Live Blog: Democratic National Convention 2012; Michelle Obama, Julian Castro

Sep 4, 2012 3:30pm

Days after Republicans wrapped their convention in Tampa, Democrats kicked off the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

We’ll keep you up to the minute all day and into the night. ABC News and Yahoo! News will stream the convention proceedings, which on Monday include keynote speaker and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and first lady Michelle Obama. Watch Live from 7 p.m. ET until 11 p.m. ET at

Read More About the Democratic National Convention

Tell ABC: Are You Better Off Than You Were 4 Years Ago? – It’s the question of the week as posed by Paul Ryan. Democrats will have to figure out how to convince Americans to answer ‘yes’ if they want to reelect Barack Obama as president.

Michelle Obama, Tweets per minute queen – 11:29 p.m. ET -  For whatever this is worth – from Twitter’s @gov account – “The end @MichelleObama’s speech drove a higher Tweets-per-minute peak than @MittRomney’s at #GOP2012. 28,003 vs. 14,289 for the Gov.”

Transcript: Michelle Obama’s Speech at the DNC – 11:15 p.m. ET – HERE.

Highlights -


Full Speech -


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President Obama and his daughters at the White House watching Michelle Obama speak at the DNC (Image credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Michelle Obama didn’t mention Mitt Romney, but she doesn’t “begrudge success” – 11:09 p.m. ET – From Amy Walter -

Note Michelle Obama’s subtle pushback on the notion that Democrats are attacking Mitt Romney for his wealth and success in private sector:

“Like so many American families, our families weren’t asking for much. They didn’t begrudge anyone else’s success or care that others had much more than they did…in fact, they admired it.”

This is the same message that Julian Castro sent as well. Republicans, the Democrats seem to argue, want to turn us into an “every man for themselves” society.

Whereas they, according to their argument, want to make sure that weakest among us won’t fall through the cracks  – we do it together.

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AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Michelle loves Barack, but will independents? – 10:58 p.m. – Amy Walter tweets – “FLOTUS talks of her love of POTUS. But, can she make wavering voters fall back in love w/ him?”

“Today, I love my husband even more than I did four years ago…even more than I did 23 years ago, when we first met.” – 10:57 p.m. ET

He’s the Same Barack – 10:56 p.m. ET

So when people ask me whether being in the White House has changed my husband, I can honestly say that when it comes to his character, and his convictions, and his heart, Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago.

He’s the same man who started his career by turning down high paying jobs and instead working in struggling neighborhoods where a steel plant had shut down, fighting to rebuild those communities and get folks back to work…because for Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.

Michelle Obama – When you walk through the doorway you do not slam it behind you – 10:53 p.m. ET

Like so many American families, our families weren’t asking for much.

They didn’t begrudge anyone else’s success or care that others had much more than they did…in fact, they admired it.

They simply believed in that fundamental American promise that, even if you don’t start out with much, if you work hard and do what you’re supposed to do, then you should be able to build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids and grandkids.

That’s how they raised us…that’s what we learned from their example.

Well, today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are – it reveals who you are.

Michelle was nervous about moving to D.C. – 10:43 p.m. ET – She didn’t want to uproot her life or her kids. She recalls a man who picked her up in a rusted out old car, wore shoes that were too small, and prized a coffee table he found in a dumpster. But she fell in love with the man after he told her about his family.

Michelle Obama onstage – 10:38 p.m. ET


Transcript of Julian Castro’s keynote address – 10:36 p.m. ET. HERE.

Julian Castro vs. Marco Rubio – 10:34 p.m. ET – Their politcies couldn’t be more different, but their biographies bear some similarities. And at least in the biographical portions about the American Dream, there were some smiliarities. Michael Falcone noticed:


“My mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.”

MARCO RUBIO last week (highlighting his father’s work as a bartender):

“You see he stood behind a bar in the back of the room all those years, so one day I could stand behind a podium in the front of a room.”

Castro: “We all understand freedom isn’t free. But what Romney and Ryan don’t understand is that neither is opportunity.”

