3:50 p.m. Well, it’s been great fun, but I think it’s time to go. Thanks to Chairman Cranwell, Executive Director Stoney and Danae Jones, communications director, for giving me the opportunity to be here.
2:30 p.m. Mark Warner is coming on. Using Rolling Stones “Start me up”.
Warner addresses the vice presidential talk head-on:
“I’ve been working really hard since last fall; working 110% to asking the people of Virginia to send me to the United States Senate,” said Mark Warner. “I have not sought and will not accept any other opportunity.”
Warner spent the majority of speech comparing and contrasting himself to Jim Gilmore and casting Gilmore as a tenacious campaigner who would use Karl Rove-type tactics. He also mentioned Vince Callahan’s and John Chichester’s endorsements.
At a press availability following the speech, Warner attacked Gilmore pretty hard, calling Gilmore’s style of politics “negative.” He said that Gilmore is prone to attack as to actually trying to find reforms.
“My opponent has shown an inability to even work with people of his own party,” stated Warner. “You’ll see how different I am. I looking for a common-cause and common-results. You don’t propose sound-bite government like ‘No Car Tax’.”
Warner did get into some policy discussion with the press, discussing jobs, education reform, fiscal policy, etc. He also discussed energy policy, stating that it was not a Republican or Democrat issue, especially when the middle east contains 20% of the world’s oil and the United States, even if we did drill domestically, only contains 2-3%. He also views this as a national security issue.
Warner called Gilmore’s calls for increasing drilling in ANWR a “20th century solution to a 21st century problem.” He stated that his position on ANWR is the same as Sen. John McCain’s, in that solutions need to be developed now, not over-the-horizon ten-year solutions. He is looking to advocating for improved battery technology and has not ruled out drilling off the Virginia coast.
“The threshold for natural gas should be lower than for oil,” said Warner, regarding drilling. But he reiterated that is up to the state to decide what that threshold should be.
On fiscal policy, the strength of the dollar was also on his mind. “The declining dollar is the worst tax increase on the people.” He said addressing that issue would go a long way to providing some economic stabilty.
2:15 p.m. Sen. Deeds is on the stage and he is also talking about security, education, etc. “We’re going to turn Virginia blue this November.”
1:55 p.m. Del. Brian Moran is on the stage now. Talking about folks not sitting on the sidelines and participating. Talks about the urgency of “now” and that “we can win in Virginia”. “We will win the majority of the Virginia House of Delegates and turn this state blue.” OHH…it’s our first JFK reference! I was wondering how long it would take…pretty long, actually.
1:46 p.m. Having seen both Webb and Kaine speak, if Obama does choose one of them to be his number two (let’s be honest, Warner has a good shot at picking up the Senate seat, so they won’t want to give that up), he’s got an interesting choice on his hand.
In one sense, Kaine is a pretty darn good public speaker. He managed to get this crowd going. He was connecting with them in a way I’m not even sure Bob Marshall did with his supporters two weeks ago. On the other hand, the “gravitas” factor is definitely with Webb. His experience and national security street-cred will certainly be helpful to balance the inexperience of Obama. Both candidates will energize the Virginia Democrat base and might get some crossover for Obama that he might not otherwise have.
From what I hear, there are some folks, particularly in the 9th who were strong for Clinton but may not come out for Obama. Hugh Lessig of the Daily Press spoke with some on background and mentioned to me that if Obama starts doing well there, that could portend things to come.
1:30 p.m. I am SOOOO bored. There is absolutely nothing going on right now. I will say, there isn’t even anything close to 2500 people here. Also, it was cute that Saslaw came out to the “Rocky” theme. Webb came out to “I won’t back down” by Tom Petty. Webb has been the only one to acknowledge Russert’s passing.
One thing of note from the convention, there is a LG candidate: Jon Bowerbank has declared. He has a web site and a pretty robust presence here.
I also had the chance to catch up with Sen. Creigh Deeds. He admitted to me that he hasn’t paid any attention to the blogs since the last Blogs United. Probably a wise move.
12:33 p.m.Kaine taking the stage. “This is the year that will make history in this commonwealth and this nation.”
Kaine believes that the next president is “walking into the most challenging situation since FDR walked in in the midst of the Great Depression.” He cites an energy crisis and two wars – one just and one waged under false pretenses.
