasm with a crowd who applauded, laughed, cried, and sustained its own positive energy throughout the speech. If Barrack Obama hit a home run during his speech, John Kerry hit a grand slam, at least among the Democrats here. The most resounding applause was by far for his comments on war and peace, and the environment. With our beautiful Pearl Harbor so near, it was easy to understand why.

Following the TV portion of our event, I had the opportunity to meet and thank the Chair of the Oahu County Democrats for his support during the evening. The Hawaiian Star-Bulletin, one of the daily newspapers, interviewed me and for those of you who are regular readers of this paper, you may read my comments tomorrow, which, of course, is already today for most of you.

I hope all our friends in Boston have safe journeys back to our beloved Virginia. While we live in different areas of the country, it seems to me the one thing that has re-captured the American spirit this week has been the expression of unity at our convention. We are one nation, and our flag is still here.

Ron Telsch
Elector, 6th District

Posted by marlana at 07:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Final Night: Preview

Well, folks... we've just heard the fantastic acceptance speech of our next President. What an amazing night!

As far as pictures go tonight, I only spent a little bit of time in the photo pen with the press photographers and that was to cover Governor Warner's walk to the podium and the first half of his speech. I used the second half to race back to the Delegation so I could get photos of them expressing their support for our superb Governor. I couldn't have pulled that off tonight without the help of a generous press photographer who overheard my query to the media floor controller and volunteered to swap me into her space in the jammed photographer's pen. I also had a cooperative Secret Service agent who worked with me to arrange the shoot-n-dash routine from the front of the floor to nearly the back where our Delegation was seated.

The press pens were jammed and the sheer volume of people tonight had the Secret Service and the floor control all over us to not block aisles, etc. The flexibility I had in previous nights to get into the press pens up front was going to be impossible tonight since it would have precluded me being able to get back and forth to the Delegation so I could visually document their experience. I'd never have gotten anything a few hundred press photographers wouldn't get, so my exclusive focus tonight was our story, from Governor Warner through the acceptance speech by John Kerry.

It's 3:35 AM, I'm elated but exhausted and plan to sleep in tomorrow before unwinding with a post-DNC day around Boston with my wife (we leave Saturday). I'll get the full gallery online sometime during the day and maybe even some more thoughts and fresh memories of the convention that I have so tremendously enjoyed these last four days.

I do want to take one moment here, though, to say thanks to the DPVA and the Virginia Delegation for inviting me to be their photographer and making it possible for me to experience this mind-blowing event. I hope the photos and the blog have served everyone well this last week and I look forward to the post-DNC posts from our Delegates (once they have time to get home and write). We're only just starting with Documenting Democracy, though. I can't think of a better way to get the ball rolling than focusing on our trip to Boston and witnessing the event that shares with the rest of world what we already knew before coming here: John Kerry and John Edwards are the men for the job and they are headed for the White House!

Good Night and Enjoy! - Aaron

Posted by amahler at 03:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 29, 2004

Oh, What a Night

Tonight John Kerry put to rest any doubts as to whether he could deliver. If this was the moment he was preparing for all his life, he prepared well. Those who doubted his ability obviously didn't know that when John Kerry is passionate about something, he delivers; that when John Kerry's back is against the wall, he delivers. What this country desperately needs is a President who can deliver -- particularly in these desperate times.

Those of us who watched the whole convention witnessed a well orchestrated drama that started on a high note with Al Gore and Bill Clinton and reached a crescendo tonight culminating in the exuberate speach given by John Kerry.

What stellar performances from the numerous "regular people" such as fire fighters, union workers, farmers, teachers, veterans, nurses, religious leaders, to name a few, to singers Patty LaBelle and Carol King, and actors Glenn Close and Ben Afleck, and more Democratic politicians than I can ever remember seeing at any convention before.

What a joy it was last night to see Kerry Donley and Larry Framm deliver the votes for Virginia at the role call. Then, tonight, we Virginians were lifted as our governor, Mark Warner, compared Moses' 40 years journey lost in the wilderness with that of Virginia's 40 years equally lost under Republican rule. This year, Virginians will find the way, not by the "Bush", but by a desire to turn things around.

It was an equal joy to hear the leading Democratic woman, Nancy Pelosi, speak not only of electing John Kerry and John Edwards, but also of the need to elect a Democratic congress.

As charmed as we were by the Edwards' children, we were equally impressed by the Heinz sons and Kerry's daughters. Their endearing stories about John Kerry exemplified the human element of this man and how much both his daughters and stepsons love and admire him.

The veterens who came out to tell their story under his leadership spoke from the heart. Who can President Bush find to support him in that manner? And, those of us who attended the State Convention witnessed the commanding performance of Max Cleland. He did it again. He told us new things about himself and about Kerry. He moved us in a way that only he, who lived it, can do.

When I wrote earlier of the power of Bill Clinton to energize us and how that was needed again, little did I know how extraordinarily well John Kerry would be in doing just that. He explained his vision and his plan as well as one can in this type of speech. We already know what Bush's policies are. There is no reason to doubt that John Kerry will take the opposite direction and lead this country back to what is good for the majority, for America, and for the world. He gave us hope for a better tomorrow.

Marlana Lewis
Chair, Waynesboro DC
Communications Director, 6th District
Secretary, VADC

Posted by marlana at 11:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday Night Convention Photos

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Wednesday Night - Convention - July 28, 2004 - High Quality Photos (slower)

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Huge hurry here... it's the big night and the credentials game is in high gear. These are the minimally edited shots from last night. Wish me luck with tonight! :)

Posted by amahler at 03:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Remarks Of Governor Mark R. Warner To The Democratic Convention

Good evening fellow Democrats, and a special good evening to my friends in Virginia. My name is Mark Warner. And I want to answer the question that a lot of you have been asking me all week. Yes, John Kerry can win in Virginia and across the South. And with your help, he will.

When I ran for governor, in 2001, all of the pundits said it couldn't be done. The Republicans controlled everything in Virginia back then. But thanks to the endless hard work of thousands of Virginia Democrats, lots of Republicans, independents, folks who hadn't voted Democratic in a long time, we proved the pundits wrong.

And today I stand before you as the commonwealth's first elected Democratic governor in more than a decade. This year, those same pundits are back. They shake their heads and say, "You know, Virginia hadn't voted for a Democrat for president since 1964, 40 years ago." Come November, Virginia is going to prove the experts wrong once again and help send John Kerry to the White House.

That's because we embrace the kind of American values that have defined John Kerry's entire life: service to country and the armed forces, opportunity for all, and that most unique American value, our basic sense of fairness.

Now, though, we're just across the water from Washington, it's like a world apart. In Washington, we've seen the first budget surplus in a generation become the largest deficit in history. Could you all imagine -- could you all imagine what they would say if that had happened under a Democratic administration?

In Virginia, we Democrats are the party of balanced budgets, of fairer tax code and a stronger economic future. We've always said: You can't prepare for tomorrow until you get your fiscal house in order today.
And that will be John Kerry's approach when we take back the White House this year.

John Kerry will work for educational opportunity and good jobs. He'll work to give young people in small towns the chance to live and work in the place they grew up. Because you shouldn't have to leave your family or your hometown to get a good job. And to work for true fiscal responsibility and economic opportunity, it will take a president who will work across party lines and regional divisions. John Kerry will bring us together to get the job done.

If we can do it in Virginia, we can do it in America. And John Kerry will lead the way.

But they're right. It has been a while since Virginia voted for a Democrat for President. Moses wandered in the desert for 40 years. Virginia has been wandering in the Republican desert for 40 years.

But let me tell you, this Bush can't lead us to the promised land. This year our wandering is over. This year, with old-fashioned values and new ideas, Virginia stands ready to help send John Kerry to the White House.

Thank you. God bless America. And God bless the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Posted by laura at 01:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Remarks Of John Kerry, Accepting The Democratic Nomination

The following is a transcript of remarks by John Kerry to the Democratic National Convention:

I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty!

We are here tonight because we love our country.

We're proud of what America is and what it can become.

My fellow Americans, we are here tonight united in one simple purpose: to make America stronger at home and respected in the world.

A great American novelist wrote that you can't go home again. He could not have imagined this evening. Tonight, I am home. Home where my public life began and those who made it possible live. Home where our nation's history was written in blood, idealism, and hope. Home where my parents showed me the values of family, faith, and country.

Thank you, thank you all of you, for a welcome home I will never forget.

I wish my parents could share this moment. They went to their rest in the last few years, but their example, their inspiration, their gift of open eyes, open mind, and endless heart, a world that doesn't end, a world bigger and more lasting than any words.

I was born in Colorado, in Fitzsimmons Army Hospital, when my dad was a pilot in World War II. Now, I'm not one to read into things, but guess which wing of the hospital the maternity ward was in? I'm not kidding. I was born in the West Wing!

My mother was the rock of our family, as so many mothers are. She stayed up late to help me do my homework. She sat by my bed when I was sick, and she answered the questions of a child who, like all children, found the world full of wonders and mysteries.

She was my den mother when I was a Cub Scout and she was so proud of her 50-year pin as a Girl Scout leader. She gave me her passion for the environment. She taught me to see trees as the cathedrals of nature. And by the power of her example, she showed me that we can and must complete the march toward full equality for all women in the United States of America.

My dad did the things that a boy remembers. My dad did the things that a boy remembers. He gave me my first model airplane, my first baseball mitt and my first bicycle. He also taught me that we are here for something bigger than ourselves; he lived out the responsibilities and sacrifices of the greatest generation, to whom we owe so much.

And when I was a young man, he was in the State Department, stationed in Berlin when it and the world were divided between democracy and communism. I have unforgettable memories of being a kid mesmerized by the British, French, and American troops, each of them guarding their own part of the city, and Russians standing guard on that stark line separating East from West. On one occasion, I rode my bike into Soviet East Berlin. And when I proudly told my dad, he promptly grounded me.

But what I learned has stayed with me for a lifetime. I saw how different life was on different sides of the same city. I saw the fear in the eyes of people who were not free. I saw the gratitude of people toward the United States for all that we had done. I felt goose bumps as I got off a military train and I heard the Army band strike up "Stars and Stripes Forever." I learned what it meant to be America at our best. I learned the pride of our freedom. And I am determined now to restore that pride to all who look to America.

Mine were greatest generation parents. And as I thank them, we all join together to thank that whole generation for making America strong, for winning World War II, winning the Cold War, and for the great gift of service which brought America 50 years of peace and prosperity.

My parents inspired me to serve, and when I was a junior in high school, John Kennedy called my generation to service. It was the beginning of a great journey, a time to march for civil rights, for voting rights, for the environment, for women, and for peace. We believed we could change the world. And you know what? We did.

But we're not finished. But we're not finished. The journey isn't complete. The march isn't over. The promise isn't perfected. Tonight, we're setting out again. And together, we're going to write the next great chapter of America's story.

We have it in our power to change the world. But only if we're true to our ideals and that starts by telling the truth to the American people. That is my first pledge to you tonight. As president, I will restore trust and credibility to the White House.

I ask you to judge me by my record: As a young prosecutor, I fought for victims' rights and made prosecuting violence against women a priority. When I came to the Senate, I broke with many in my own party to vote for a balanced budget, because I thought it was the right thing to do. I fought to put a 100,000 cops on the street.

And then I reached across the aisle to work with John McCain, to work to find the truth about our POWs and missing in action, and to finally make peace in Vietnam.

I will be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war. I will have a vice president who will not conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws. I will have a secretary of Defense who will listen to the advice of our military leaders. And I will appoint an Attorney General who actually upholds the Constitution of the United States.

My fellow Americans, this is the most important election of our lifetime. The stakes are high. We are a nation at war, a global war on terror against an enemy unlike any we've never known before. And here at home, wages are falling, health care costs are rising, and our great middle class is shrinking. People are working weekends, two jobs, three jobs, and they're still not getting ahead.

We're told that outsourcing jobs is good for America. We're told that new jobs that pay $9,000 less than the jobs that have been lost is the best we can do. They say this is the best economy that we've ever had. And they say that anyone who thinks otherwise is a pessimist. Well, here is our answer: There is nothing more pessimistic than saying America can't do better.

We can do better and we will. We're the optimists. For us, this is a country of the future. We're the can-do people. And let's not forget what we did in the 1990s. We balanced the budget. We paid down the debt. We created 23 million new jobs. We lifted millions out of poverty and we lifted the standard of living for the middle class. We just need to believe in ourselves and we can do it again.

So tonight, in the city where America's freedom began, only a few blocks from where the sons and daughters of liberty gave birth to our nation, here tonight, on behalf of a new birth of freedom, on behalf of the middle class who deserve a champion, and those struggling to join it who deserve a fair shot, for the brave men and women in uniform who risk their lives and the families who pray for their return, for all those who believe that our best days are ahead of us, with great faith in the American people, I accept your nomination for president of the United States.

I am proud that at my side will be a running mate whose life is the story of the American dream and who's worked every day to make that dream real for all Americans: Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, and his wonderful wife Elizabeth and their family. This son of a mill worker is ready to lead and next January, Americans will be proud to have a fighter for the middle class to succeed Dick Cheney as Vice President of the United States.

And what can I say about Teresa? She has the strongest moral compass of anyone I know. She's down to earth, nurturing, courageous, wise and smart. She speaks her mind and she speaks the truth, and I love her for that, too. And that's why America will embrace her as the next First Lady of the United States.

For Teresa and me, no matter what the future holds or the past has given us, nothing will ever mean as much as our children as you can sense listening to them. We love them not just for who they are and what they've become, but for being themselves, making us laugh, holding our feet to the fire, and never letting me get away with anything. Thank you, Andre, Alex, Chris, Vanessa, and John.

And in this journey, I am accompanied by an extraordinary band of brothers led by that American hero, a patriot called Max Cleland. Our band of brothers doesn't march together because of who we are as veterans, but because of what we learned as soldiers. We fought for this nation because we loved it and we came back with the deep belief that every day is extra. We may be a little older, we may be a little grayer, but we still know how to fight for our country.

And standing with us in that fight are those who shared with me the long season of the primary campaign: Carol Moseley Braun, General Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, Dick Gephardt, Bob Graham, Dennis Kucinich, Joe Lieberman Al Sharpton.

To all of you, I say thank you for teaching me and testing me but mostly, we say thank you for standing up for our country and giving us the unity to move America forward.

My fellow Americans, the world tonight is very different from the world of four years ago. But I believe the American people are more than equal to the challenge.

Remember the hours after Sept. 11, when we came together as one to answer the attack against our homeland. We drew strength when our firefighters ran up stairs and risked their lives, so that others might live. When rescuers rushed into smoke and fire at the Pentagon. When the men and women of Flight 93 sacrificed themselves to save our nation's Capitol. When flags were hanging from front porches all across America, and strangers became friends. It was the worst day we have ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us.

I am proud that after Sept. 11 all our people rallied to President Bush's call for unity to meet the danger. There were no Democrats. There were no Republicans. There were only Americans. How we wish it had stayed that way.

Now I know there are those who criticize me for seeing complexities and I do because some issues just aren't all that simple. Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn't make it so. Saying we can fight a war on the cheap doesn't make it so. And proclaiming mission accomplished certainly doesn't make it so.

As President, I will ask hard questions and demand hard evidence. I will immediately reform the intelligence system so policy is guided by facts, and facts are never distorted by politics. And as President, I will bring back this nation's time-honored tradition: the United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to. That is the standard of our nation.

I know what kids go through when they are carrying an M-16 in a dangerous place and they can't tell friend from foe. I know what they go through when they're out on patrol at night and they don't know what's coming around the next bend. I know what it's like to write letters home telling your family that everything's all right when you're just not sure that's true.

As President, I will wage this war with the lessons I learned in war. Before you go to battle, you have to be able to look a parent in the eye and truthfully say: "I tried everything possible to avoid sending your son or daughter into harm's way. But we had no choice. We had to protect the American people, fundamental American values against a threat that was real and imminent." So this is the only justification for going to war.

And on my first day in office, I will send a message to every man and woman in our armed forces: You will never be asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace.

I know what we have to do in Iraq. We need a president who has the credibility to bring our allies to our side and share the burden, reduce the cost to American taxpayers, reduce the risk to American soldiers. That's the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home.

Here is the reality: that won't happen until we have a president who restores America's respect and leadership - so we don't have to go it alone in the world.

And we need to rebuild our alliances, so we can get the terrorists before they get us.

I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as President. Let there be no mistake: I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response. I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security. And I will build a stronger American military.

We will add 40,000 active duty troops, not in Iraq, but to strengthen American forces that are now overstretched, overextended, and under pressure. We will double our special forces to conduct anti-terrorist operations. And we will provide our troops with the newest weapons and technology to save their lives and win the battle. And we will end the backdoor draft of National Guard and reservists.

To all who serve in our armed forces today, I say, help is on the way.

As President, I will fight a smarter, more effective war on terror. We will deploy every tool in our arsenal: our economic as well as our military might; our principles as well as our firepower.

In these dangerous days there is a right way and a wrong way to be strong. Strength is more than tough words. After decades of experience in national security, I know the reach of our power and I know the power of our ideals.

We need to make America once again a beacon in the world. We need to be looked up to and not just feared.

We need to lead a global effort against nuclear proliferation to keep the most dangerous weapons in the world out of the most dangerous hands in the world.

We need a strong military and we need to lead strong alliances. And then, with confidence and determination, we will be able to tell the terrorists: You will lose and we will win. The future doesn't belong to fear; it belongs to freedom.

And the front lines of this battle are not just far away they're right here on our shores, at our airports, and potentially in any city or town. Today, our national security begins with homeland security. The 9/11 Commission has given us a path to follow, endorsed by Democrats, Republicans, and the 9/11 families. As president, I will not evade or equivocate; I will immediately implement the recommendations of that commission. We shouldn't be letting 95% of container ships come into our ports without ever being physically inspected. We shouldn't be leaving our nuclear and chemical plants without enough protection. And we shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and shutting them in the United States of America.

And tonight, we have an important message for those who question the patriotism of Americans who offer a better direction for our country. Before wrapping themselves in the flag and shutting their eyes to the truth and their ears, they should remember what America is really all about. They should remember the great idea of freedom for which so many have given their lives. Our purpose now is to reclaim democracy itself. We are here to affirm that when Americans stand up and speak their minds and say America can do better, that is not a challenge to patriotism; it is the heart and soul of patriotism.

You see that flag up there. We call her Old Glory. The stars and stripes forever. I fought under that flag, as did so many of those people here tonight and all across our country. That flag flew from the gun turret right behind my head. It was shot through and through and tattered, but it never ceased to wave in the wind. It draped the caskets of men I served with and friends I grew up with. For us, that flag is the most powerful symbol of who we are and what we believe in. Our strength. Our diversity. Our love of country. All that makes America both great and good.