#Sexyface – 10:17 p.m. ET – Kaye Foley reports – Shortly after Kal Penn’s speech, and his suggested twitter hashtag, #sexyface became the number one trending topic in the United States on Twitter and it is still going strong.

Keynote Speaker Julian Castro 10:16 p.m. ET – The difference between the kids he grew up with in San Antonio and the ones he met at Stanford and Harvard… “the difference wasn’t one of ability it was one of opportunity.”

Later – recalls Romney suggestion that kids “borrow money from their parents” to start a business. “Gee,” says Castro, mocking, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Says he doesn’t think Romney meant ill, “he just doesn’t know how good he’s had it.”

But then he accuses Romney of trying to “dismantle the middle class.”

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Image credit: Rick Rowell/ABC

A Vanishing Favorability Gap – Obama Loses Advantage in Poll – 10:12 p.m. ET – Matthew Dowd discusses president’s shrinking favorability gap over Mitt Romney.

Martin O’Malley – ‘Forward, Now Back!’ – 10:09 p.m. ET – Snippets:

“Instead of investing in America, they hide their money in Swiss bank accounts and ship our jobs to China! Swiss bank accounts never built an American bridge. Swiss bank accounts never put cops on the streets or teachers in our classrooms. Swiss bank accounts never created American jobs! Governor Romney just because you bank against the United States of America doesn’t mean the rest of us are willing to sell her out. We are Americans. We must act like Americans. We must move forward, not back.”

“Let us move forward, not back by reelecting Barack Obama president of the United States.”

And another attack line on Romney/Ryan.

“Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan now say they want to take America back. And we have to ask: Back to what? Back to the failed policies that drove us into this deep recession? Back to the days of record job losses? Back to the days when insurance companies called being a woman a “pre-existing condition”? No, thank you. I don’t want to go back. Do you?”

A slow drip against Romney – 10:04 p.m. ET – Rick Klein points out: You’ll notice tonight they’ve found ways to segment out the Romney attacks tonight – Deval Patrick taking on Romney’s Massachusetts record, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on healthcare/Medicare, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland on auto bailouts, and Ted Kennedy (clips) on Romney’s reversals on abortion rights.

Rather than serve the red meat in one heaping quantity, it’s being doled out a steak at a time.

Introducing Michelle Obama: A Military Mom – 9:54 p.m. ET – Jon Karl reports: Michelle Obama, who has made advocacy for military families her signature issue, will be introduced tonight a woman who knows something about the plight of military families:  Elaine Brye has four children in the military — each from a different branch of the armed services. And she and her husband are Air Force veterans.

And… she is from Ohio.

Deval Patrick Vs. Mitt Romney – 9:47 p.m. ET – The man who took over for Mitt Romney as governor of Massachusetts attacks his predecessor. He paints a sorry picture of the state when Romney left it, argues things are better now. “He was a lot more interested in having the job than doing the job,” says Patrick of Romney.

As Patrick speaks, the Romney campaign issues a press release arguing Mitt turned the Massachusetts economy around. So apparently they disagree.

But Patrick rallies the crowd. “It’s time for Democrats to grow some backbone and stand up for what we believe!”

He is fiery and dripping with sweat.

Later – “We’re Americans, we shape our own future.”

Patrick on Obama -

This is the president who delivered the security of affordable health care to every single American after 90 years of trying. This is the president who brought Osama bin Laden to justice, who ended the war in Iraq and is ending the war in Afghanistan. This is the president who ended “don’t ask, don’t tell” so that love of country, not love of another, determines fitness for military service. Who made equal pay for equal work the law of the land. This is the president who saved the American auto industry from extinction, the American financial industry from self-destruction, and the American economy from depression. Who added over 4.5 million private sector jobs in the last two-plus years, more jobs than George W. Bush added in eight.—-

The list of accomplishments is long, impressive and barely told.