12:26 p.m. Gerry Connolly provided some remarks.
- “Is this Virginia? Am I really here?”
- “I need help”
Yes, those are quotes, but I’m kind of kidding. The first quote he’s referring to Democratic victories and Webb and Kaine being considered for VP. And, the second one was saying with resources from across the commonwealth, he can win. “If I can raise the resources, we will have a glorious victory in November.”
Big issues for him in the 11th: transportation, military bases, childcare, healthcare, domestic economy ($4 gasoline).
12:21 p.m. Judy Feder is on the stage and there was very large applause for her. “On the issues of healthcare, economy, war, Frank Wolf is standing in the way.”
12:15 p.m. Barack Obama delivered a video address that was Virginia specific, but had the same tired themes, including trying to tie McCain to Bush. It’s pretty funny. But, he did say “Virginia needs change and the country needs change”. Personally, I think his stump-speech needs change.
12:13 p.m. My interview with Glenn Nye
11:05 a.m.“If we do what we did for … (litany of candidates)…Chuck Robb, we’ll turn Virginia blue,” said Rep. Bobby Scott. Wow. I like that kind of prediction.
Glenn Nye also spoke on several issues. It would appear that his campaign will be based several issues:
- Establishing his credibility as a Virginian and a person of service.
- “I am a 5th generation Virginian.”
- “I spent the past 10 years working in some of the toughest places in the world.”
- He mentioned that some people wonder why he is running so young (33 years old). “Now is not the time to wait. America cannot afford to wait.”
- Looked at gas prices
- “Gas prices are out of control. While big oil companies are making record profits, I spoke with a waterman today who can no longer afford to fuel his boat and has to give up his trade.”
- He advocated for rescinding tax subsidies to oil companies and redirecting that money to energy research.
- Better strategy in Iraq
- Need to create incentives for the Iraqi’s to pay for and control their own reconstruction by using their own profits for oil and creating an exit strategy for ourselves.
- Improved support for veterans
- Change the tone in Washington
- “The partisanship and cynicism has to be replaced by patriotism and service.”
Nye closed by saying “God bless you, God bless Virginia, and God bless the United States of America!”
10:46 a.m. Starting with Keith Hummell, some of the congressional candidates are giving their stump speech. Bush accountable, turn Virginia blue, yadda, yadda, change, yadda, yadda, stop outsourcing jobs, etc.
10:45 a.m. Whew! HUGE CROWD:
10:23 a.m. Despite the sound system, a great rendition of the Star Spangled Banner was given by a young man. Wish I could have caught his name. He performed fantastic.
10:16 a.m. The convention is called to order. The sound system is HORRIBLE. We can’t hear jack. It’s like someone is talking underwater. This sucks. I’m going to have to move around.
10:05 a.m. Well, this thing was supposed to kick-off by now, but the delegates are filing in still. However, I did get the chance to meet up with my two favorite ladies of the Democratic blogosphere: Anonymous is a Woman and Vivian Paige. AIAW was wonderful to finally meet in person. Vivian was still campaigning for delegate. She has an up-hill climb as a Clinton supporter.
9:35 a.m. Well, I have made it into the DPVA convention where folks have been milling about, lining up to get in since 7:30 a.m. The set-up is remarkably similar to the Republican Party of Virginia Convention, but I suppose you really can’t vary that too much. It would appear, however, that there will be about the same amount of people at each convention.
I had the chance to meet Chairman Richard Cranwell, who was extremely pleasant and gracious;Levar Stoney, who assured me he had no knives; and Del. Lionel Spruill who said he liked Bearing Drift, so he’s now my favorite Democratic delegate.
As for the actual set-up, the press is located in the back of the hall. I am sitting next to Hugh Lessig today, who will also be blogging at Shad Plank with Kimball Payne. We have tables and powerstrips and access to the internet. What could be better?! Nice job to Danae Jones, Communications Director for DPVA.
At the Republican convention, much hey was made about economic independence, seeking sources of domestic energy production, reducing the tax burden, and the sanctity of human life. I am here for two purposes,
one: to hear the main themes that the Democrats will be espousing and
two: to hear the three key-note speakers, all potential vice presidential candidates: Kaine, Warner, and Webb.