That flag doesn't belong to any president. It doesn't belong to any ideology and it doesn't belong to any party. It belongs to all the American people.

My fellow citizens, elections are about choices. And choices are about values. In the end, it's not just policies and programs that matter; the president who sits at that desk must be guided by principle.

For four years, we've heard a lot of talk about values. But values spoken without actions taken are just slogans. Values are not just words. Values are what we live by. They're about the causes we champion and the people we fight for. And it is time for those who talk about family values to start valuing families.

You don't value families by kicking kids out of after-school programs and taking cops off our streets, so that Enron can get another tax break.

We believe in the family value of caring for our children and protecting the neighborhoods where they walk and play.

And that is the choice in this election.

You don't value families by denying real prescription drug coverage to seniors, so big drug companies can get another windfall profit.

We believe in the family value expressed in one of the oldest Commandments: "Honor thy father and thy mother." As President, I will not privatize Social Security. I will not cut benefits. And together, we will make sure that senior citizens never have to cut their pills in half because they can't afford lifesaving medicine.

And that is the choice in this election.

You don't value families if you force them to take up a collection to buy body armor for a son or daughter in the service, if you deny veterans health care, or if you tell middle class families to wait for a tax cut, so that the wealthiest among us can get even more.

We believe in the value of doing what's right for everyone in the American family.

And that is the choice in this election.

We believe that what matters most is not narrow appeals masquerading as values, but the shared values that show the true face of America. Not narrow values that divide us, but shared values that unite us. Family and faith. Hard work, opportunity and responsibility for all so that every child, every parent, every worker has an equal shot at living up to their God-given potential. That is the American dream and the American value.

What does it mean in America today when Dave McCune, a steel worker I met in Canton, Ohio, saw his job sent overseas and the equipment in his factory literally unbolted, crated up, and shipped thousands of miles away along with that job? What does it mean when workers I've met had to train their foreign replacements?

America can do better. And tonight we say: help is on the way.

What does it mean when Mary Ann Knowles, a woman with breast cancer I met in New Hampshire, had to keep working day after day through her chemotherapy, no matter how sick she felt, because she was terrified of losing her family's health insurance?

America can do better. And help is on the way.

What does it mean when Deborah Kromins from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, works and she saves all her life and she finds out that her pension has disappeared into thin air and the executive who looted it has bailed out on a golden parachute?

America can do better. And help is on the way.

What does it mean when 25% of our children in Harlem have asthma because of air pollution?

America can do better. And help is on the way.

What does it mean when people are huddled in blankets in the cold, sleeping in Lafayette Park on the doorstep of the White House itself and the number of families living in poverty has risen by 3 million in the last four years?

America can do better. And help is on the way.

And so tonight we come here to ask: Where is the conscience of our country?

I'll tell you where it is: I'll tell you where it is: it's in rural and small town America; it's in urban neighborhoods and suburban main streets; it's alive in the people I've met in every part of this land. It's bursting in the hearts of Americans who are determined to give our values and truth back to our country.

We value jobs that pay you more, not less, than you earned before. We value jobs where, when you put in a week's work, you can actually pay your bills, provide for your children, and lift up the quality of your life. We value an America where the middle class is not being squeezed, but doing better.

So here is our economic plan to build a stronger America:

First, new incentives to revitalize manufacturing.

Second, investment in technology and innovation that will create the good-paying jobs of the future.

Third, close the tax loopholes that reward companies for shipping jobs overseas. Instead, we will reward the companies that create and keep good paying jobs where they belong: in the good old U.S.A.

We value an America that exports products, not jobs and we believe American workers should never have to subsidize the loss of their own job.

Next, we will trade and we will compete in the world. But our plan calls for a fair playing field because if you give the American worker a fair playing field, there's nobody in the world the American worker can't compete against.

And we're going to return to fiscal responsibility, because it is the foundation of our economic strength. Our plan will cut the deficit in half in four years by ending tax giveaways that are nothing more than corporate welfare and we will make government live by the rule that every family has to follow: pay as you go.

And let me tell you what we won't do: we won't raise taxes on the middle class. You've heard a lot of false charges about this in recent months. So let me say straight out what I will do as President: I will cut middle class taxes. I will reduce the tax burden on small business. And I will roll back the tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals who make over $200,000 a year, so we can invest in job creation, health care and education.

Our education plan for a stronger America sets high standards and demands accountability from parents, teachers, and schools. It provides for smaller class sizes and treats teachers like the professionals that they are. And it gives a tax credit to families for each and every year of college.

When I was a prosecutor, I met young kids who were in trouble, abandoned all of them by adults. And as President, I am determined that we stop being a nation content to spend $50,000 a year to keep a young person in prison for the rest of their life when we could invest $10,000 a year to give them Head Start, Early Start, Smart Start, a real start for the best possible start for our young people

And we value health care that's affordable and accessible for all Americans.

Since 2000, 4 million people have lost their health insurance. Millions more are struggling to afford it.

You know what's happening. Your premiums, your co-payments, your deductibles have all gone through the roof.

Our health care plan for a stronger America cracks down on the waste, greed, and abuse in our health care system and will save families up to $1,000 a year on their premiums. You'll get to pick your own doctor and patients and doctors, not insurance company bureaucrats, will make medical decisions. Under our plan, Medicare will negotiate lower drug prices for seniors. And all Americans will be able to buy less expensive prescription drugs from countries like Canada.

The story of people struggling for health care is the story of so many Americans. But you know what, it's not the story of senators and members of Congress. Because we give ourselves great health care and you get the bill. Well, I'm here to say tonight, your family's health care is just as important as any politician's in Washington, D.C.

And when I'm President, America will stop being the only advanced nation in the world which fails to understand that health care is not a privilege for the wealthy, and the connected, and the elected - it is a right for all Americans. And we will make it so.

We value an America that controls its own destiny because it's finally and forever independent of Mideast oil. What does it mean for our economy and our national security when we only have 3% of the world's oil reserves, yet we rely on foreign countries for 53% of what we consume?

I want an America that relies on its ingenuity and innovation, not the Saudi royal family.

And our energy plan for a stronger America will invest in new technologies and alternative fuels and the cars of the future - so that no young American in uniform will ever be held hostage to our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

I've told you about our plans for the economy, for education, for health care, for energy independence. I want you to know more about them. So now I'm going to say something that Franklin Roosevelt could never have said in his acceptance speech: go to johnkerry.com.

I want to address these next words directly to President George W. Bush: In the weeks ahead, let's be optimists, not just opponents. Let's build unity in the American family, not angry division. Let's honor this nation's diversity; let's respect one another; and let's never misuse for political purposes the most precious document in American history, the Constitution of the United States.

My friends, the high road may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And that's why Republicans and Democrats must make this election a contest of big ideas, not small-minded attacks. This is our time to reject the kind of politics calculated to divide race from race, group from group, region from region. Maybe some just see us divided into red states and blue states, but I see us as one America red, white, and blue. And when I am President, the government I lead will enlist people of talent, Republicans as well as Democrats, to find the common ground so that no one who has something to contribute will be left on the sidelines.

And let me say it plainly: in that cause, and in this campaign, we welcome people of faith. America is not us and them. I think of what Ron Reagan said of his father a few weeks ago, and I want to say this to you tonight: I don't wear my own faith on my sleeve. But faith has given me values and hope to live by, from Vietnam to this day, from Sunday to Sunday. I don't want to claim that God is on our side. As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God's side. And whatever our faith, one belief should bind us all: The measure of our character is our willingness to give of ourselves for others and for our country.

These aren't Democratic values. These aren't Republican values. They're American values. We believe in them. They're who we are. And if we honor them, if we believe in ourselves, we can build an America that's stronger at home and respected in the world.

So much promise stretches before us. Americans have always reached for the impossible, looked to the next horizon, and asked: What if?

Two young bicycle mechanics from Dayton asked, what if this airplane could take off at Kitty Hawk? It did that and it changed the world forever. A young president asked, what if we could go to the moon in 10 years? And now we're exploring the solar system and the stars themselves. A young generation of entrepreneurs asked, what if we could take all the information in a library and put it on a chip the size of a fingernail? We did, and that too changed the world.

And now it's our time to ask: What if?

What if we find a breakthrough to cure Parkinson's, diabetes, Alzheimer's and AIDs? What if we have a president who believes in science, so we can unleash the wonders of discovery like stem cell research and treat illness and millions of lives?

What if we do what adults should do and make sure all our children are safe in the afternoons after school? And what if we have a leadership that's as good as the American dream so that bigotry and hatred never again steal the hope or future of any American?

I learned a lot about these values on that gunboat patrolling the Mekong Delta with Americans - you saw them - who came from places as different as Iowa, Oregon, Arkansas, Florida, California. No one cared where we went to school. No one cared about our race or our backgrounds. We were literally all in the same boat. We looked out, one for the other and we still do.

That is the kind of America I will lead as President: an America where we are all in the same boat.

Never has there been a more urgent moment for Americans to step up and define ourselves. I will work my heart out. But, my fellow citizens, the outcome is in your hands more than mine.

It is time to reach for the next dream. It is time to look to the next horizon. For America, the hope is there. The sun is rising. Our best days are still to come.

Thank you, Goodnight, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

Posted by laura at 12:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Taxi Cab Confessions

Having spent much of our time here in Boston in our own version of a war room, on the second floor of the Hotel Commonwealth, Ruth Anne, Anne and I finally had the chance to live it up a little here in Boston.

We had dinner at Legal Seafoods last night, a restaurant renowned for its clam chowdah. (Ruth Anne deemed it "very good and very fresh.") Our waiter, Paul, treated us to samples of true Boston cream pie.

Heading back to the hotel to watch John Edwards, we hopped in a cab driven by Ernie Preval, whose radio was blasting a speech from the convention floor. We asked him what he thought about some earlier speeches, and what he'd thought about Dennis Kucinich's speech.

"I think that his message did not exactly reflect the mainstream American values," Ernie told us, "and in that respect, I think his message was somewhat strange. But diversity is the bedrock of democracy, is it not?"

I love Boston, a town where the cab drivers put to shame even the most sage political pundits.

Posted by laura at 12:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Socas On The Podium

One of Virginia's congressional candidates has earned a premium spot in Boston: A place at the podium on the final night of the Democratic convention.

James Socas, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf in the 10th District, will address convention delegates this afternoon around 4 p.m.

Congratulations to James for this honor!

Posted by laura at 09:58 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Wednesday Night Convention: Preview

It's 3:20 AM and time for some much needed sleep... but I wanted to leave you with some choice shots from this tremendously exciting evening! The full gallery will be up tomorrow along with commentary and thoughts from members of the VA Delegation. Good night, all!

Posted by amahler at 03:17 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 28, 2004

From Teresa to Edwards

Yesterday, when I watched, transfixed, Teresa Heinz Kerry give such an impassioned speech, I was proud -- proud to be an American, a Democrat, a woman, and a fellow native Pittsburgher. Yes, it is time that smart woman can express their opinions without being labeled "opinionated". I thought to myself that this would not have been well received 12 years ago if Hillary had said it. But, I immediately realized that had it not been for Hillary, Teresa could not have said it now. It was the talk of every person I spoke with today. They loved Teresa.

I've watched Teresa for over 20 years in Pittsburgh, a city we both love. Even though Virginia is now my home, and I love the majesty of the Shenandoah Valley and its people, there is always that tug to Pittsburgh. There is always that special identity to "Heinz", and now to Teresa.

Tonight, as I watched John Edwards, I was reminded of being in Raleigh when he gave his concession speech and how amazed I was at how much more magnetic he is in person. I recalled the remarks from the CNN camera man standing beside me when he said, "That's the nicest man I ever met." I said, "You mean 'nicest politician'. "No," he said, "I mean the nicest man. I spent 40 days on a bus with him, and everyday, he talked with each of us. He knew who was going through a divorce, whose mother was ill, whose dog died. I've never known anyone like him."

As I listened to Edwards speak tonight, the concept that we can get back on the right track became a reality. The unity, the "friends", he brings to everyone, bring back hope that has long been missing. As he said, "Hope is on the way."

Watching all the speakers preceeding him, I became more aware of the numbers of people from all walks of life who are behind Kerry and Edwards. This is the team and the party to bring people together in One America. Hope is, indeed, on the way.

Marlana Lewis
Chair, Waynesboro DC
Comunication's Director, 6th District

Posted by marlana at 10:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

John Edwards Speech to the 2004 Democratic National Convention

Thank you. Now, you know why Elizabeth is so amazing.

I am a lucky man: to have the love of my life at my side. We have been blessed with four beautiful children: Wade, Cate, Emma Claire, and Jack.

My mother and father, Wallace and Bobbie Edwards are here tonight. You taught me the values that I carry with me in my heart: faith, family, responsibility, and opportunity for everyone. You taught me that there’s dignity and honor in a hard days work. You taught me that you look out for your neighbors, you never look down on anybody, and you treat everyone with respect.

Those are the values John Kerry and I believe in, and nothing makes me prouder than standing with him in this campaign. I am so humbled to be your candidate for Vice President of the United States.

I want to talk about our next president. For those who want to know what kind of leader he’ll be, I want to take you back about thirty years. When John Kerry graduated college, he volunteered for military service. He volunteered to go to Vietnam and to captain a swift boat, one of the most dangerous duties you could have. And as a result he was wounded and honored for his valor.

If you have any question about what he’s made of, you need to spend three minutes with the men who served with him then and stand by him today.

They saw up close what he’s made of. They saw him reach down and pull one of his men from the river and save his life. And in the heat of battle, they saw him decide in an instant to turn his boat around, drive it straight through an enemy position, and chase down the enemy to save his crew.

Decisive. Strong. Aren’t these the traits you want in a Commander in Chief?

We hear a lot of talk about values. Where I come from, you don’t judge someone’s values based on how they use that word in a political ad. You judge their values based upon what they’ve spent their life doing.

So when a man volunteers to serve his country, and puts his life on the line for others—that’s a man who represents real American values.

This is a man who is prepared to keep the American people safe and to make America stronger at home and respected in the world.

John is a man who knows the difference between what is right and what is wrong. He wants to serve you—your cause is his cause. And that is why we must and we will elect John Kerry as our next president.

For the last few months, John has been talking about his positive, optimistic vision for the country—talking about his plan to move this country in the right direction.

But we’ve seen relentless negative attacks against John. So in the weeks ahead, we know what’s coming—don’t we—more negative attacks.

Aren’t you sick of it?

They are doing all they can to take this campaign for the highest office in the land down the lowest possible road.

This is where you come in. Between now and November—you, the American people—you can reject the tired, old, hateful, negative, politics of the past. And instead you can embrace the politics of hope, the politics of what’s possible because this is America, where everything is possible.

I am here tonight because I love my country. And I have every reason to love my country because I have grown up in the bright light of America.

I grew up in a small town in rural North Carolina. My father worked in a mill all his life, and I will never forget the men and women who worked with him. They had lint in their hair and grease on their faces. They worked hard and tried to put a little something away every week so their kids and their grandkids could have a better life. They are just like the auto workers, office workers, teachers, and shop keepers on Main Streets all across America.

My mother had a number of jobs. Her last job was working at the post office so my parents could have health care. And she owned her own small business—refinishing furniture to help pay for me go to college.

I have had such incredible opportunities in my life, and I was blessed to be the first person in my family to go to college. I worked my way through, and I have had opportunities way beyond what I could have ever imagined.

And the heart of this campaign—your campaign—is to make sure that everyone has those same opportunities that I had growing up—no matter where you live, who your family is, or what the color of your skin is. This is the America we believe in.

I have spent my life fighting for the kind of people I grew up with. For two decades, I stood with families and children against big HMOs and big insurance companies. And as a Senator, I fought those same fights against the Washington lobbyists and for causes like the Patients’ Bill of Rights.

I stand here tonight ready to work with you and John to make America strong again.

And we have so much work to do. Because the truth is, we still live in two different Americas: one for people who have lived the American Dream and don’t have to worry, and another for most Americans who work hard and still struggle to make ends meet.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We can build one America

We can build one America where we no longer have two healthcare systems. One for people who get the best healthcare money can buy and then one for everybody else, rationed out by insurance companies, drug companies, and HMOs—millions of Americans who don’t have any health insurance at all.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

We have a plan that will offer everyone the same health care your Senator has. We can give tax breaks to help pay for your health care. And we will sign into law a real Patients’ Bill of Rights so you can make your own health care decisions.

We shouldn't have two public school systems in this country: one for the most affluent communities, and one for everybody else.

None of us believe that the quality of a child’s education should be controlled by where they live or the affluence of their community.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

We can build one public school system that works for all our children. Our plan will reform our schools and raise our standards. We can give our schools the resources they need. We can provide incentives to put quality teachers in the places and the subjects where we need them the most. And we can ensure that three million kids with a safe place to go after school. This is what we can do together.

We shouldn't have two different economies in America: one for people who are set for life, their kids and grandkids will be just fine, and then one for most Americans who live paycheck to paycheck.

And you know what I’m saying. You don’t need me to explain it to you, you know—you can’t save any money, can you? Takes every dime you make just to pay your bills, and you know what happens if something goes wrong—a child gets sick, somebody gets laid off, or there’s a financial problem, you go right off the cliff.

And what’s the first thing to go. Your dreams.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

We can strengthen and lift up your families. Your agenda is our agenda—so let me give you some specifics.

First, we can create good paying jobs in America again. Our plan will stop giving tax breaks to companies that outsource your jobs. Instead, we will give tax breaks to American companies that keep jobs here in America. And we will invest in the jobs of the future—in the technologies and innovation to ensure that America stays ahead of the competition.

We will do this because for us a job is about more than a paycheck—it’s about dignity and self respect. Hard work should be valued in this country and we’re going to reward work, not just wealth.

We don’t want people to just get by; we want people to get ahead. So let me give you some specifics about how we’re going to do that.

To help you pay for health care, a tax break and health care reform to lower your premiums up to $1,000. To help you cover the rising costs of child care, a tax credit up to $1,000 to cover those costs so your kids have a safe place to go while you work. And to help your child have the same chance I had and be the first person in your family to go to college, a tax break on up to $4,000 in tuition.

So now you ask how are we going to pay for this? Well, here’s how we’re going to pay for it. Let me be very clear, for 98 percent of Americans, you will keep your tax cut—that’s 98 percent. But we’ll roll back the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, close corporate loopholes, and cut government contractors and wasteful spending. We can move our country forward without passing the bill and the burden on to our children and grandchildren.

We can also do something about 35 million Americans who live in poverty every day. Here's the reason we should not just talk about it, but do something about millions of Americans who still live in poverty, because it is wrong. We have a moral responsibility to lift those families up.

I mean the very idea that in a country of our wealth and our prosperity, we have children going to bed hungry. We have children who don't have the clothes to keep them warm. We have millions of Americans who work full-time every day for minimum wage to support their family and still live in poverty—it’s wrong.