How Much is 23 cents? – 9:44 p.m. ET – Lilly Ledbetter says, “Maybe 23 cents doesn’t sound like a lot to someone with a Swiss bank account, a Cayman Island Investments and an IRA worth tens of millions of dollars. But Governor Romney, when we lose 23 cents every hour, every day, every paycheck, every job, over the entire lives, we lose just cannot be measured in dollars.”  That’s how much less per hour she was making than men at Goodyear. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which reacted to the Supreme Court decision that threw out her lawsuit, was the first bill Obama signed into law.


Need one quote to compare 2008 to 2012? ABC’s Rick Klein offers this – 9:43 p.m. ET -

DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, about the mood in the room, compared to the mood in 2008, on our News livestream -

“This isn’t about rapture. This about getting the job done.”

Why is Kal Penn (Kumar) speaking at the DNC? – 9:34 p.m. ET – Michael Falcone reports:

“Nobody’s done more on behalf of the campaign and of the president to engage young people than Kal.”

–Senior Obama campaign official at a briefing earlier today

Recall that Penn temporarily gave up acting to work as a staffer in the Obama White House’s Office Of Public Engagement (he’s since left).

Best known for the “Harold & Kumar” films as well as roles in television shows like “House” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

He’s now traveling the country for the Obama campaign, helping with outreach to young voters in swing states across the country. And in his speech he mentions the OBL killing, gay marriage and says, “thank you invisible man in the chair, for that.”

Jake Tapper’s excellent exit interview with Penn from July 2011:


Rahm Emanuel, former WH chief of staff and current mayor of Chicago takes the stage – 9:17 p.m. ET – “Each crisis was so deep and so dangerous that any one of them would have defined another presidency.” He’s referring to the financial and auto and housing crises.

Here’s a story about the controversy of Chicago in the midst of a crime wave sending 50 cops to help out in Charlotte.

‘Wetting their pants over New Hampshire’ – John Sununu on Democrats – 9:08 p.m ET – The former New Hampshire governor tells the ABC News / Yahoo! News live stream that Democrats are really afraid – as in “wetting their pants” – that Obama will lose New Hampshire.


Sandra Fluke on how Rush Limbaugh changed her life – 9:07 p.m. ET – Student barred from testifying on Capitol Hill and made famous by Rush Limbaugh stops by the ABC News / Yahoo! News live stream -


Great interest in abortion rights – 9:05 p.m. ET – From Yahoo! News’ Chris Wilson and the Signal Blog – “Here you see the most popular topics in DNC-related tweets. Abortion is by far the most common, followed by education. These are 10-minutes intervals. The spikes align with Planned Parenthood and NARAL speakers.”

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Yahoo! News Signal Blog


Focus on women’s issues, abortion – 8:59 p.m. ET – From Michael Falcone: We’re hearing a TON about women’s issues tonight – the same night Michelle Obama speaks. NARAL Pro-Choice President Nancy Keenan just made a reference to GOP Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s comments about “legitimate rape.”

Keenan said: “We believe that rape is rape. We believe that a woman should make health care decisions with her family, her doctor, and her God.”

She later added: “Women in America cannot trust Mitt Romney.”

Again, abortion rights and women’s issues are a big theme tonight.

Jesse Jackson on his son, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., on an extended leave of absence from Congress  – “At some point in time he must make that decision as to whether he can continue to serve – That’s from an interview on the ABC News / Yahoo! News Live Stream interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl.


What’s in a word? If the word is ‘God’… 8:37 p.m. ET – ABC’s Chris Good reports – Democrats removed the words “God” and “Jerusalem,” along with the passages surrounding them, from the 2012 party platform. More here.

Calfornia AG Kamala Harris ‘superstitious about 2016 chatter’ – 8:39 p.m. ET – From Julie Percha -

“I’m also a little superstitious,” she continued. “You know, you concentrate on that thing out there, and then you’re gonna trip over the thing in front of you.”

When asked if we should expect to see her in Iowa or New Hampshire soon, Harris played coy.

“Who knows where we’re going to be a year from now,” she said on ABC’s live stream of the DNC.


Cokie Roberts: “What surprises me most is how blindsided Dems were by “are you better off” attacks by GOP.