These are men and women who are living up to their part of the bargain: working hard and taking care of their families. Those families are doing their part; it’s time we did ours.

We will do that when John is in the White House. We will raise the minimum wage, finish the job on Welfare Reform, and bring good paying jobs to the places that need them. And we will say no forever to any American working full-time and living in poverty—not in our America, not in our America.

Let me talk about why we need to build one America. I saw up close what having two Americas does to our country.

From the time I was very young, I saw the ugly face of segregation and discrimination. I saw young African-American kids sent upstairs in movie theaters. I saw white only signs on restaurant doors and luncheon counters. I feel such an enormous responsibility when it comes to issues of race and equality and civil rights.

I have heard some discussions and debates about where, and in front of what audiences we should talk about race, equality, and civil rights. Well, I have an answer to that question. Everywhere.

This is not an African-American issue, not a Latino issue, not an Asian-American issue, this is an American issue. It’s about who we are, what our values are, what kind of country we want to live in.

What John and I want—what we all want—is for our children and our grandchildren to be the first generations to grow up in an America that's no longer divided by race.

We must build one America. We must be one America, strong and united for another very important reason—because we are at war.

None of us will ever forget where we were on September 11th. We share the same terrible images: the Towers falling, the Pentagon in flames, and the smoldering field in Pennsylvania. And we share the profound sadness for the nearly three thousand lives lost.

As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I know that we have to do more to fight terrorism and protect our country. And we can do that. We are approaching the third anniversary of September 11th, and I can tell you that when we’re in office, it won’t take us three years to get the reforms in our intelligence we need to protect our country. We will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to make sure that never happens again, not to our America.

When John is president, we will listen to the wisdom of the September 11th Commission. We will build and lead strong alliances and safeguard and secure weapons of mass destruction. We will strengthen our homeland security and protect our ports, safeguard our chemical plants, and support our firefighters, police officers and EMT’s. We will always use our military might to keep the American people safe.

And we will have one clear unmistakable message for al Qaida and the rest of these terrorists. You cannot run. You cannot hide. And we will destroy you.

John understands personally about fighting in a war. And he knows what our brave men and women are going through in another war—the war in Iraq.

The human cost and extraordinary heroism of this war, it surrounds us. It surrounds us in our cities and towns. And we will win this war because of the strength and courage of our own people.

Some of our friends and neighbors saw their last images in Baghdad. Some took their last steps outside of Fallujah. And some buttoned their uniform for the final time before they went out to save their unit.

Men and women who used to take care of themselves, they now count on others to see them through the day. They need their mother to tie their shoe. Their husband to brush their hair. And their wife’s arm to help them across the room.

The stars and stripes wave for them. The word hero was made for them. They are the best and the bravest. They will never be left behind. You understand that. And they deserve a president who understands on the most personal level what they have gone through—what they have given and what they have given up for their country.

To us, the real test of patriotism is how we treat the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to defend our values. And let me tell you, the 26 million veterans in this country won’t have to wonder if they’ll have health care next week or next year—they will have it always because they took care of us and we will take care of them.

But today, our great United States military is stretched thin. More than 140,000 are in Iraq. Nearly 20,000 are serving in Afghanistan. And I visited the men and women there and we’re praying for them as they keep working to give that country hope.

Like all of those brave men and women, John put his life on the line for our country. He knows that when authority is given to the president, much is expected in return. That’s why we will strengthen and modernize our military.

We will double our Special Forces, and invest in the new equipment and technologies so that our military remains the best equipped and best trained in the world. This will make our military stronger so we’re able to defeat every enemy in this new world.

But we can’t do this alone. We have to restore our respect in the world to bring our allies to us and with us. It’s how we won the World Wars and the Cold War and it is how we will build a stable Iraq.

With a new president who strengthens and leads our alliances, we can get NATO to help secure Iraq. We can ensure that Iraq’s neighbors like Syria and Iran, don’t stand in the way of a democratic Iraq. We can help Iraq’s economy by getting other countries to forgive their enormous debt and participate in the reconstruction. We can do this for the Iraqi people and our soldiers. And we will get this done right.

A new president will bring the world to our side, and with it—a stable Iraq and a real chance for peace and freedom in the Middle East, including a safe and secure Israel. And John and I will bring the world together to face our most dangerous threat: the possibility of terrorists getting their hands on a nuclear, chemical or biological weapon.

With our credibility restored, we can work with other nations to secure stockpiles of the worlds most dangerous weapons and safeguard this dangerous material. We can finish the job and secure all loose nukes in Russia. And we can close the loophole in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that allows rogue nations access to the tools they need to develop these weapons.

That’s how we can address the new threats we face. That’s how we can keep you safe. That’s how we can restore America’s respect around the world.

And together, we will ensure that the image of America—the image all of us love—America this great shining light, this beacon of freedom, democracy, and human rights that the world looks up to—that that beacon is always lit.

The truth is every child, every family in America will be safer and more secure if you grow up in a world where America is once again looked up to and respected. That's the world we can create together.

Tonight, as we celebrate in this hall, somewhere in America, a mother sits at the kitchen table. She can’t sleep. She’s worried because she can’t pay her bills. She’s working hard to pay the rent and feed her kids. She’s doing everything right, but she still can’t get ahead.

It didn’t use to be that way in her house. Her husband was called up in the Guard and he’s been serving in Iraq for more than a year. She thought he’d be home last month, but now he’s got to stay longer.

She thinks she’s alone. But tonight in this hall and in your homes—you know what? She’s got a lot of friends. We want her to know that we hear her. And it’s time to bring opportunity and an equal chance to her door.

We’re here to make America stronger at home so she can get ahead. And we’re here to make America respected in the world so that we can bring him home and American soldiers don’t have to fight the war in Iraq and the war on terror alone.

So when you return home, you might pass a mother on her way to work the late-shift—you tell her……hope is on the way.

When your brother calls and says that he’s working all the time at the office and still can’t get ahead—you tell him……hope is on the way.

When your parents call and tell you their medical bills are through the roof—you tell them…...hope is on the way.

When your neighbor calls you and says that her daughter has worked hard and wants to go to college—you tell her……hope is on the way.

When you talk to your son or daughter who is serving this country and protecting our freedoms in Iraq—you tell them……hope is on the way.

And when you wake up and sit with your kids at the kitchen table, talking to them about the great possibilities in America, you make sure that they know that John and I believe at our core that tomorrow can be better than today.

Like all of us, I have learned a lot of lessons in my life. Two of the most important are that first, there will always be heartache and struggle—you can’t make it go away. But the other is that people of good and strong will, can make a difference. One lesson is a sad lesson and the other’s inspiring. We are Americans and we choose to be inspired.

We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism. We choose to do what’s right even when those around us say “You can’t do that.� We choose to be inspired because we know that we can do better—because this is America where everything is still possible.

What we believe—what John Kerry and I believe—is that you should never look down on anybody, that we should lift people up. We don't believe in tearing people apart. We believe in bringing people together. What we believe—what I believe—is that the family you're born into and the color of your skin in our America should never control your destiny.

Join us in this cause. Let’s make America stronger at home and respected in the world. Let’s ensure that once again, in our one America—our one America—tomorrow will always be better than today.

Thank you and God bless you.

John Edwards - July 28, 2004 - Boston, MA

Posted by wally at 10:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday Night Convention Photos

Select photos by your connection speed:

Tuesday Night - Convention - July 27, 2004 - High Quality Photos (slower)

Tuesday Night - Convention - July 27, 2004 - Medium Quality Photos (faster)

These took me a bit longer to get online than I would have liked, so I apologize for the delay. By the end of Tuesday night I was near the point of collapse from the schedule and, aside from a 7:10 AM live radio interview, had no choice but to get some additional sleep at the cost of missing our breakfast event. I'm going to write another entry - maybe later tonight - from a more personal perspective since there are so many stories to tell. Right now, though, I'm staying in the convention groove and am about to head out to try to focus on the delegation's official actions of the evening.

More to come...

Posted by amahler at 05:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Beyond The Confetti

Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Kerry J. Donley shared his thoughts about the convention so far:

Our delegation, like the whole convention, is united as a Democratic Party. And that is one of the most unique elements of this convention. Democrats are known for representing a variety of different perspectives, but this year we are singular in our focus in electing John Kerry as our next president.

What I think is significant for Virginia Democrats is that, while we are here officially nominating John Kerry, he's actually been campaigning in Virginia, which shows we are in play and we are an important part of the formula of success in the Democratic Party and the John Kerry campaign.

The same excitement we've seen in cities, towns and counties in Virginia is being replayed here in Boston. The excitement of our delegation is unmatched--we have one of the most diverse delegations of all of the states represented here in Boston and with that diversity also comes the enthusiasm that builds the momentum for victory.

What's been particularly notable here have been the messages from Democratic leaders across the nation, from Ted Kennedy to Bill Clinton to Barak Obama, the Senate candidate from Illinois. We have experienced a unified message--a stronger America, respected in the world. That is the theme of this convention, the theme of our campaign, and the theme that will reach voters in Virginia and in the United States. I hope all Virginians share in our enthusiasm about a positive future, a positive direction for our country.

Most voters see the fanfare, the speeches, the balloons and confetti. There's a tremendous amount of work that goes into putting on a national convention. The DNC has done a great job here in Boston, and the staff of the DPVA has worked tirelessly to ensure that the Virginia delegation is taken care of, credentials are delivered, and our events go off without a hitch. It has required a lot of long hours and a lot of hard work. We might be tired now, but we have to keep in mind we have an election to win in November--and that's the next big step.

Posted by laura at 12:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Persuasion: The Convention's "Smarter Side"

The Boston Globe has an excellent op-ed in this morning's edition about Democrats and the matter of persuasion.

This is a well-written analysis of the convention's tone so far--a message that is powerful and one that will resonate well beyond John Kerry's acceptance speech and the end of this historic convention.


Posted by laura at 11:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Time For Change

This entry was written by Kerry national delegate John Flannery.

Senator John Kerry offered the nation Senator John Edwards as the Vice-President who would replace Dick Cheney.
So how is this vigorous, engaging, easy-talking son of the South going to match up against the secretive behind-the-scenes Cheney?
There's little question it has the Bush Administration sweating.
President Bush rushed to Edwards' home state to defend his Vice-President by saying that Cheney was "ready" to be President "now."

President Bush said this - seemingly unaware of the fact - that many believe that VP Cheney has been acting as the President more than President Bush might like to admit.

After all, it was VP Cheney who issued the order on 9/11 to shoot down a civilian airliner. Deputy White House Chief Joshua Bolton said it was Cheney's decision. The 9/11 Commission found no call from President Bush issuing the order. Instead, President Bush had gone to ground on that terrible day of horror and national crisis - doing so at VP Cheney's direction.

President Bush wants us to think that this vice-presidential match-up is the confrontation of Edwards' "sizzle" with Cheney's "substance" but what I think we really have is John Edwards, a straight talking man trusted by the people, taking on the double-dealing insider Cheney from Haliburton.

Before Senator Kerry's recent announcement about his running mate, I had a conversation with a prominent Republican member of Congress who confessed that he thought Edwards would be the toughest opponent for the Republicans to deal with in the Fall and the thing that he genuinely liked about Senator Edwards, and that he feared would be effective in the presidential sweepstakes, was how positive Edwards was on the campaign trail.

There was a Johnny Mercer song my parents loved when I was a kid that encouraged one and all to "accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch onto the affirmative, [and] watch out for Mr. In-between."

By all accounts, Senator Edwards is about "accentuat[ing] the positive" while too many other politicians prefer to be "Mr. In-between."

Senator Edwards offers a message of hope, a promise to restore lost jobs and trust in government, and to work his heart out until he succeeds.

Working men and women across this nation trust Edwards because he was imprinted by the lives of those men that he worked beside when he was young.

Edwards worked at a textile mill, sweeping floors around the textile looms, painting markings on rural highways, getting to know what ordinary folk do to get along.

Edwards was also the first in his family to go to college. He earned his law degree so that he could fight for the ordinary folk who were wronged by the large greedy, corrupt and indifferent corporations.
Edwards knew at an early age what he wanted to be. In an essay he wrote at eleven years of age, he said why he wanted to be a lawyer: "I would like to protect innocent people ..."

Edwards turned from the practice of law, however, after his son Wade's death in a car accident. "Nothing in my life," Edwards said, "has ever hit me and stripped everything away like my son's death." John and his law school sweetheart grieved hard and long over the loss of their son. For six months, Edwards worked not a day at his law office. Wade wrote that a heroic life must forge "the link between man as he is and man as he could be." Wade's tragic death combined with his idealism, preserved in these notes, seemingly inspired and propelled his father to make a difference in public life, to run for the Senate, and now to run to become Vice-President.

Four years ago we had economic prosperity, millions more jobs, we had peace, our sons and daughters were not fighting in Iraq, we were respected as a nation, and we did not offer weasel-worded legal papers in defense of torturing and humiliating prisoners.

It is time for a change.

Not since Kennedy and Johnson has there been a ticket that had such promise to change the political landscape in America.

Kerry and Edwards have summoned all regions of the nation, all states in the union, to this grand mission, to renew, restore and re-dedicate each other and our government to the core values that made this nation renowned throughout the world.

It is time that we elected Edwards - for a change.

John practices law in Leesburg, lives in Lovettsville, and welcomes courteous comments at John@johnpflannery.com.

Posted by laura at 11:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Text Of Barak Obama's Convention Speech

On behalf of the great state of Illinois, crossroads of a nation, land of Lincoln, let me express my deep gratitude for the privilege of addressing this convention. Tonight is a particular honor for me because, let's face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely. My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant.

But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place: America, which stood as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before. While studying here, my father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side of the world, in Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs and farms through most of the Depression. The day after Pearl Harbor he signed up for duty, joined Patton's army and marched across Europe. Back home, my grandmother raised their baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the GI Bill, bought a house through FHA, and moved west in search of opportunity.

And they, too, had big dreams for their daughter, a common dream, born of two continents. My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or "blessed," believing that in a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success. They imagined me going to the best schools in the land, even though they weren't rich, because in a generous America you don't have to be rich to achieve your potential. They are both passed away now. Yet, I know that, on this night, they look down on me with pride.

I stand here today, grateful for the diversity of my heritage, aware that my parents' dreams live on in my precious daughters. I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that, in no other country on earth, is my story even possible. Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation, not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy. Our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago, "We hold these truths to he self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

That is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams of its people, the insistence on small miracles. That we can tuck in our children at night and know they are fed and clothed and safe from harm. That we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door. That we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe or hiring somebody's son. That we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will he counted - or at least, most of the time.

This year, in this election, we are called to reaffirm our values and commitments, to hold them against a hard reality and see how we are measuring up, to the legacy of our forbearers, and the promise of future generations. And fellow Americans - Democrats, Republicans, Independents - I say to you tonight: we have more work to do. More to do for the workers I met in Galesburg, Illinois, who are losing their union jobs at the Maytag plant that's moving to Mexico, and now are having to compete with their own children for jobs that pay seven bucks an hour. More to do for the father I met who was losing his job and choking back tears, wondering how he would pay $4,500 a month for the drugs his son needs without the health benefits he counted on. More to do for the young woman in East St. Louis, and thousands more like her, who has the grades, has the drive, has the will, but doesn't have the money to go to college.

Don't get me wrong. The people I meet in small towns and big cities, in diners and office parks, they don't expect government to solve all their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead and they want to. Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you they don't want their tax money wasted by a welfare agency or the Pentagon. Go into any inner city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can't teach kids to learn. They know that parents have to parent, that children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white. No, people don't expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. They know we can do better. And they want that choice.

In this election, we offer that choice. Our party has chosen a man to lead us who embodies the best this country has to offer. That man is John Kerry (news - web sites). John Kerry understands the ideals of community, faith, and sacrifice, because they've defined his life. From his heroic service in Vietnam to his years as prosecutor and lieutenant governor, through two decades in the United States Senate, he has devoted himself to this country. Again and again, we've seen him make tough choices when easier ones were available. His values and his record affirm what is best in us.

John Kerry believes in an America where hard work is rewarded. So instead of offering tax breaks to companies shipping jobs overseas, he'll offer them to companies creating jobs here at home. John Kerry believes in an America where all Americans can afford the same health coverage our politicians in Washington have for themselves. John Kerry believes in energy independence, so we aren't held hostage to the profits of oil companies or the sabotage of foreign oil fields. John Kerry believes in the constitutional freedoms that have made our country the envy of the world, and he will never sacrifice our basic liberties nor use faith as a wedge to divide us. And John Kerry believes that in a dangerous world, war must be an option, but it should never he the first option.

A while back, I met a young man named Shamus at the VFW Hall in East Moline, Illinois. He was a good-looking kid, six-two or six-three, clear-eyed, with an easy smile. He told me he'd joined the Marines and was heading to Iraq (news - web sites) the following week. As I listened to him explain why he'd enlisted, his absolute faith in our country and its leaders, his devotion to duty and service, I thought this young man was all any of us might hope for in a child. But then I asked myself: Are we serving Shamus as well as he was serving us? I thought of more than 900 service men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors, who will not be returning to their hometowns. I thought of families I had met who were struggling to get by without a loved one's full income, or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or with nerves shattered, but who still lacked long-term health benefits because they were reservists. When we send our young men and women into harm's way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they're going, to care for their families while they're gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world.

Now let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued and they must be defeated. John Kerry knows this. And just as Lieutenant Kerry did not hesitate to risk his life to protect the men who served with him in Vietnam, President Kerry will not hesitate one moment to use our military might to keep America safe and secure. John Kerry believes in America. And he knows it's not enough for just some of us to prosper. For alongside our famous individualism, there's another ingredient in the American saga.

A belief that we are connected as one people. If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandmother. If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It's that fundamental belief - I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper - that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one.

Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America - there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? John Kerry calls on us to hope. John Edwards (news - web sites) calls on us to hope. I'm not talking about blind optimism here - the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don't talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. No, I'm talking about something more substantial. It's the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker's son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. The audacity of hope!

In the end, that is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation; the belief in things not seen; the belief that there are better days ahead. I believe we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity. I believe we can provide jobs to the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair. I believe that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices, and meet the challenges that face us. America!

Tonight, if you feel the same energy I do, the same urgency I do, the same passion I do, the same hopefulness I do - if we do what we must do, then I have no doubt that all across the country, from Florida to Oregon, from Washington to Maine, the people will rise up in November, and John Kerry will be sworn in as president, and John Edwards will be sworn in as vice president, and this country will reclaim its promise, and out of this long political darkness a brighter day will come.

Thank you and God bless you.

Click here for more about Barak Obama.

Posted by laura at 10:12 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Max Cleland Greets Virginia Delegation

Captain's log supplemental:

Breakfast with Max Cleland a few moments ago was the highlight of the convention. Who could top Obama and Heinz Kerry? Try Max Cleland speaking from the heart about why his fellow hero and close friend John Kerry MUST be elected. Talking with emotion to a packed delegation breakfast, Max gave a soldier's story of John Kerry's personal courage under fire, his character and his integrity. Max told the story of a young, wounded soldier in Vietnam dying in the arms of then Lieutenant, now General Tony Zinni. As he died, he looked up at Zinni and simply asked, "Why?" Only a soldier, like Max, or Zinni or John Kerry can really appreciate the price of a mistake in war. Max showed us why in this race, only one candidate has the experience to fix a mistake that has caused so many of today's youngsters dying in Iraq to ask the same question.

Max speaks tomorrow night. You have to watch.

Larry Framme

Posted by laura at 09:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Obama Effect

Two words describe Tuesday's nights convention session: Barak Obama.

Below is Virginia delegation co-chairman Larry Framme's take on last night's events:

It was an "Oh my God!" kind of night! Last night the speakers just kept getting better. Clearly our party has another new star. Barak Obama is going to be President some day. You heard it here first! I think we Dems here are united on two things now: Electing John Kerry and believing we heard one of the great political speeched of recent times. Barak Obama clearly and with passion articulated why we are Democrats and why our county needs us now.

Just when we thought it couldn't get better, Teresa Heinz Kerry stepped to the mike and in a soft voice gave the hard truth about the real John Kerry - the John Kerry that is a devoted husband and father, who shares the real "family values" of a burning desire to insure that every family has access to quality healthcare, jobs and a great education.

If you were here, you would know why we know that if we do the hard campaign work, we will win.

Tonight is going to be even better.

Larry Framme

Posted by laura at 09:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Second Night on the Floor: Preview

Here is a preview of some of tonight's photos... look for the full gallery tomorrow after I finish sorting and editing...

Posted by amahler at 01:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 27, 2004

Through an Elector's Eyes - Huddled Masses

Aloha - greetings from the fiftieth state. by Ron Telsch

While flying here I could well image how tightly packed our Virginia delegation is on the convention floor in Boston and, I was reminded also, of how my grandparents must have huddled together on their boat to our shores. In the plane's rows before me African-Americans sat in the same manner of discomfort as I, behind me Asian-Americans, including a U.S. Army Sergeant on R&R from Iraq, a foreign-exchange student from Spain to my left, and a portion of my family to my right. Packed tightly in a metal tube going 400 miles an hour with an in-flight movie showing the story of an American western cowboy racing horses against Arabic speaking riders across Iraq and Syria. At least that's what I thought it was about. The movie had begun long before my wife told me if I switched video channels in the armrest of my seat, I could listen to it in English. It did not seem abnormal to me at all that the movie was in Spanish without subtitles. Such is the America we live in today.

Look at our glorious 6th Congressional District for example: foreign students in colleges and universities up and down I-81; a large Hispanic population in many of our locales; African-Americans proudly developing communities with integrity and identity in our cities and towns; restaurants of almost every international fare; English-as-a-Second-Language offered in our public schools; and, religious centers devoted to all our people's diverse spiritual needs. And at the convention, our fellow Virginians will hear from Illinois State Senator Obama, who counts among his blessings a childhood in Hawaii. Those of you in Boston please give a hug and "mahalo" - thank you - to the Hawaiian delegation for your Elector. They traveled so far to be with you and we need their support.

Every few years our countrymen go to the polls hoping to elect statesmen and stateswomen to positions that will help shape our country and our world. Unfortunately, all too often, we fall short of the goal and elect only politicians. But this week has once again shown our country an excitingly different example of politics at our convention. No one watching could have missed that Presidents Carter and Clinton spoke as statesmen, and this year we need diplomatic solutions to what ails our country.

Before arriving in Honolulu, I read an interview with the President published in the August issue of Reader's Digest. Perhaps you read it too. One section struck me as particularly telling. When asked what the biggest difference was between him and John Kerry, the President responded, "I really don't want to get into that sort of debate. I'll just tell you what my vision is. Look, I want to win. That's what you've got to know."

I'm just one Elector, but I am confident most of us know that all too well. That is why we must elect John Kerry and John Edwards. I want all of us to win this November.

I appreciate your efforts to do that. Mahalo.

Ron Telsch
Elector, 6th District

Posted by marlana at 09:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday Night Convention Photos

Select photos by your connection speed:

Monday Night - Convention - July 26, 2004 - High Quality Photos (slower)

Monday Night - Convention - July 26, 2004 - Medium Quality Photos (faster)

I cannot begin to describe (in my current exhausted state - this is day three with three or less hours of sleep) the incredible experience I am having here. Getting a chance to develop friendships with DPV staff and delegation members in this environment is incredible.

I apologize for the time it took to get these online, but nothing here slows down and I had to sort 710 photographs that I took last night. I've selected 151 images that I think best tell the story (and of which I am most proud). Due to time contraints, they are not yet captioned and have very minimal editing. Look for captions and improvements in quality to come in the near future...

I hope everyone enjoys these as much as I enjoyed taking them.

I'm going to go take a nap. :)

P.S. Bill Clinton. Wow. I have missed him so...

Posted by amahler at 12:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Text Of President Clinton's Speech

Watching Monday night's convention opening at the FleetCenter was probably one of the coolest experiences I've ever had. There was a ferocious energy in the convention hall--a party united by an extraordinary common purpose: Victory in November.

There is no question that Bill Clinton is still a profound force in the conciousness of Democrats everywhere.

Here is the text of his Monday evening address:

Thank you. I am honored to share the podium with my Senator, though I think I should be introducing her. I'm proud of her and so grateful to the people of New York that the best public servant in our family is still on the job and grateful to all of you, especially my friends from Arkansas, for the chance you gave us to serve our country in the White House.

I am also honored to share this night with President Carter, who has inspired the world with his work for peace, democracy, and human rights. And with Al Gore, my friend and partner for eight years, who played such a large role in building the prosperity and progress that brought America into the 21st century, who showed incredible grace and patriotism under pressure, and who is the living embodiment that every vote counts-and must be counted in every state in America.

Tonight I speak as a citizen, returning to the role I have played for most of my life as a foot soldier in the fight for our future, as we nominate a true New England patriot for president. The state that gave us John Adams and John Kennedy has now given us John Kerry, a good man, a great senator, a visionary leader. We are constantly told America is deeply divided. But all Americans value freedom, faith, and family. We all honor the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world.

We all want good jobs, good schools, health care, safe streets, a clean environment. We all want our children to grow up in a secure America leading the world toward a peaceful future. Our differences are in how we can best achieve these things, in a time of unprecedented change. Therefore, we Democrats will bring the American people a positive campaign, arguing not who's good and who's bad, but what is the best way to build the safe, prosperous world our children deserve.

The 21st century is marked by serious security threats, serious economic challenges, and serious problems like global warming and the AIDS epidemic. But it is also full of enormous opportunities-to create millions of high paying jobs in clean energy, and biotechnology; to restore the manufacturing base and reap the benefits of the global economy through our diversity and our commitment to decent labor and environmental standards everywhere; and to create a world where we can celebrate our religious and racial differences, because our common humanity matters more.

To build that kind of world we must make the right choices; and we must have a president who will lead the way. Democrats and Republicans have very different and honestly held ideas on that choices we should make, rooted in fundamentally different views of how we should meet our common challenges at home and how we should play our role in the world. Democrats want to build an America of shared responsibilities and shared opportunities and more global cooperation, acting alone only when we must.

We think the role of government is to give people the tools and conditions to make the most of their lives. Republicans believe in an America run by the right people, their people, in a world in which we act unilaterally when we can, and cooperate when we have to.

They think the role of government is to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of those who embrace their political, economic, and social views, leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves on matters like health care and retirement security. Since most Americans are not that far to the right, they have to portray us Democrats as unacceptable, lacking in strength and values. In other words, they need a divided America. But Americans long to be united. After 9/11, we all wanted to be one nation, strong in the fight against terror. The president had a great opportunity to bring us together under his slogan of compassionate conservatism and to unite the world in common cause against terror.

Instead, he and his congressional allies made a very different choice: to use the moment of unity to push America too far to the right and to walk away from our allies, not only in attacking Iraq before the weapons inspectors finished their jobs, but in withdrawing American support for the Climate Change Treaty, the International Court for war criminals, the ABM treaty, and even the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Now they are working to develop two new nuclear weapons which they say we might use first. At home, the President and the Republican Congress have made equally fateful choices indeed. For the first time ever when America was on a war footing, there were two huge tax cuts, nearly half of which went to the top one percent. I'm in that group now for the first time in my life.

When I was in office, the Republicans were pretty mean to me. When I left and made money, I became part of the most important group in the world to them. At first I thought I should send them a thank you note-until I realized they were sending you the bill.

They protected my tax cuts while:
* Withholding promised funding for the Leave No Child Behind Act, leaving over 2 million children behind
* Cutting 140,000 unemployed workers out of job training
* 100,000 working families out of child care assistance
* 300,000 poor children out of after school programs
* Raising out of pocket healthcare costs to veterans
* Weakening or reversing important environmental advances for clean air and the preservation of our forests.

Everyone had to sacrifice except the wealthiest Americans, who wanted to do their part but were asked only to expend the energy necessary to open the envelopes containing our tax cuts. If you agree with these choices, you should vote to return them to the White House and Congress. If not, take a look at John Kerry, John Edwards and the Democrats.

In this year's budget, the White House wants to cut off federal funding for 88,000 uniformed police, including more than 700 on the New York City police force who put their lives on the line on 9/11. As gang violence is rising and we look for terrorists in our midst, Congress and the President are also about to allow the ten-year-old ban on assault weapons to expire. Our crime policy was to put more police on the streets and take assault weapons off the streets. It brought eight years of declining crime and violence. Their policy is the reverse, they're taking police off the streets and putting assault weapons back on the streets. If you agree with their choices, vote to continue them. If not, join John Kerry, John Edwards and the Democrats in making America safer, smarter, and stronger.

On Homeland Security, Democrats tried to double the number of containers at ports and airports checked for Weapons of Mass Destruction. The one billion dollar cost would have been paid for by reducing the tax cut of 200,000 millionaires by five thousand dollars each. Almost all 200,000 of us would have been glad to pay 5,000 dollars to make the nearly 300 million Americans safer-but the measure failed because the White House and the Republican leadership in the House decided my tax cut was more important- If you agree with that choice, re-elect them. If not, give John Kerry and John Edwards a chance.

These policies have turned the projected 5.8 trillion dollar surplus we left-enough to pay for the baby boomers retirement-into a projected debt of nearly 5 trillion dollars, with a 400 plus billion dollar deficit this year and for years to come. How do they pay for it? First by taking the monthly surplus in Social Security payments and endorsing the checks of working people over to me to cover my tax cut. But it's not enough. They are borrowing the rest from foreign governments, mostly Japan and China. Sure, they're competing with us for good jobs but how can we enforce our trade laws against our bankers? If you think it's good policy to pay for my tax cut with the Social Security checks of working men and women, and borrowed money from China, vote for them. If not, John Kerry's your man.

We Americans must choose for President one of two strong men who both love our country, but who have very different worldviews: Democrats favor shared responsibility, shared opportunity, and more global cooperation. Republicans favor concentrated wealth and power, leaving people to fend for themselves and more unilateral action. I think we're right for two reasons: First, America works better when all people have a chance to live their dreams. Second, we live in an interdependent world in which we can't kill, jail, or occupy all our potential adversaries, so we have to both fight terror and build a world with more partners and fewer terrorists. We tried it their way for twelve years, our way for eight, and then their way for four more.

By the only test that matters, whether people were better off when we finished than when we started, our way works better-it produced over 22 million good jobs, rising incomes, and 100 times as many people moving out of poverty into the middle class. It produced more health care, the largest increase in college aid in 50 years, record home ownership, a cleaner environment, three surpluses in a row, a modernized defense force, strong efforts against terror, and an America respected as a world leader for peace, security and prosperity.

More importantly, we have great new champions in John Kerry and John Edwards. Two good men with wonderful wives-Teresa a generous and wise woman who understands the world we are trying to shape. And Elizabeth, a lawyer and mother who understands the lives we are all trying to lift. Here is what I know about John Kerry. During the Vietnam War, many young men-including the current president, the vice president and me-could have gone to Vietnam but didn't. John Kerry came from a privileged background and could have avoided it too. Instead he said, send me.

When they sent those swift-boats up the river in Vietnam, and told them their job was to draw hostile fire-to show the American flag and bait the enemy to come out and fight-John Kerry said, send me. When it was time to heal the wounds of war and normalize relations with Vietnam-and to demand an accounting of the POWs and MIAs we lost there-John Kerry said, send me.

When we needed someone to push the cause of inner-city kids struggling to avoid a life of crime, or to bring the benefits of high technology to ordinary Americans, or to clean the environment in a way that creates jobs, or to give small businesses a better chance to make it, John Kerry said send me.

Tonight my friends, I ask you to join me for the next 100 days in telling John Kerry's story and promoting his plans. Let every person in this hall and all across America say to him what he has always said to America: Send Me. The bravery that the men who fought by his side saw in battle I've seen in the political arena. When I was President, John Kerry showed courage and conviction on crime, on welfare reform, on balancing the budget at a time when those priorities were not exactly a way to win a popularity contest in our party.

He took tough positions on tough problems. John Kerry knows who he is and where he's going. He has the experience, the character, the ideas and the values to be a great President. In a time of change he has two other important qualities: his insatiable curiosity to understand the forces shaping our lives, and a willingness to hear the views even of those who disagree with him. Therefore his choices will be full of both conviction and common sense.

He proved that when he picked a tremendous partner in John Edwards. Everybody talks about John Edwards' energy, intellect, and charisma. The important thing is how he has used his talents to improve the lives of people who-like John himself-had to work hard for all they've got. He has always championed the cause of people too often left out or left behind. And that's what he'll do as our Vice President.

Their opponents will tell you to be afraid of John Kerry and John Edwards, because they won't stand up to the terrorists-don't you believe it. Strength and wisdom are not conflicting values-they go hand in hand. John Kerry has both. His first priority will be keeping America safe. Remember the scripture: Be Not Afraid.

John Kerry and John Edwards, have good ideas:
* To make this economy work again for middle-class Americans;
* To restore fiscal responsibility;
* To save Social Security; to make healthcare more affordable and college more available;
* To free us from dependence on foreign oil and create new jobs in clean energy;
* To rally the world to win the war on terror and to make more friends and fewer terrorists.

At every turning point in our history we the people have chosen unity over division, heeding our founders' call to America's eternal mission: to form a more perfect union, to widen the circle of opportunity, deepen the reach of freedom, and strengthen the bonds of community.

It happened because we made the right choices. In the early days of the republic, America was at a crossroads much like it is today, deeply divided over whether or not to build a real nation with a national economy, and a national legal system. We chose a more perfect union.

In the Civil War, America was at a crossroads, divided over whether to save the union and end slavery-we chose a more perfect union. In the 1960s, America was at a crossroads, divided again over civil rights and women's rights. Again, we chose a more perfect union. As I said in 1992, we're all in this together; we have an obligation both to work hard and to help our fellow citizens, both to fight terror and to build a world with more cooperation and less terror. Now again, it is time to choose.

Since we're all in the same boat, let us chose as the captain of our ship a brave good man who knows how to steer a vessel though troubled waters to the calm seas and clear skies of our more perfect union. We know our mission. Let us join as one and say in a loud, clear voice: Send John Kerry.

Posted by laura at 11:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A City Taken Over

By David S. Kerr

As I write this the Democratic Convention has just begun and the weather is picture perfect. The sun has been out all day and the normally warm Boston summer has retreated temporarily making this first evening of the convention feel more like mid September than late July.

The City, for a few days at least, has been utterly and completely taken over by the Democrats. Vendors, hotels, restaurants, museums, and stores, most sporting Kerry stickers and buttons, all seem like extensions, at least temporarily, of the Democratic Convention.
To say that the security in and around the convention site is intense is an understatement.

So far this evening I have seen officers from the Massachusetts State Police, the U.S. Park Service, the Federal Protective Service, what I think was the U.S. Secret Service, the Boston Police, the Boston "T" Transit Police, and the Harbor Police. However, that's just the police presence. There is also the military presence, with Navy, Army and Marine Corps personnel, several hundred of them, if not more, stationed all around the city, helping to beef up what is already an impressive security force.

All in all, this is one time when I visit a big city that I'm not worrying about my wallet.

The Democrats, to put it mildly, are in a jovial mood. There are delegates from every state and territory as well as Democratic congressmen, senators, governors, and state legislators from all around the country. But, it would be trite to say that they are just here to have a good time. Though that most certainly is on the list there is a lot more going on here than just a big party.

No, what's going on is a lot deeper than that. These folks are here with a purpose. Underneath the smiles, the hand holding, and the backslapping is a unity of purpose. Something, I can tell you, that as a long time watcher of politics, doesn't happen that often at Democratic events.

Sure, Democrats always want to beat the Republicans, but this year its different. There are none of the usual little squabbles, animosities, or rivalries left over from the primaries that usually, even at this point, still linger at the convention. There are no credentials fights, no platform debates, and no arguments over the lineup of speakers. No, this year, these people know what they're here for. Uniformly, this is a convention that is resolutely focused on beating George Bush.

I was in the audience this evening at a live remote broadcast of a session of the CNBC's Hardball with Chris Mathews and got a taste of the sense of purpose the Democrats have this year. Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark, and Senator Debbie Stabinaw from Michigan, were all guests on the program, and try as Mathews did to bring out their differences, goad them into saying something that would offer a hint of disunity in the Democratic Party's intensity, he couldn't.
Of course, that may be a bit of their problem at the moment too, and I have heard several delegates making this point.

The party is understandably focused on getting the President out of office, but at the same time, many of the delegates aren't quite sure they have really gotten to know the man they will nominate the day after tomorrow.

That's what many of them are hoping will happen this week. Namely, that the Convention, the speakers, and finally the acceptance speech, will offer their nominee, John Kerry, a chance to define himself and start a momentum that will carry them all the way to November.
Several delegates have reminded me of the 1992 Democratic Convention.

That year, the Democratic Convention gave Bill Clinton the bounce and the energy that propelled his candidacy into front runner status. A position, in that year's race against President Bush, that he never lost. Many are hoping that maybe this week, John Kerry can take a page from history, and do it again.

Posted by laura at 10:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

First Night on the Floor: A Preview

There is so much to tell and so much to show... but here is a preview of some of the shots from tonight and I'll put together my full gallery and write-ups in the morning:

Posted by amahler at 01:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 26, 2004

Yesterday's Gone --- But It Felt Like It Was Back Again

Nothing can excite a crowd or enhance the soul like hearing Bill Clinton speak. He says what seems so obvious, whether with a serious voice or tongue-in-cheek. When have we last seen smiles on faces as tonight when Bill Clinton was speaking? When have we heard the enraptured crowds cheering as they did tonight when Clinton was speaking? When Clinton was President.

Yesterday is definately gone, but we want it back again. Clinton spoke about those choices -- health care for all, or tax cuts for the wealthy; education -- or tax cuts for the wealthy; jobs --- or tax cuts for the wealthy. And, as he said, the choice is ours.

We can undo the damage of the last four years by voting for change.
We can have rapturous cheering crowds again when people have hope. We can have hope in our hearts by electing those who put the good of all before the good of a few. We can have Yesterday once more by electing John Kerry and John Edwards and other Democrats.

Yesterday is always gone. But we CAN have better tomorrows by making smarter choices today.

Marlana Lewis
Chair, Waynesboro DC
Director of Communications, 6th District
Secretary, VADC

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FROM THE HOMEFRONT---CNN talks about blogs

CNN just announced the new breed of journalists - bloggers, and said that if you don't know what a blog is, you'd better get with it. According to CNN, bloggers are crazy, kookie kids with their own ideas and views who send them out over the Internet. Now, that should make it clear to everyone what a blogger is. Bloggers might be crazy or kookie and are certainly people with their own ideas and views, and absolutely are people comfortable with the Internet. However, we're not all kids.
Just ask my kids!

Marlana Lewis
Director of Communications, 6th District
Secretary, VADC

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We Are Together

The 2004 campaign will be remembered as the time when Democrats of all persuasions, Independents, Greens, and even many Republicans joined to change the direction our nation was headed. The decision of who is to be the Democratic candidate has been made. We are together now, focused on electing Kerry and Edwards so they can lead by rational pragmatism in America and restore our relations with the rest of the world.

This year's Democratic Convention serves as a symbolic gathering, a celebration, expressing a unified voice to America and the world, a voice that says we are united in the cause of electing a new President. We have been through the Democratic primaries, one of the most energizing and involving in our Nations history. New activists were engaged in the process, revolutionary methods for communications and fundraising were developed, and record amounts of money were raised.

The campaigns of the various candidates expressed the hopes, aspirations, and methods of the different segments of the American populace. People saw what happened to our country when they weren't engaged and vowed more diligence and future participation in our Democracy. New forms of grassroots organizations developed such as Meetups which were less formal than the regular Democratic Party meetings. Large numbers were trained to better understand the political process. Many of those engaged in the Meetups went on to become members and officers of their local Democratic Committees - further strengthening the grassroots organizations of the traditional Democratic Party.

The primaries saw widespread development and use (or degrees of use) of new forms of communications such as email, websites, and weblogs. These communications enabled more rapid, cheaper, and more pervasive political communications than at anytime in history. Weblogs - such as Documenting Democracy truly are the closest the world has ever come to a "free press". Each day many new websites for every constituency come "online". Political involvement and dialogue has exploded on the internet as people discussed the issues and events, researched and analyzed the candidate's positions; with a comprehensiveness and depth that would have been unimaginable a few decades ago.

One of the most exciting and far-reaching developments was online fundraising. This led to record amounts of contributions coming from many more citizens than have ever been involved in the financial aspects of campaigns. Five and ten dollar donations from hundreds of contributors equaled the power of the "big money" interests of the past. Candidates could tailor their messages to these broad based coalitions of common citizens instead of focusing on those with more specific interests.

With the advent of the internet, digital cameras, and the skilled writers throughout our country sites like Documenting Democracy and the 6th District Committee began appearing across our nation. A common citizen (or a small group of them) with a digital camera, a measure of writing skill, and a little initiative could highlight activities they were involved with and "publish" it for all the world to appreciate.

Now any rally, any Meetup, any debate, any picnic could be "covered" by those with new and fresh perspectives - often with a partisan, engaged point of view. People could see their relatives, friends, and neighbors participating in the political process of our nation. More participation will make it easier to elect more representative leaders that will effectively legislate on our behalf. And during the political process, they will know they are better supported and make their legislative decisions accordingly.

Congratulations to Aaron Mahler for creating this new forum for involvement, to Laura Bland for promoting the site and involving the State Democratic Party, and to those who contribute (Aaron, Laura, Marlana, Rick, Hamlin, Ron, with more to come) for their participation in Documenting Democracy in the Commonwealth.

Wally Blair
Vice-Chair Lynchburg Democratic Committee
Member 6th District Democratic Committee

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Thoughts from Delegation Members: John Flannery

Note: Submitted by John Flannery as a comment. I've just moved it up as full post and hope John has time to write more marvelous pieces like this during the week. Thank you so much, John!

We've come to beantown with our Summer Youth Hostel Program intact. We think this is hardly an exaggeration. We are a traveling band and glad of it.

We have our own two daughters, Diana and Alexandra. But we also have two young ladies from Northern Ireland, Carly and Elaine, one Catholic and one Protestant.

While our Irish charges are too polite to express the opinion themselves, it strikes me as passing strange that we are mimicking the conditions that existed in Ulster before the Good Friday accords in marvelous Boston town.

Put another way, how can anyone say that Bush has won the war on terrorism - as he does repeatedly - when you consider the bittersweet conjunction of the movable party that is our democratic convention with the armed forces of state and muncipal and military police, the gates, cages, credentials and physical restraints throughout this glorious city, and not only on land but also in the skies above, meaning the blimps and helicopters that hover wherever you look.

If there was ever a palpable political immersion in what's gone wrong in America during the Bush years, it is what we must endure to go about our business and our fun in this fair city.

Regime change is more than a metaphor or political slogan in these trying times. It is a necessity for this nation who has lost its way in Bush's new world.

That's what makes the conversations with family and friends from across the Commonwealth and from other delegations across the nation so rich - to hear the resolve inflected in the many different ways we look at this convention.

And then it's just good to see old friends.

John and Holly Flannery,
and Holly's "Angels"
(Diana, Alexandra, Carly and Elaine)
Ithaca Manor
38469 Triticum Lane
Lovettsville, Va 20180
JonFlan@aol.com, Precious14me2@aol.com

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It's All About the Credentials...

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Monday Morning- Credentials - July 26, 2004 - High Quality Photos (slower)

Monday Morning - Credentials - July 26, 2004 - Medium Quality Photos (faster)

Credentials. Delegate Credentials. Guest Credentials. VIP Credentials. Press Credentials.

It's the Democratic National Convention and, trust me, it is ALL about the credentials.

Credentials are more than a large, colorful card with mysterious squiggly lines, holograms and an iradescent sheen. They are the golden pass that gets you within sight of the Fleet Center. If getting near the place is sea level, then getting on the convention floor itself is Mount Everest by comparison. Obviously the delegates are there, but they did the hard work (often years of involvement in the party and a campaign all its own at the state level) to climb that mountain and arrive here in Boston.

Beyond the delegates who are the heart of the event are the press, dignitaries, invited guests, staff, etc. Levels of access there vary wildly. Another thing one must understand is that, outside of delegates and other key members, access for others is done in a lottery form on a day by day basis. One of the single most common questions I heard yesterday during the day-long check-in process was "How do I get (insert person here) onto the floor?". Some ask with obvious knowledge and a timidity that indicates they realize the odds are better that their guest will be struck by lightning. Others more unfamiliar with the process approach it as if there is a bin full of spare credentials up for grabs. The answer is always the same and drives the point home pretty quickly: "Fill out this green sheet, turn it in before 11 PM and you'll find out during the lottery tomorrow at breakfast."

There are a lot of factors here, not the least of which is the massive security involved. Beyond that, though, is the fact that the demand for being a part of this amazing event vastly outstrips the space, resources and ability to manage the herd. Just keeping track of Virginia's medium-sized delegation is a task that leaves me speechless much of the time in my role as camera-toting semi-bystander.

I'm leaving out a million details here, of course, and being overly simplistic in my description, but you get the gist. What I will add, though, is that the brunt of this crushing demand for access falls most heavily on the small contingent of staff within the state parties that dole out the very limited passes that are doled out from on high by the DNC itself. The available passes are even more limited now than we had thought would be the case before arriving.

I watched two guests within our delegation this morning win the daily lottery by random drawing, an event we'll see each morning for the next three days. Don't let all of this sound like negativity, though... the sheer number of events happening ranging from meetings to parties all hours of the day and night make this the most exciting place to be in the country right now. Just being here in any capacity is amazing, so access to the main event is best described as sweet, sweet icing on an already delicious cake. ;)

Posted by amahler at 12:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

From The Chair

It's 12:30 a.m. and we've just gotten back from a GREAT opening session. The excitement in the Fleet Center was as high as you see on nomination night. The speeches and messages were great.

Did you hear Al Gore? If he would have given that speech four years ago he would have won! (Oops! He did win. Sorry). Jimmy Carter made the case for the moral base of our party's programs, and there is no more credible spokesman for us on that issue. John Kerry's boat mate? He was dynamite, and did he ever rev up the crowd.

Our introducers are better than their speakers. Just ask 5,000 screaming delegates what they thought of Sen. Hilary Rodham Clinton's introduction of her husband and the case she laid out for supporting John Kerry and John Edwards. She showed why she is a star and a senator of great substance and thought. Incredible!

President Clinton - what a knockout speech! Like Clarence Darrow, he laid out the weaknesses in the Bush presidency, then using facts, not rhetoric, let their own acts make the case against them. Then he administered the knockout blow. In a clear and concise brief, he built the case for Kerry/Edwards and the Democrats, then ended on an emotional high and feeling of hope for all of us. He was fantastic.
I wish you could have been in the Center to hear and feel the spirit of our Virginia delegates as speaker after speaker made the case for the Democrats. If you thought it was good on TV, it was much more moving in person. Everyone walked out tonight with their spirits renewed and their dedication to election of John and John doubled. Incredible, and it was only the first night.

Stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you can be in Norfolk tomorrow, BE THERE! See and hear the next President of the United States.


Posted by laura at 12:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Wonder what they're doing now?
As I sit here today reading our blog, my memories travel back to that day in May at the 6th District Convention when I met Aaron. I asked him if he'd mind taking pictures as I wrote. Glad to help, Aaron kept shooting his camera as I grabbed Delegates to get their opinions.

How fondly I remember that first night at the State Convention in Roanoke as Aaron and I made our way from one crowded party to another. I talked with candidates, delegates, friends, and other partygoers, putting to memory what I saw and heard. Aaron kept his camera going at a ferocious speed. One party was so crowded that I couldn't find a way out. Aaron yelled to me, "This way," and pointed to a door--- a door to slatted metal stairs. "Oh no," I thought, "Not in these heels, I'm not." However, there was no turning back, so down we journeyed.

As we went down, we ran into Jeanne and John Fishwick and chatted briefly. It seems Aaron and I spent a great deal of time squeezed in elevators. As midnight came near, Aaron and I sat back on the leather sofas in the hotel's lobby. We were both exhausted and exhilarated. I imagine that's what all my friends at the National Convention are feeling right now.

I laugh as I think back to the 6th District convention in May. I was scurrying around to get comments from our newly elected Delegates to Boston for our 6th District Website. This is what our delegates had to say then: Jeanne Fishwick of Roanoke stated, "It has been a lifelong dream of mine to go to the National Convention. I'm eager to start the movement to defeat George Bush." Warren Campbell, also from Roanoke, is "committed to putting Kerry in the White House. John Kerry will do the right things both for the United States and for the world. He'll bring back respect for the US." Dorothy Blackwell, of Lexington, said she was a believer in Senator Kerry from the beginning of his campaign. When he was down in the polls, she went to work for his campaign. She stated, "I want to go to Boston to cast a vote for our next President, John Kerry." Tim Gibson, of Troutville, who worked on John Edwards campaign, has four young daughters and worries about the present state of affairs, said, "Under the Clinton Administration, we had a $236 billion surplus. Under this administration we have a debt that as of February was $478 billion, and just keeps climbing." Gibson was in the Service and is concerned about the war "and friends in the service. This election is personal."

Over the weekend, our Elector, Ron Telsch, wrote about his trip to Hawaii where he'll be attending a Convention meetup. "Wow," I thought, "What a great opportunity to hear about THAT meetup!"

In June at the State Convention, I talked more with these Delegates about their desires in going to Boston. As Laura and I talked of the upcoming Convention, Aaron kept taking pictures. When I paused to talk with Ruth Anne and Wally, Aaron took pictures. Even as we joined David Layman for a bite to eat, (and I looked the worse for wear), Aaron kept taking pictures. And at subsequent meetings while I spoke with Lindsey, Rick Coplan, and dozens of others, Aaron kept taking pictures, as he does now.

I'm anxious to hear what each of these Delegates and others have to say about their experiences in Boston. Was it what they expected? What didn't they expect? What was most enjoyable? What was least? Are they glad they went? Would they do it again? Check out the 6th District Website next month and find out.
In the meantime, GO TEAM!

Marlana Lewis

Chair, Waynesboro DC
Director of Communications, 6th District
Secretary, VADC

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Larry Framme's Fleet Center Walkthough

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Sunday Fleet Center Walkthrough - July 25, 2004 - High Quality Photos (slower)

Sunday Fleet Center Walkthrough - July 25, 2004 - Medium Quality Photos (faster)

Larry Framme, Kerry Donley and Lindsey Reynolds did a walk-through yesterday with the other chairs of the state parties in preparation for the first big night. Larry took my spare digital camera and shot some photos for us to give a preview of the area.

The Virginia delegation is seated just behind and slightly above Arkanas in the left corner (as seen from the podium). We're looking right out over CNN's desk with Wolf Blitzer, Judy Woodruff and Jeff Greenfield.

Note: In Larry's defense here, I want to warn folks that the camera accidentally had a custom white balance setting from a previous project of mine and it tinted the photos somewhat blue. I've tried to correct the color balance as best I could, but the color issues are entirely my fault and I've made sure it's fixed for future users of this camera in our group.

Posted by amahler at 11:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"The plastic sleeves are in the bag..."

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Monday Breakfast - July 26, 2004 - High Quality Photos (slower)

Monday Breakfast - July 26, 2004 - Medium Quality Photos (faster)

There's nothing like taking photos in a chaotic environment when you're running on three hours of sleep. It's also hard to really feel tired when things are this exciting.

The Virginia Delegation had their first convention breakfast this morning and it was most likely the first time we've had everyone together at one time since their arrival. Amid the clatter of teacups and plates was a live greeting by Al Gore by video feed. The morning feed is timed to be viewed by all of the delegations throughout the city to set the theme and mood for the day's events.

Our celebrity speaker this morning was Fred Willard from the Tonight Show along with their camera crew. His greetings were as funny as they were politically incorrect and, from what I hear, you can see some or all of it with Jay Leno Wednesday night. Access Hollywood caught him in the foyer outside the conference room as well and I've added a few photos at the end of this morning's shots to share that.

The excitement in the delegation is intense and the word you hear the most is "credentials" followed shortly thereafter by "the plastic sleeve is in the bag", referring to the holder for the crendential card you hang around your neck with a colorful lanyard.

We're doing our best to keep the blog rolling as close to realtime as possible. It's hard to express how much is happening here. At any given moment you're likely to literally bump into a huge name from the Democratic Party, famous press personalities, a celebrity... you name it. The staff room is controlled chaos depending on the time of day and the time around breakfast is insane with the feeding frenzy associated with convention credentials.

I've taken two hours writing this little piece since the interruptions happen several times per sentence. I hope this is coherent... and give us a little leeway on the captions for the meantime. Laura and I have done several press interviews this morning about the blog (she's doing one for NBC print as I write this). Keep an eye out for more anecdotes and writeups from members of the staff, the delegation and other guests. We're awaiting several right now and will post them as soon as we can.

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Delegation Welcoming Party - Hyde Park Library

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Sunday Evening - July 25, 2004 - High Quality Photos (slower)

Sunday Evening - July 25, 2004 - Medium Quality Photos (faster)

The Virginia Delegation kicked off their arrival in Boston today with a formal welcoming event at Hyde Park Library. A bus from Hotel Commonwealth made it's way through the area with colorful narration from the driver. Upon arrival, members were greated by historic reenactors, a short singing and dance performance as well as wonderful food and music.

The photos from the event are available here and we hope to slip the captions in mid-morning tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures!

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Carefully Controlled Chaos

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Sunday Afternoon - July 25, 2004 - High Quality Photos (slower)

Sunday Afternoon - July 25, 2004 - Medium Quality Photos (faster)

Delegates settled into serious pre-convention party mode Sunday afternoon. Aaron, Elisabeth and I walked from the Hotel Commonwealth to the St. George gallery on Newberry Street for the welcome party hosted by Susan Turnbull and Mame Reiley for the Maryland and Virginia delegations.

I'm hoping that two of our national pages, Betthany Rowland and Ben Easter, will post an entry sometime Monday about their meeting with Bill Clinton--their reaction to meeting the former President made our day here in the staff room for the delegation.

Aaron and Elisabeth traveled by bus with many Virginia delegates to the official delegation party at the Hyde Park library. Several members went on to a Boston Pops concert, while others scored tickets to the Boston Red Sox game where John Kerry surprised everyone with a visit. A very, very busy day, with so many delegation members arriving and getting ready for the kickoff of convention week at our first delegation breakfast.

Tomorrow, the serious madness begins ...

Posted by laura at 12:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 25, 2004

Let the Games Begin...

Delegates are rolling in at a rapid pace and the staff room is becoming our war room of sorts. We're heading out to Mame Reiley's welcome party for the Maryland and Virginia delegations at the St. George Gallery on Newbury Street. Larry Framme is snagging some photos for us from the floor of the Fleet Center using my other camera during his walk-through (look for those later tonight). Our time between Mame's event and tonight's delegation dinner at the Hyde Park Library is still a mystery to me, but rest assured there will be photos.

Back to the blog later as time permits...

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Party On, Nebraska (And Virginia)

Virginia's not-so-secret party with Nebraska and other state party staffs was mentioned in the Sunday edition of the Boston Globe.

Democratic Party of Virginia Executive Director Lindsey Reynolds planned the get-together with Barry Rubin, ED of the Nebraska Dems. It's something of a mystery how the shindig, dubbed "The Black Ball at the Black Rose," managed to become the hottest party in town. Not to mention how it ended up in the Globe!

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Schedule Of Kerry Surrogates For Virginia Delegation Breakfasts

Larry just gave us the schedule for Kerry surrogates attending Virginia's morning delegation breakfasts.

California Congresswoman Juanita Millander-McDonald

Vanessa Kerry
New York Congressman Greg Meeks

Former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland

Andre Heinz

More surrogates may be added as the convention week goes on; check here for latest updates.

Posted by laura at 12:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Waking Up In Boston

By Larry Framme
Chairman, Kerry For President-Virginia

It's a great day in Boston - and the weather is beautiful too!

What could be better than waking up the morning in Boston to a clear sky and scores of enthusiastic Virginia Democrats here in our headquarters hotel?

All the omens are good. Our hotel is just over the centerfield fence from Fenway Park, and the cherished Red Sox beat the hated Yankees last night. Last night some of our delegation members observed the time-honored tradition of crashing some "exclusive" convention parties and seeing how several millions of the convention sponsors' dollars were spent. It is going to be a GREAT convention.

Almost as good as the weather are the reports from our Kerry staff in Norfolk that preparations for JK's visit there on Tuesday are incredible. Later today many Hampton Roads Dems will gather to prepare signs and decorations for the event. I think JK and the hordes of traveling national press with him will see Norfolk at its best. Think of it - former Navy hero and boat skipper John Kerry talking about his commitment to national defense and a coherent policy in Iraq at Nauticus in the shadow of the mighty battleship USS Wisconsin.

If you are not in Boston Tuesday, you have to be in Norfolk. Who could believe just a few months ago that Virginia would get such attention from the Democratic nominee! Thanks to the great support Virginia gave John Kerry and John Edwards at our last three Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinners, at campaign stops around Virginia and, particularly, in our Democratic primary, both JK and JE have developed a special place in their hearts for our Commonwealth. It is wonderful to hear the Republican spokesman continue to say that Virginia is solid GOP and that they are not planning on spending much effort here. I hope they continue that line, because come November 2, Virginia will have a BIG surprise for them.

Ok, time to go back downstairs to the Boston version of DPV headquarters to see more of our outstanding delegation arrive today. Look forward to keeping you up to date on one fantastic convention this week. GO KERRY EDWARDS!!

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"If you dislike Bush, are you really anti-American?"

Our long, hot summer of politics has been brought to a boil, it seems, by several events, not the least of which is the Michael Moore film, "Fahrenheit 9/11." As temperatures rise outside and air conditioners run most of the day, there's no cooling in sight for the bitter political divisions that define us in 2004.

In Lynchburg, people are fairly stunned that "Fahrenheit 9/11" is actually playing in town. Nobody expected it to show here. Such is life in a town that has long existed under the oppressive shadow of the Rev. Jerry Falwell. But when a movie has made $30 million in its first three weeks, that's a capitalist reality that gives any theater owner the guts to defy even the Pope of Thomas Road.

The Lynchburg newspaper story that announced the movie included a quote from an 18-year-old. He said he would not see the movie because it was "anti-American." He lamented that it "does not support the president." I read a column in another paper by a Christian minister who also deeply deplored Moore's movie and said that he thought Moore should find another country in which to live, because he was "unpatriotic." The popular refrain about Moore that we now hear from the right is that he "hates America."

Now, let me make sure I've got this straight. If you think our country can do better than George W. Bush, and if you think the war in Iraq is wrong and made no sense from the beginning, and you make a popular film about it, well, clearly, you're someone who hates his country, right? My question is this: How do human minds reach such simplistic and wrong-headed conclusions? What about those of us who have seen Moore's film and consider it brilliant? Do we hate our country, too? Are we anti-American?

We hear a lot about our bitter political divisions. But what I'm seeing across America is that those of us who have been on the receiving end of this bitterness for so long are finally starting to fight back. Guess what? Many conservatives - who were so good at dishing it out during the Clinton years - are proving that they can't take it when they are the target.

Moore's films and books, Al Franken's books, the new liberal radio talk network, the collection of books that have documented Bush's distortions and lies - all of these are evidence that, all over America, liberals are fighting back. We're tired of being defined by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, and we won't stand for it anymore.

Conservatives are whining that we're "Bush haters" and "Bush-bashers." Yet they forget the energy they put into hating and bashing Bill Clinton for eight years. Their hypocrisy is stunning. The Religious Right - the "Christian conservatives" who have practically taken over the national (and the Virginia) Republican party - has added a whole new dimension to all this. They don't see conservatism as just another political view; they see it as The Truth Revealed From God Himself. They're treating the political arena like it was a pulpit.

They take the rantings of a Limbaugh and the polemics of an Ann Coulter and give them heavenly sanctification. This allows one of their disciples, Cal Thomas, to write a column approving of Dick Cheney's use of the "F" word on the Senate floor, but then they turn around and bemoan the fact that some celebrities in New York said nasty things about Bush. Again, the stench of hypocrisy is evident.

I don't remember this sort of division during the Reagan years. Liberals didn't hate him, and he didn't hate us. But after his two terms, Limbaugh and the whole radio crowd came along, and conservatives started acting as if they were born to rule. The genial Reagan's example of civility was rejected, as Limbaugh made it clear that hatred, contempt and dismissal would be the new approach toward those who hadn't been struck, like Saul on the road to Damascus, by the revealing light of God's own conservatism.

So, they started it, and now we're "anti-American" if we fight back. So be it. The wave of anti-Bush books and films, not to mention the great energy at the grass roots of this country to beat him, is testament to the fact that many Americans have had it with conservative self-righteousness. Summer won't cool down for a while, but in November, I think the air will be downright refreshing, because those who started the arguments may find themselves out of power, our of favor, and left with nothing but their hypocrisy and their radio shows.

Rick Howell, a Bedford native, is chairman of the Amherst County Democratic Committee. He can be reached via e-mail at NewCenHowell@aol.com. This was published first in the Bedford Bulletin.

Posted by rickhowell at 10:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

A Tale of Food, Fun and Ferris Wheels (indoors, nonetheless)

Select photos by your connection speed:

Saturday Night - July 24, 2004 - High Quality Photos (slower)

Saturday Night - July 24, 2004 - Medium Quality Photos (faster)

The DPV staff had dinner tonight with the staff of the Nebraska Democratic Party before splitting up to head to various pre-convention activities. Laura Bland had an invitation to the coveted Momentum Media Party and took the two of us as her guests.

After a supersonic cab ride through Boston to the wrong convention center, we did a brain crushing U-turn and made our way to the newly opened Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. The architecture is amazing and the sheer dimensions of this facility are pretty staggering. Quite a few thousand members of the media and other invitees were milling about enjoying some fantastic, creative food and live entertainment.

The layout of the event was impressive. The lights were low and canopies with an array of modern furniture and carpets were spread throughout so partygoers could relax, eat, and socialize. In the back of the massive main floor was a working ferris wheel, the first one I think I've ever seen in operation indoors. In the center were numerous islands where Boston area chefs were laying out an impressive and very creative spread. Dominating the front of the room was a large stage where we got to see Little Richard doing Blueberry Hill along with several other signature songs.

The party was fun, but we're all pretty beat and still have some T rides to make tonight before it's all said and done. The convention starts to really get underway tomorrow as the delegation arrives in full along with Governor Warner. We have meetings, parties, and other events tomorrow, so look for the number of voices here on the blog to increase as we head into Monday and the real fun begins.

Posted by amahler at 12:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Momentum And McAuliffe

This is my first entry since arriving in Boston, and who knows where to begin. Boston is amazing. As one of our many cab drivers of the day said, "You'll never be more safe than right now."

The flight from Newport News went smoothly, and I was glad to be traveling with rather seasoned national convention goers Marjorie Clark, Abbi Easter and Lynne Cooper. Abbi's son, Ben, a national convention page, was also on the plane, as was Claire Ward, a delegate, and Peter Feddo of the Virginia Young Dems.

We spent a fair amount of time in the staff room, getting ready for the onslaught of delegates in the morning. Lindsey arranged for the staffs of the Virginia and Nebraska state parties to have dinner at a restaurant overlooking Boston Harbor. One big dilemma: Whether to go to the big media party, appropriately named Momentum, at the brand new Boston convention center. I had RSVPd, but we weren't sure Aaron and Elisabeth would be able to get in as well.

We decided to chance it, and ended up making it in without any problems. The hall was decorated with festive lights and tents, a working Ferris wheel, and tables laden with everything from smoked Vidalia onion grits to fountains flowing with chocolate.

Highlight of the party: Stumbling across Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who was in a gaggle of reporters and supporters in the middle of the room.

Ok, I'll admit it: I love Terry McAuliffe. He is my hero.

Posted by laura at 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 24, 2004

From Sea To Shining Sea: Through An Elector's Eyes

By Ron Telsch

While the party and parties gather in Boston for the National Convention, I am preparing to leave for Hawaii. It is so far away from home here in Virginia and yet throughout our nation our community of like-minded friends is large and welcoming. Just this afternoon, we arranged to attend the Kerry House Party in Honolulu to watch John Kerry's acceptance speech "live" on Thursday afternoon sitting in a room full of fellow Democrats. Not Thursday evening, but the afternoon - it really is far from home.

On December 13th I will have the honor to cast an electoral vote on behalf of the people of the 6th District of Virginia, several hundred-thousand of them. The Constitution of the United States says we must vote on that day this year. In fact, it says very little else about the whole process of electing the President through the peoples' electors. We are not even required by the Constitution to vote a particular way, though those of you who attended our District Convention all heard Delegate Woodrum say he would affect my demise if I voted contrary to the Democratic Party (I will not forget Chip).

As the days continue to march toward the popular election in November I am confident that the excitement and momentum of this election year can do nothing but increase, and at times exponentially I am sure. There is nothing inherently wrong with people choosing their representatives in our democracy. And it seems very apropos that we do it with enthusiasm and happiness - after all, we are a social species. But it does seem to me that we could all be more accepting of others who happen to choose differently. Mine is a fundamentally simple philosophy toward life: the only "ism" we should strive for is humanism. As I prepare to vote in this election, I wish to be guided by those who are diplomatic rather than dilettante, kind rather than harsh, and deliberative rather than accusatory. Very few good decisions are made when people are shouting at each other.

When I return from the other side of America, I too will be active in this year's campaign. I spoke at the 6th Congressional District meeting on Tuesday night and invited the City/County chairs to contact me if they thought their Elector can help in some local activity (phone bank, Meet-up, et cetera.) The election is still several months from now, but December 13th is the final deadline. Ready or not, we need to secure the popular vote first in November.

To our fellow Virginians in Boston I am with you in spirit. I'll be joining hands and shouting for joy with you on Thursday because we will be stepping closer to providing our country with the leadership we need, for all of us, regardless our party inclinations. Change is coming to America, and I want that to be positive and fulfilling, and with a unity we can share with the world.

I've had a sign hanging on my office wall for twenty-five years, and all it says is, "Do Things Right." There is also a print of the signing of the Constitution, one of Betsy Ross sewing our nation's flag, and another of George Washington enjoying a peaceful moment at Mount Vernon. May we all find that peace, again. I for one believe we can by electing John Kerry. In my opinion, voting for Kerry is doing things right, because he will do right things.

Ron Telsch is from Lexington.

Posted by laura at 11:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Calm Before the Storm

Select photos by your connection speed:

Saturday Afternoon - July 24, 2004 - High Quality Photos (slower)

Saturday Afternoon - July 24, 2004 - Medium Quality Photos (faster)

After a late night roaming around the city, we took the opportunity this morning to sleep in a little for the last time this week. It's going to be about 6 AM from here on out and likely the wee hours before our heads hit the pillows.

After a quick spin through the Harvard Coop, we headed for the Hotel Commonwealth to hook up with Laura Bland and the rest of the DPV staff. Laura broke recent tradition by having a flight that arrived on time (if not ahead of schedule) and we had our first cell-phone chat of the day as she queued up in the Logan Airport taxi stand. About 30 minutes later, she showed up in the lobby with fellow staff member Adisa Muse (seen here with his nifty souvenir found during his crosstown journey for a haircut).

Since then we've been running around the hotel to get our bearings for the coming days (been doing a lot of that lately), getting the latest news and schedules from other staff members and helping with preparation of packets for delegates, etc.

We've got quite a police presence in the area, as do all of the delegation hotels from what I've been reading. It's the first time I've seen eleven police motorcycles all parked side by side without there being a motorcade.

At the moment, Adisa is getting extensive hole punch training. It might not make good copy for the blog, but it's monumentally entertaining to watch...

Dinner soon... more entries later (with photos). :)

Posted by amahler at 05:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Pre-Convention Nighttime Stroll In Boston

Select photos by your connection speed:

Friday Night - July 23, 2004 - High Quality Photos (slower)

Friday Night - July 23, 2004 - Medium Quality Photos (faster)

Elisabeth and I spent much of the beginning of our first full day in Boston relaxing and getting situated. The next few days are going to be non-stop activity and our flight up here was a joy to behold (sarcasm alert). She and I both have always loved Boston and have been itching to get back up here for a few years. Going to the DNC is incredible... having it in Boston is the icing on the cake for the two of us.

This evening we headed out to get our bearings for the coming days and, more importantly, to hit a few of our favorite spots. I took my camera along and captured a few scenes to share some of the mood and flavor of Boston in the pre-convention days.

This is definitely a Kerry/Edwards town. I don't think I've seen a single BC'04 sticker or sign anywhere. On the other hand, I've lost count of the sheer number of Kerry/Edwards signs, stickers and buttons I've seen on cars, in shop windows or on people's clothing. Plenty of folks were also out tonight expressing their distaste for the current admin in their own little ways (see the photos).

From the delegation hotel, we took the green line to Government Center just in time to hit the 8PM inauguration of the new travel guidelines for convention week. Our train terminated there, several stops shy of the normal end of the green line. While others got new transfers to shuttles outside, we were close enough to the North End to do the rest on foot as night was beginning to fall.

I took a moment to snag a couple of shots of the Fleet Center as we made our way to Hanover Street with dessert on our minds. While Elisabeth enjoyed some fried calimari from a vendor in a street festival, I took a moment to take some pictures of a Compagna T-Rex parked outside of a restaurant. Shortly thereafter its supposed owner came out and drove off with a roar that seems to support the website's claim of 0-60 in 4.1 seconds.

Our last stop was Mike's Pastry for some cannoli and whatever else looked tasty and dietarily suicidal. The place was a zoo which, I imagine, is no shock on a Friday night. The Kerry/Edwards signs in their windows spoke to the owners' Democratic ties, as did the photo of Bill Clinton inside that I've seen on past visits. Word has it he doesn't come to Boston without stopping in for a Cannoli. I don't blame him one bit... I ate mine while perusing tonight's photos for this entry.

Laura is due to arrive tomorrow and we'll start hooking up with the DPV staff at the hotel. For the next few hours, though, I plan to follow Elisabeth's lead and zonk off for what is left of the night... :)

Posted by amahler at 01:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 23, 2004

Details on Kerry's Upcoming Norfolk Rally

The last day of John Kerry's "Blazing America's Freedom Trail" tour includes a rally in Norfolk this coming Tuesday, July 27th.

The fact that this event is happening here just two days before he accepts the party's nomination in Boston at the DNC hammers home Virginia's battleground status in the presidential campaign. The Norfolk audience is one that well understands Kerry's strong military record and should relate well to the campaign's theme: A Stronger America, Respected in The World.

The precise time of the morning event is yet to be announced, but the location and ticket information is listed below:


Hampton Roads Naval Museum
One Waterside Drive
Norfolk, VA

Beginning Friday morning, tickets will be available for pickup at distribution centers located:

A.J. Gators
7515 Granby Street
Norfolk VA
10 a.m. until 4 p.m.  Sat. - Mon.

Paddy O'Brian's
612 Court Street
10 a.m. until 4 p.m.  Sat. - Mon.

Virginia Beach:
Ashe for Congress
2697 International Parkway
Building One
Suite 203
Virginia Beach
11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
9 a.m. until 8 p.m.  Monday

Newport News:
Scott for Congress
2015 25th Street
Newport News
10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
9 a.m. until 8 p.m.  Monday

Posted by amahler at 05:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

MeetUps, Part 2

More than 150 people at Dan Redwood's regional Kerry For President MeetUp in Norfolk last night ... more than 80 in Roanoke. Excellent turnout--and it's only July! Congrats to all of our MeetUp hosts across Virginia.

Posted by laura at 02:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Better Late Than Never... (and all about the tech gear)

Elisabeth and I are - FINALLY - in Boston. It's almost 2 AM and I'm sitting on the bed posting the blog entry I thought would never see the light of day.

We arrived at Dulles Airport at about 3:30 PM for a 5:30 PM flight that should have arrived in Boston at 7 PM. First it moved to 5:45, then 6-something, then sometime after 7 PM. Then 9:30 PM. Then 10:30 PM. At one point we lined up at the gate ready to roll only to be told they had made a mistake - off to another gate. We got there and were told they needed a new flight attendant. So we sat... and griped... and developed those fleeting, sarcasm-laden friendships based on mutual frustration with people we'll never see again for the rest of our lives.

At about 11:45 PM, we finally took off for Boston. We staggered into our accomodations around 1:30 AM after a pleasant cab ride that I'd have taken from DC had I been given the option earlier today.

Here is the enormous, geeky entry I wrote earlier in Dulles but was never able to post since I couldn't find any (expletive) wireless access:

----- Dulles Airport - 10 hours earlier -----

Elisabeth and I are now sitting in Dulles airport awaiting our very delayed plane to Boston. Departure time now has moved beyond the original arrival time in Boston. Independence Air seems super cool with a nice, geeky touch-screen check-in at the terminal entrace. It's been lickety-split from getting out of the car (after a 3 hour drive) to being seated at our gate... but air-traffic control snarls and weather have things backing up rapidly. Such is life.

I was eager to have some sit-down time here to check news and post this blog entry, but I'm having to write offline due to a lack of wireless net access in the terminal. No free access, anyway. I ran around using the laptop like a digital divining rod in search of a signal, but found precisely squat. I caught up with Laura and a few other friends via AIM on my Treo, though, and heard that the police union dispute was settled at 4 PM today. I don't know any details right now, but I put that in the positive category thus far.

We got packed pretty smoothly this morning and haven't yet had any "oh crap" moments from realizing we forgot something. If weight is any indication, though, I imagine we're fine. I'm walking around looking like I'm heading for Mt. Everest without a team of Sherpas. I carry on all of my precious electronic gear and never check it with my luggage. Arriving without pants and a toothbrush I can tolerate. Arriving with a broken or missing laptop (15" and 17" Powerbooks), GPS, Wacom tablet, firewire drive, power adpter, camera or about fifty other doodads must be avoided at all costs.

I gave Elisabeth my camera backpack since it was the lightest of the two bags. Being the lightest of the two doesn't say much, though, and the effects on her petite frame were communicated to me through an array of facial expressions that I would associate more with childbirth. In an attempt to redeem myself, though, I went on a Starbucks quest that had me walking about halfway back to Lynchburg. She just zonked off next to me in the chair. I continue to envy her ability to sleep upright in public places.

Speaking of gear, I'll take this time to cover a little of what I'm using and what our predicted workflow will be in Boston. Those with an aversion to technobabble should fear for their lives in the following paragraphs. I hope the geek crowd, though, will get their questions answered.

Camera-wise, I use a firmware modified Canon 300D that encompasses most of the features of its higher priced big brother, the 10D. This camera uses a 6.3 megapixel CMOS sensor that can take silky smooth shots in the lower and mid ISOs and is still VERY acceptable even at 1600 or 3200 ISO. I also keep a spare Canon Powershot G5 in the bag as a point-and-shoot backup to loan to friends for additional candid shots. For those doubting the power of a consumer-level Powershot, you can peruse my shots from France taken with its simpler predecessor, the G2. I prefer and will rely on my digital SLR in Boston, of course, but encourage people to realize how much you can achieve with a "consumer" digital camera.

For low-light situations, I use a Canon Speedlite 420EX but use it predominantly handheld for flexibility. It is triggered wirelessly by a Canon ST-E2 mounted on the hotshoe. Canon's E-TTL wireless control is really amazing and essentially functions with all of the exposure capabilities of the flash being hot-shoe mounted. I have a Kirk Enterprises macro bracket that converts into numerous wicked shapes and can serve as a flash bracket when neeeded.

I will possibly supplement my lens slection in Boston by renting one or more L-class lenses once I have a sense of my situational needs. Depending on my floor time during the convention, distance from the podium, etc., I will rent an extended telephoto with built in image stabalization. I also might pick up an L-class wide zoom as well. These are decisions I can make, though, in the coming days after I get to see our environment firsthand.

Rentals aside, I'm carrying a 28-80mm f3.5 zoom, an approximately 80-320mm f3.5-f4.5 telephoto zoom with ultrasonic motors (USM), and a 45-215mm f3.5-f4.5 zoom with USM and gyroscopic image stabilizers (IS). I'm approximating the measurements here since the 300D (and its bretheren) have about a 1.6x multiplier on their focal lengths due to the sensor being somewhat smaller than a normal 35 mm frame.

As for storage, I prefer to have an array of medium to small CF cards rather than to put all of my eggs in one basket with bigger. Nothing bothers me more than the thought of taking hundreds of shots and having it all swirl the bowl due to a media failure. On that note, I'm carrying two 1 GB SanDisk Ultra-II CF's, one 512 MB CF, two 256 MB CF's and two 128 MB CF's. This works out to around 1,000 shots at the highest quality or about a third less if I'm shooting RAW images before needing to unload the media. I doubt I'll be shooting anywhere near that many between card dumps and image processing.

On the computer side, I'm carrying two laptops, only one of which I'll be using most of the time. The other laptop is for Elisabeth to use and doubles as our backup. My primary laptop is a 17" Powerbook with 1 GB RAM and 80 GB hard drive. The second is a 15" Powerbook with 1 GB RAM and a 60 GB hard drive. Both are nearly identically equipped in terms of software which includes iView MediaPro for image sorting and Photoshop CS for editing. I've got my small pressure sensitive drawing tablet with me since you can't go back to a mouse once you're used to that level of control.

Both laptops are wireless capable, so the hotel and Fleet Center are our major connection points for sending finished pieces to the blog. Raw image catalogs and other material will be managed locally on these computers and shared with Laura and others on their systems via a peer-to-peer, ad-hoc wireless network. Catalogs of images in iView are usuable cross-platform between our Macs and others' PC's including all of our choice catalogs being sent back to my servers at home for Wally to pick up.

We're archiving stuff on the fly throughout the trip. The 17" laptop can write both DVDs and CDs and I have spindles of both in the check-in luggage. The 15" laptop can write CDs and we have an 80 GB bus-powered firewire drive with us as well.

This is, more or less, the plan minus most of the mind-numbing details (yes, that was the short version if you can believe it). Plans often crash headlong into reality, of course, but I'm pretty adaptable. We shall see.

Well, our flight just bumped back another hour - enough so that we could have flown there and back again by the time we're now scheduled to be leaving Dulles. Hopefully I'll get to post this once we're in Boston tonight...

Posted by amahler at 01:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 22, 2004

Can't Get There From Here

Aaron is stuck at Dulles airport. He and Elisabeth's 5 p.m. flight to Boston still hasn't taken off, now five hours later. He is without a wireless connection, so it seems he is amusing himself by taking photos in the terminal. Look for first postings from the convention city sometime tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Wally Blair reports that more than 80 people turned out tonight for the Kerry For President MeetUp in Lynchburg. To quote Lindsey Reynolds, "Holy cow, Batman!" There were about 100 of us right in Jack Reid's back yard in Henrico County. Love it! Looking forward to other reports from the MeetUp field.

Update: Aaron, who as the Democratic Party of Virginia's official delegation photographer is considered a member of our staff, is getting ready to board his flight to Boston.

Looks like we are officially on our way to Boston, people!

Posted by laura at 10:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kaine's First Step To Victory

Tim Kaine just announced that he has hired Mike Henry to run his 2005 campaign for Governor.

This is fantastic news, because Mike is a seasoned campaign veteran who understands the Virginia dynamic. In 2001, he was the coordinated campaign director for Mark Warner's successful race for Governor. He worked for the House and Senate Democratic caucuses in '93, '95, and '99.

"I am excited about working for a mainstream, pro-business leader like Tim Kaine," Henry said in a news release from Kaine For Governor. "Lt. Governor Kaine means business when he says he wants to grow the economy in every region of the state, improve our schools, maintain Virginia's reputation for fiscal responsibility and low taxes, and fix our crowded roads and highways."

Welcome to Mike Henry. Tim Kaine rocks!

Posted by laura at 11:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 21, 2004

We've Got the Big Mo

This year, Virginia Democrats have so much good stuff going on - and documenting-democracy.org is exactly the kind of tool we need to keep this going! With the Internet fundraising records set by Democrats this year, and the success of Democrats in putting together grassroots organizations through sites like meetup.com, it's only fitting that Virginia Democrats have one of the only state party "blogs."

We've got a lot of momentum coming up into the convention. We won the top two statewide jobs in 2001. We picked up seats last year in the General Assembly - despite the brutal Republican-led redistricting of 2000. And this year, we showed Wall Street that Virginia Democrats can work across party lines for the greater good of the Commonwealth. We surely had help, but Virginia Democrats showed again this year that we are the party of fiscal responsibility. And the Triple-A bond rating re-affirmation and single biggest investment in education in Virginia history are our record.

Don't be fooled by what others are claiming! Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine was the only other state officeholder on the right side of this fight - with Virginia's schoolteachers, law enforcement officers, business people, and health advocates. Now, we've got the Kerry campaign calling Virginia a new "battleground" state and working hard to help us get even more organized. Something really good is going on here.

Next week, Virginia Democrats can stay "posted" - pun intended - on what's happening in Boston with our blog. So keep an eye on this site for updates, and with your help Virginia will help put John Kerry in the White House in November.

Mark Warner

Posted by markwarner at 12:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another Shameless Virgil Vote

Following the thread of Laura's post on Monday regarding Virgil Goode, Hamlin Caldwell of Charlottesville sent in his thoughts to share with the community:

Virgil Goode Jr. cast one of the only five votes in Congress against the Armed Forces Naturalization Act of 2003.

The essential features of the Act are (1) it eases the requirements for non-citizen servicemen to leave their posts abroad and return to the United States to file for a naturalization application, to be interviewed for the application and to take the oath of citizenship, and (2) permits the immediate families of servicemen, who have been posthumously granted citizenship for death incurred in military service, to self-petition for benefits to which they may be entitled. This seems eminently fair but Virgil Jr. was against it.

There are 37,000 non-citizens now serving in our armed forces. The names of non-citizens have appeared on U.S. casualty lists in disproportionately large numbers in Viet Nam and now are listed weekly in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I am disgusted that Virgil Jr. cast a supremely petty and mean vote to deliberately penalize the kind of brave people who gave part of their youth, their blood and many of their lives in Viet Nam while he sat out that war in the convenient state-side safety of the National Guard. Virgil had no shame when he turned his back on non-citizen U.S. fighting men who give more to our nation than he chose to give himself.

Hamlin A. Caldwell Jr.

Posted by amahler at 11:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Complete DNC Primetime Speakers

We've got the complete primetime speaker lineup for the DNC next week.

The list is quite long, so click below to view everything:

Monday, July 26
The Kerry-Edwards Plan for America's Future

  • David Alston, Vietnam Swift Boat Crewmate of John Ker
  • Tammy Baldwin, U.S. Representative from Wisconsin
  • Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States
  • Bill Clinton, Former President of the United States
  • Hillary Clinton, U. S. Senator from New York
  • Al Gore, Former Vice-President of the United States
  • Steny Hoyer, U.S. Representative from Maryland, Democratic Whip
  • Terry McAuliffe, Chairman of the Democratic Party
  • Kendrick Meek, U.S. Representative from Florida
  • Robert Menendez, U.S. Representative from New Jersey
  • Barbara Mikulski, U.S. Senator from Maryland (joined by all Women Senators)
  • Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, U.S. Representative from Ohio
  • Jim Turner, U.S. Representative from Texas

Tuesday, July 27
A Lifetime of Strength & Service

  • Tom Daschle, U.S. Senator from South Dakota, Democratic Leader
  • Howard Dean, Former Governor of Vermont, 2004 Presidential Candidate
  • Richard Durbin, U.S. Senator from Illinois
  • James Forbes, Senior Minister at Riverside Church, New York City
  • Richard Gephardt, U.S. Representative from Missouri, 2004 Presidential Candidate
  • Chris Heinz, Stepson of John Kerry
  • Teresa Heinz Kerry, Wife of John Kerry
  • Mike Honda, U.S. Representative from California
  • Ted Kennedy, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts
  • Jim Langevin, U.S. Representative from Rhode Island
  • Carol Moseley-Braun, Former U.S. Senator from Illinois, 2004 Presidential Candidate
  • Janet Napolitano, Governor of Arizona
  • Barack Obama, State Senator from Illinois, U.S. Senate Candidate
  • Ron Reagan, Son of former President Ronald Reagan
  • Christie Vilsack, First Lady of Iowa
  • Ilana Wexler, 13-Year-Old Founder of Kids for Kerry

Wednesday, July 28
A Stronger More Secure America

  • Steve Brozak, Ret. Lt. Col., USMC, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New Jersey
  • Elijah Cummings, U.S. Representative from Maryland
  • Cate Edwards, Daughter of John Edwards
  • Elizabeth Edwards, Wife of John Edwards
  • John Edwards, Democratic Vice-Presidential Nominee
  • Bob Graham, U.S. Senator from Florida, 2004 Presidential Candidate
  • Jennifer Granholm, Governor of Michigan
  • Dennis Kucinich, U.S. Representative from Ohio, 2004 Presidential Candidate
  • Greg Meeks, U.S. Representative from New York
  • Martin O'Malley, Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland
  • Harry Reid, U.S. Senator from Nevada
  • Ed Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania
  • Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico
  • Al Sharpton, 2004 Presidential Candidate

Thursday, July 29
Stronger at Home, Respected in the World

  • Madeline Albright, Former Secretary of State
  • Joe Biden, U.S. Senator from Delaware
  • Wesley Clark, Four Star General, 2004 Presidential Candidate
  • Max Cleland, Former U.S. Senator from Georgia
  • James Clyburn, U.S. Representative from South Carolina
  • Alexandra Kerry, Daughter of John Kerry
  • John Kerry, 2004 Democratic Presidential Nominee
  • Vanessa Kerry, Daughter of John Kerry
  • Joe Lieberman, U.S. Senator from Connecticut, 2004 Presidential Candidate
  • Ed Markey, U.S. Representative from Massachusetts
  • Juanita Millender-McDonald, U.S. Representative from California
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton, U.S. Representative from the District of Columbia
  • Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Representative from California, Democratic Leader
  • Jim Rassman, Green Beret rescued by John Kerry in Vietnam
  • Louise Slaughter, U.S. Representative from New York (joined by Congressional Women)
  • John Sweeney, President of AFL-CIO
  • Mark Warner, Governor of Virginia

Posted by amahler at 10:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 19, 2004

Virgil Goode: Embracing The Hate

Just caught 5th District Congressman Virgil Goode on C-SPAN.

Here's a news flash: The federal budget deficit is caused by--hold on to your hats--illegal immigration.

That's right. The Bush tax-cuts-for-the-rich, spend-til-you're-broke doctrine hasn't had anything to do with the record budget deficit created in the last three and a half years.

Oh, and 9/11? Not caused by terrorism. That's right. Illegal immigration.

Since his election to Congress, Goode has become the poster child for national anti-immigration efforts. He appears to be obsessed not with the overarching needs of the people in the 5th District, where I lived for 13 years, but with making sure this country's borders are closed for good. He is even sponsor of a bill to ban legal immigration--which begs the question: Who will pull the tobacco in Southside Virginia if we don't allow in the legal migrant workers who have labored in the tobacco fields for years during each growing season?

In 2002, Goode's re-election ads showed him standing in front of empty factories shaking his fist in the air. One wonders where halting immigration and putting military police on our borders fits in when it comes to the needs of the people of the 5th District--needs for jobs, adequate health care, a transition from the manufacturing economy. Standing in front of an empty factory shaking your fist in the air never created one single job or provided one single family with health care or put one textbook in the hands of a young student.

Goode's president has neglected the needs of Southside Virginia--even slashing funding for the helpful manufacturing extension partnership program that supports companies that create and sustain manufacturing jobs. He hasn't been able to get the attention of the president, who opposes a common-sense buyout for tobacco growers. One has to wonder: This is leadership?

Thankfully, the people in the 5th have a choice in November. A choice between a candidate, Al Weed, who will represent the heart and soul of the 5th--and an incumbent with a distorted agenda that would send our Statue of Liberty back where she came from.

Posted by laura at 09:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

A Geek, A Blog, and A Trip to Boston

A number of us will be writing our thoughts here during our week in Boston. I figured I'd start now since the crazy days prior to leaving are as much a part of the experience as being there.

The birth of this site so close to the convention is somewhat coincidental. Kicking off with the convention as our first big focal point, though, is a great way to get started. The role of this blog, however, goes beyond Boston, the crucial coming months of the national campaign and even the November election.

I'm going to dedicate this first personal entry to providing some backstory on Documenting Democracy.

I'm 30 years old and have voted as a Democrat in the three national elections for which I've been old enough to participate. That means I was on the Clinton bandwagon the year I graduated high school. I've always said I was a Democrat when conversations turned to politics, but I didn't become a "card carrying member", per se, until this year. Three years of the Bush admin will do that to a person.

To make a very long story short, I've found the party to be an incredibly inviting and collaborative organization. Photos I took on my own at the state convention (where I attended as a delegate) led to an invitation by the state party to be the official photographer for the delegation in Boston at the DNC. This turn of events came as a tremendous and pleasant surprise, especially since I do not do this professionally. My role is voluntary, unpaid and gives me tremendous pleasure knowing I can possibly make a positive contribution of my time and effort as we head into November (and beyond).

My actual profession is that of programmer, network engineer and all around geek. Technology is at the very center of most everything I've pursued in life. I was co-founder of the first ISP in central Virginia in the mid 90's when I was 21 and eventually ended up at Sweet Briar College where I have been for eight years. SBC is a fantastic place and the academic environment suits me well in many ways, both socially and professionally.

I'm a major advocate of open-source software and spend most of my time knee-deep in Linux, various programming languages, and the Internet. The line between work and play is fairly blurry since the ingredients are often the same and only the task or the audience tends to change. Whether it is digital photography, building retro-arcade games, or maintaining the digital infrastructure of a small liberal arts college... the technical building blocks remain much the same.

This blog is another one of those creative outlets and the solution to a problem I was encountering: where to put all the photography. That's how it started anyway. As I was thinking up a name for it, I started to think in terms of the larger picture of bringing together the voices of people I was meeting. There have always been lots of e-mails circulating sharing links and essays. Numerous websites exist announcing the events or achievements of one local committee or another. It all felt a little disjointed. Why not tie it all together and provide a common resource for all of these pursuits? How about inviting others to comment, debate and discuss events?

The name, Documenting Democracy, seemed to fit equally well whether it became a personal site to host photographs or grew into a community sharing the work of many like-minded people. With the personal goal of housing photos in mind and a larger desire for others to join in and expand its scope, I set about piecing it all together. Besides, every geek loves an excuse to play with his toys.

The system is based entirely on open-source software. I wouldn't have it any other way. At its heart is Linux. The web server is Apache and the blogging engine is MovableType. Both the blog and some custom applications I wrote in Python rely heavily on MySQL as a database backend. E-mail accounts associated with the site can be reached through a web interface called IMP and mailing list services are provided by the powerful application, Mailman. Each and every one of these applications was created in an open, collaborative, and democratic manner within the global Internet community. Combined, they are the engine behind a website with the primary goal of documenting the democratic process in Virginia. The participants in this endeavor are not paid staff of an organization, but rather a community of citizen volunteers with a common set of goals.

After getting the skeleton up and going, I started sharing it with friends to get input. I was thrilled when Laura Bland of the Democratic Party of Virginia enthusiastically embraced the concept. Since that time, I've mostly been consumed with monkeying around with the innards of the site, attending other events, preparing to leave, etc. It's only now that the more personal side of the blog is starting to get its voice and that is going to do nothing but grow in the coming days as more participants get involved.

While I'm in Boston, my primary focus will be taking pictures. Those pictures are useless, though, without an audience and a means of sharing them. I will be sorting, editing, and posting those photos here while my colleagues around me will be captioning, writing articles and sharing their experiences in online diaries through this site. We hope our friends and colleagues back home in Virginia will also provide their thoughts, comments and essays in the same manner.

I'll do my best to blog on here as well as share my experiences as a first time convention attendee. Naturally, I'll also be writing a lot about the technical side of digital photography, the workflow and maintaining a blog in what is likely to be a circus-like atmosphere. Hopefully these thoughts and insights will have some appeal outside of the political arena as well. Who knows, the experience might become a working model for how not to blog a convention. I suppose we'll all find out together. :) That, though, is the fun of it all. I've got faith we'll achieve something positive.

My apologies if this is overly long, but I felt it necessary to tell some of the backstory so I can focus on where we're headed in the coming days. My wife and I fly out Thursday evening and there is a lot to do before we leave. I'll take time to write, though, in between the numerous preparations I've got ahead of me these next three days. If my narrative bores you, you're always welcome to check out the well established blogs in the left column... they update every half hour.

- Aaron

Posted by amahler at 08:22 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Kerry's Freedom Trail To Blaze Through Virginia

Major announcement happening at the Capitol as we speak. Kerry-Virginia campaign officials have joined Congressman Bobby Scott, D-3rd, to announce that John Kerry will visit Norfolk next Tuesday as one of only a handful of stops on his journey to the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

The Norfolk visit will be the fourth visit to Virginia by Kerry in the past two months.

"Virginians are eager to welcome John Kerry back to the Commonwealth," Governor Warner said in a written statement. "From the moment he launched his campaign last year, John Kerry has talked about the values that Virginians embrace every day: service to country, fiscal responsibility, and expanded educational opportunity for our people. John Kerry's message is resonating in Virginia because he has a positive, optimistic vision for the future and because people in our state respect his distinguished record of Naval service."

Norfolk symbolizes America's strong military and will serve as a backdrop for Kerry to talk about his service to the country. He'll be joined by Skip Barker, a fellow Vietnam vet and swift boat captain, and other veterans.

More details to come later.

More proof--as if anyone needed any--that Virginia is a battleground state.

Posted by laura at 03:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Unique Convention Set in Boston Nearing Completion

I'd like to try to keep pure press release regurgitation to a minimum on this site, but this one seemed quite relevant with several of us heading off to Boston at the end of the week:

Boston, MA - Boston's FleetCenter entered the final phase of its transformation today as the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) unveiled the stage where the Democratic Party will nominate its presidential and vice presidential candidates, John Kerry and John Edwards.

With a giant 90-foot by 17-foot video screen that will bring people from all over the country into the Convention hall; open, functioning offices for Convention staff built right into the set; more than 200 prime seats behind the podiums; and numerous other screens of varying sizes facing out to the hall, the 2004 Democratic Convention stage will be the most interactive and inclusive in Convention history.

The entire release can be read here.

Posted by amahler at 10:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 17, 2004

VADC Chairs Meeting / Training - Staunton

I'm currently sitting with Laura in the VADC Chairs Meeting and Training event in Staunton. Thanks to the fact that the library here has public wireless net access, we've gone ahead and posted a story and this first gallery of photos (consider this a warm-up for Boston next week). :)

Captions will be coming soon... in the meantime, you can select from:

High Quality - High Speed (Cable/DSL/T1+)

Medium Quality - Low Speed (Modem)

Posted by amahler at 01:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A New Chair Of Chairs

The Democratic Party of Virginia announced today that Rick Coplen, chairman of the Prince William County Democratic Committee, has been elected chairman of the Virginia Association of Democratic Chairs.

"As leaders of Virginia's Democratic committees, local chairs are committed to the election of John Kerry as president in 2004 and the election of Tim Kaine as Governor in 2005," Coplen said. "With the most significant election of our lifetimes ahead of us, I am committed to putting the Association of Democratic Chairs at the forefront of leaders in electing Democrats across Virginia now and in the future and helping John Kerry carry Virginia on Nov. 2."

Coplen's leadership of the of the Prince William Democratic Committee played an important part in supporting Governor Warner's successful tax reform plan in the 2004 General Assembly session. Coplen is actively working on community outreach, candidate recruitment and training, and developing a precinct operation in the Prince William County committee.

Coplen, 45, is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Princeton University graduate. A U.S. Army combat veteran, Coplen parachuted into Panama with the 82nd Airborne Division.

The VADC supports the chairs of the 134 local Democratic committees throughout Virginia and serves as the primary resource for the education and training of VADC members. As VADC chairman, Coplen will sit on the Democratic Party of Virginia's steering committee.

Posted by laura at 01:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 16, 2004

Group Challenges Falwell's Tax-Exempt Status

I live in Sweet Briar, which makes Lynchburg our local anchor "metropolis". Having also participated in a pro-Kerry rally to greet Karl Rove for his commencement speech at Liberty this year, I couldn't pass up posting this NY Times story I was sent via email a few minutes ago:

Hoping to send a warning to churches helping the Bush campaign turn out conservative voters, a liberal group has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service charging that an organization run by the Rev. Jerry Falwell has violated the requirements of its tax-exempt status by endorsing Mr. Bush's re-election.

Later in the article:

Yesterday, the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, argued in a letter to the I.R.S. that one of Mr. Falwell's religious organizations, Jerry Falwell Ministries, had disseminated the message in violation of tax rules, which restrict tax-exempt religious groups and charitable organizations from engaging in politics.

The entire article can be found here.

Posted by amahler at 10:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Presidential Debates: Times & Formats Announced

I received an email this morning detailing the formats and times of the upcoming presidential debates. I don't know about you, but I think this calls for popcorn. ;)

Here is the summary with the full details contained within:

First presidential debate:

Thursday, September, 30, 2004
University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL

Vice presidential debate:

Tuesday, October 5, 2004
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH

Second presidential debate:

Friday, October 8, 2004
Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis, MO

Third presidential debate:

Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ

Coverage of the debates will be provided by members of the White House pool who drew lots to determine the following assignments:

First presidential debate: Fox
Vice presidential debate: ABC
Second presidential debate: NBC

Pool coverage for the third presidential debate has not yet been determined.


* The candidates will be seated at a table with the moderator in the first and third presidential debates and in the vice presidential debate.
* The second presidential debate will use the town meeting format in which undecided voters, selected by the Gallup Organization, will question the candidates.
* Each debate will last for ninety minutes, start at 9:00 p.m. ET, and take place before a live audience.
* The first presidential debate will focus primarily on domestic policy, and the third presidential debate will focus primarily on foreign policy. The town meeting debate and the vice presidential debate will be open to all topics.


* Each debate will have a different single moderator to be selected by the CPD. The four moderators will be announced no later than September 10.
* The moderator's job in the first and third presidential debates and the vice presidential debate will be to introduce and change topics, to ensure that the participants have equal time, and to encourage some direct exchange among the candidates. The moderators will select all topics and questions.
* In the town meeting debate, the town meeting participants will pose their questions to the candidates. The town meeting participants will review their questions with the moderator before the debate for the sole purpose of avoiding duplicate questions.
* The moderators will have discretion to ask follow-up questions in all debates.

Participation in the debates sponsored by the CPD is subject to the application of the CPD's Non-partisan Candidate Selection Criteria for 2004, which were issued on September 24, 2003. They are:

* Eligibility under Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, which requires that a candidate be at least 35 years of age, a natural born citizen of the United States, and a resident of the United States for fourteen years;
* Appearance on a sufficient number of state ballots to have a mathematical chance of securing an Electoral College majority in the 2004 general election; and
* Fifteen percent support of the national electorate as determined by the average of five national public opinion polls taken as close to the first debate as practicable. The polls to be used will be announced no later than September 10.

The candidate selection criteria will be applied before each debate. If a presidential candidate is eligible for the first presidential debate, his or her running mate will automatically be included in the vice presidential debate.

Posted by amahler at 09:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 15, 2004

Documenting Democracy

What's a blog? Chances are, if you're here, you already know the answer to that question. Maybe the more important question is: Why blog at all?

Virginia Democrats have a lot to say about what's happening in the 2004 presidential election. That makes sense--we're the mother of presidents and, after all, everyone knows the road to the White House runs right through Virginia. Our historic Democratic tradition of sound fiscal management of Virginia's government was restored with the election of Mark Warner as Governor in 2001. In 2003, we picked up seats in the House of Delegates when the pundits said it couldn't be done. This year's presidential election, where we see Virginia emerging as a battleground state for John Kerry and John Edwards, is part of the continuum of elections that will make a profound difference in the lives of all people in Virginia. Tim Kaine's race for Governor in 2005, and the battle to pick up more seats in a House of Delegates controlled by the no-tax acolytes of Grover Norquist, will be part of the continuum as well. Documenting Democracy gives Virginia Democrats yet another opportunity for their voices to be heard.

This blog will help document our journey as the activist's heart and soul of the party, through photographs, essays, news entries, and links to other blogs that provide their own take on the political culture of the day.

Like most anything on the Web, Documenting Democracy is a work in progress. In its first few weeks, this blog will showcase the digital photography work of Aaron Mahler and the activities of the Virginia delegation at the Democratic National Convention. Aaron, his wife Elisabeth, and staff members of the Democratic Party of Virginia will post content on both the blog and the party's Website throughout each day we're at the convention in Boston. This is the first time ever that Virginia Democrats who are not at the convention will be able to share the experience of our delegation online, through images and words, in almost real time. We hope to see Virginia Democrats making their voices heard, through comments and their own submissions to the blog.

Many thanks to Aaron for all of his hard work on Documenting Democracy--and to the leadership of the 6th Congressional District, chaired by David Layman, for tapping into Aaron's remarkable talent and allowing Virginia Democrats to become part of the next digital generation.

Posted by laura at 10:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

WP Article: Bush Motivating His Base

The Washington Post has an interesting article this morning about the Bush campaign's focus on massively motivating his base (with emphasis toward the far right) rather than focusing on swing voters:

Democrats say Bush's approach is novel. "It's a new way to run for president," said James Carville, the strategist behind Bill Clinton's 1992 victory. Whereas "usually you quietly shore up your base and aggressively court the swing voter, Bush is aggressively shoring up his base and quietly courting the swing voter."

Some Bush allies say it is more efficient to boost turnout among partisans than to sway the fence-sitters, who the campaign believes may be 10 percent of the electorate or less. "How much time and energy do you give to picking up the 10 percent, who are disengaged from politics, and how do you communicate with them even if you want to?" asked Grover G. Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "You can go to the 45 percent [who already support Bush] and ask them to bring a brother or a sister or a friend to the polls."

This is an interesting read, especially as we are witnessing such fantastic unity and motivation in Kerry's base. I live in fairly conservative central Virginia and the latest poll numbers show Bush over Kerry around here by a mere four points. Hhhhmmm....

Posted by amahler at 10:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 13, 2004

Partial List of DNCC Speakers Announced

The DNCC website has announced a partial list of the speakers for the convention during the last week of July. The highlights include:

Monday - Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Rep. Bob Menendez, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton

Tuesday - Ted Kennedy, Christie Vilsack, Gov. Janet Napolitano, Teresa Heinz Kerry

Wednesday - Gov. Bill Richardson, Mayor Martin O'Malley, Ret. Marine Lt. Col. Steve Brozak, Elizabeth Edwards, Sen. John Edwards

Thursday - Alex & Vanessa Kerry, Chris & Andre Heinz, Hon. Max Cleland, John Kerry & John Edwards

This definitely promises to be a very exciting convention! We'll keep posting entries as the more complete schedule and speaker list is announced in the coming days.

Posted by amahler at 12:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 11, 2004

Virginia Is Going Blue!

The heat is definitely on in Virginia, and we're not just talking about the weather. Rallies Friday in Roanoke and Richmond drew bigger-than-expected crowds who turned out to say, loud and clear, "Virginia Loves The Kerry-Edwards Ticket!"

The Richmond Times-Dispatch documented the Richmond rally at the Bell Tower on the front page of the metro section Saturday and there was excellent coverage on local news stations as well. Wally Blair took some excellent pics of the Roanoke rally at Marketplace Center. Rick O'Dell, chairman of Virginia Veterans For Kerry, led the rally along with retired Del. Chip Woodrum and reports that there was good coverage of the rally as well.

Congrats to everyone who helped make Friday's rallies a success. We're on our way to turning Virginia blue for John Kerry and John Edwards!

Posted by laura at 03:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bringing Truth Back to the Presidency

The Washington Post has an article worth checking out:

In one of a series of interviews since teaming up on Tuesday, Kerry and Edwards predicted they would win the political fight over which party best exemplifies the values and ethics of most Americans, but Kerry said they would wage that battle on their terms and not what he called the Republican Party's "little political, hot-button, cultural, wedge-driven, poll-driven values."

Sounds good to me. The sheer negativity blowing out of the GOP of late is staggering and I think lots of people (including members of their own party) are getting plenty tired of it.

Posted by amahler at 12:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 10, 2004

Al Weed - Tye River Breakfast

This is a set of photographs covering a fundraising breakfast for Al Weed at Tye River Elementary School. This was one of those thoroughly enjoyable events (among my very first) where you get to experience local, grassroots politics in its truest form.

Photos include speeches by Al Weed (obviously) as well as Creigh Deeds.

The galleries are available in two quality levels based on speed:

High Quality - High Speed (Cable/DSL/T1+)

Medium Quality - Low Speed (Modem)

This is a repost to Documenting Democracy (from my previous server) for archival purposes.

Posted by amahler at 01:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Governor Warner - Lynchburg, Va - 6/21/2004

This is a collection of photos I took for Governor Warner's visit to Lynchburg on 6/21/2004.

The galleries are available in two quality levels based on speed:

High Quality - High Speed (Cable/DSL/T1+)

Medium Quality - Low Speed (Modem)

This is a repost to Documenting Democracy (from my previous server) for archival purposes.

Posted by amahler at 12:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Virginia State Democratic Party Convention - 2004

These are my original photos from the state party convention at the Hotel Roanoke in June 2004. The convention was a fantastic experience, especially for a first time attendee such as myself.

The images include many state party luminaries, Max Cleland's tremendous rally and Tim Kaine's official announcement of his candidacy for governor in 2005.

The galleries are available in two quality levels based on speed:

High Quality - High Speed (Cable/DSL/T1+)

Medium Quality - Low Speed (Modem)

This is a repost to Documenting Democracy (from my previous server) for archival purposes.

Posted by amahler at 12:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 08, 2004

Upcoming Richmond & Roanoke Kerry-Edwards Rallies

Laura has just sent out two announcements for regional rallies in support of Kerry-Edwards:

Roanoke -
Friday, July 9, 2004 - Noon
Marketplace Center
Upper Level (Enter between Quiznos and Awful Arthur's)
114 Market Street

Richmond -
Friday, July 9, 2004 - 2 PM
Bell Tower
Capitol Square

If anyone manages to make it to both events, you'll have my lifelong admiration to go with your inevitable speeding ticket. ;)

- Aaron

Posted by amahler at 03:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kerry Campaign Increases Commitment to Virginia

From the press release I just received:

Campaign Announces Virginia Staff, Extends Media Buy

(Richmond, VA) John Kerry's presidential campaign has increased its commitment to Virginia with the announcement that it has hired two full-time staff members and extended its advertising buy on Virginia television stations. Seasoned campaign strategist Susan Swecker of Richmond will serve as State Director for the Kerry campaign while Jonathan Beeton, a veteran of several presidential campaigns will serve as the Communications Director.

Susan Swecker, a Highland county native, has worked extensively in Virginia politics as a former executive director of the state Democratic Party, a senior advisor to Sen. Chuck Robb, and as an advisor to Gov. Mark Warner. Most recently Swecker served as John Kerry's State Director for his successful Virginia primary. A former senior advisor to the House Democratic Caucus, she chaired the Gore for President's Virginia campaign in 2000, and currently is the chair of the Democratic National Committee's Southern Caucus.

Jonathan Beeton comes to Virginia with a broad knowledge of national campaign communications, having served in Iowa and Michigan during the Clinton/Gore '96 campaign, in Kentucky as the Gore/Lieberman Communications Director, and most recently as an Associate Communications Director with General Wesley Clark's presidential campaign. He served at both the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor in the Clinton Administration and as a press secretary in the House of Representatives. Swecker and Beeton join Kerry's previously announced Virginia Chairman, Larry Framme of Richmond. The campaign plans to announce the opening of a Virginia state headquarters in Richmond later this month.

The Kerry campaign also announced that it has extended its television-advertising buy in Virginia through the month of July, yet another example of Kerry's increased emphasis on Virginia.

"We are excited about bringing John Kerry's vision for a stronger America to Virginia," said Kerry Campaign Manager Mary Beth Cahill. "We will run an aggressive, competitive campaign in the Old Dominion State and it's great to have such talented political veterans as Swecker and Beeton leading our efforts. With the strong support of local elected officials, Democratic organizations and community leaders, we will work hard to make sure Virginia votes Kerry-Edwards this November."

Posted by amahler at 12:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2004

Harrisonburg Parade Photos from July 5

The second half of my day in Harrisonburg revolved around the Independence Day weekend parade through the center of town. I had come to the area for the BBQ in honor of Tim Kaine (see my entry from yesterday) and, upon hearing he would be the Grand Marshall, decided to check it out with my friend Wally.

Not only am I glad I went, but I know already that I'll make every effort to go there next year so I can take in all of the festivities at a more leisurely pace.

Photos are a poor substitute for something that appeals to all the senses as much as a small town parade and festival. I hope, however, that these will provide some enjoyment (and good memories) for those that attended as well as those that don't yet know what they missed. ;)

As usual, I've posted these shots (101 images on 3 pages) in two sets based on your network connection speed.

High speed/highest quality (cable, DSL, T1+)

Low speed/medium quality (modem)


Posted by amahler at 01:30 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 06, 2004

Kerry Chooses John Edwards as VP

The morning news is just announcing the last few minutes that Kerry has chosen John Edwards as his VP!

Posted by amahler at 07:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tim Kaine BBQ & Harrisonburg Parade

The afternoon of July 5, 2004 provided me with a fun slice of Americana: Politics, BBQ and a parade. Despite the bright sun and sauna-like humidity, an enthusiastic crowd of Democracts (and possibly a few Republicans) gathered at the beautiful home of Giles and Donna Stone to honor Lt. Governor (and candidate for Governor in 2005) Tim Kaine.

After the picnic, Wally and I headed to the nearby Rockingham Heritage Bank Parade in the center of Harrisonburg to join in the Independence Day weekend festivities. Rounding out the eclectic parade was Tim riding on top of an antique firetruck in his role as Grand Marshall.

I'll let others do a more thorough writeup of this highly enjoyable afternoon (link coming soon). Despite the risk (and partial realization) of burning my pale, cave-dwelling self to a crisp, I shot about 575 photos in five hours. I've chosen a little over 80 shots (three pages) from the BBQ and Tim's firetruck ride to place here in the gallery for your enjoyment.

I'll make a separate collection of the parade shots and post it in the coming days (some fun stuff in there).

As usual, I've posted them in two sizes depending on the speed of your connection:

Tim Kaine BBQ - High Bandwidth / High Quality (Cable/DSL/T1+)

Tim Kaine BBQ - Lower Bandwidth / Medium Quality (Modem)

The captions are coming soon. I like to go ahead and get the photos online immediately for those that are interested...

- Aaron

Posted by amahler at 12:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 05, 2004

The Software Politics Of 2004's Presidential Race

Having spent days working on building this website, its associated email interface and a related mailing list engine - all using Open Source Software - I was drawn to this Slashdot article like a moth to a flame:

The NYT(free registration required) has an article talking about the polarized use of OSS in the building of campaign Web sites. Specifically, it states that the sites for John Kerry (Democratic candidate for President) and the Democratic National Committee are built using OSS, while the site for President Bush's re-election campaign uses IIS.

You can read the full article here.

Posted by amahler at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

Shenandoah Democrat Picnic - Page County

Things are starting to come together with the technical underpinnings of the blog in the last 24 hours. To test out the galleries, I'm posting a new copy of photos from the Page County picnic at the beautiful home of Tammy and David Tobey in the Shenandoah valley.

In addition to good food and company, we had an opportunity to hear Lt. Governor candidates Leslie Byrne and Chap Petersen as well as Va State Democratic Party Chairman, Kerry Donley.

I've placed 89 images (3 pages) online in two formats:

For high speed connections and slower speed connections.

- Aaron

P.S. I've not yet captioned these... I'll post a note when they get updated.

Posted by amahler at 02:10 AM | Comments (0)