A George Stephanopoulos Prediction – 8:04 p.m. ET – ABC anchor predicts on the live stream that Bill Clinton will find a way to not speak on Weds. until the football game is over – And a recap from the AP in February -

Powerful as the NFL is, it’s making way for President Barack Obama.

Opting to play a game on a Wednesday for the first time in more than 60 years, the NFL will open the regular season on Sept. 5, to avoid conflicting with Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention the next night.

Factoids on First Lady Michelle Obama and her official/political advocacy this year – 7:55 p.m. ET – From ABC’s Devin Dwyer -

79,000 miles -  crisscrossing the country for official events, Let’s Move and Joining Forces initiatives, and political rallies and fundraisers in 2012.

49 Fundraisers – she’s headlined, since Jan. 1.

Nearly 2 dozen appearances on TV talk/reality shows - a sign of her pop culture icon status…. She has been on Nickelodeon iCarly; Top Chef; Late Show (2x); Tonight Show (2x); Daily Show; Jimmy Fallon; Nick Awards; Biggest Loser; Ellen (2x); The View; Regis and Kelly; Restaurant Impossible; Dr. Oz Show; Rachel Ray; Iron Chef; and Sesame Street.

50,000+ Hires – Through Joining Forces, American businesses have hired more than 50,000 veterans and military spouses, with a pledge to hire at least 160,000 more in the years ahead. More than 1,600 companies have been involved in this effort, including Microsoft, Comcast, Honeywell, Safeway and Sears.

20% Lower Cals, Sodium on Menus – Through Let’s Move, the First Lady secured a commitment from Olive Garden, Red Lobster and other chains to cut calories and sodium in their food across menus over the next 10 years.

Disney Deal  -  The Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC News, said it will drop advertisers from its children’s programming that do not comply with tighter nutrition guidelines. First lady Michelle Obama appeared with Disney CEO Bob Iger to endorse the move in June, which was coupled with health-conscious revisions to menus at Disney’s theme parks and resorts.

Kennedy vs. Romney – 7:51 p.m. ET – A second Kennedy video depicts in great detail his drubbing of Mitt Romney in the 1994 Massachusetts senate race. It includes Romney’s former opinion on Roe v. Wade and other matters.

Here’s how Michael Falcone put it:

This was very interesting. In what was an otherwise glowing tribute video to Kennedy, the Democrats threw in several minutes of  the October 25, 1994 Massachusetts senatorial debate between Kennedy and Romney with some of the sharpest attack lines from Kennedy.

Kennedy says he is pro-choice and hits Romney: “My opponent is multiple choice.”

Also note that we’ve already heard some tonight about the  abortion issue, and we’re likely to hear more throughout the week.

For example, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, who spoke earlier tonight: “Now women are beginning to get the preventive services—including birth control—that they deserve. If they get sick or pregnant, they won’t lose their insurance. And soon, for the first time, no longer will being a woman be a pre-existing medical condition.”

Here’s the video posted by convention organizers:


JPK3 – RFK’s grandson – introduces a video about his grandfather – 7:49 p.m. ET -  Read more about Joseph P. Kennedy III, who is running for Barney Frank’s seat on Congress. It’s a bit odd to have a Kennedy video follow a Carter video since Kennedy didn’t really help Carter’s reelection chances by going to the convention with his primary challenge in 1980.

“Welcome back, Carter” – 7:40 p.m. ET – A video by Jimmy Carter to endorse Barack Obama has Republicans gleefully arguing that Obama is going to end up like Carter – a president ushered into office on a message of change, but thrown out after four years. Paul Ryan has been leading this charge. And as the Carter rolls in Charlotte, the Romney Press Shop blasts reporters inboxes with the cleverly titled press release, “Welcome Back, Carter.”

Read more from Shush Walshe on Ryan’s Carter comparison.

Harry Reid brings up Romney’s taxes – 7:30 p.m. ET – Harry Reid is the U.S. Senate Majority Leader and he’s also appointed himself agent provocateur on the subject of Mitt Romney’s tax returns. He has alleged – without substantiation – that there are years in which Romney didn’t pay taxes. But since Romney has only released one year of returns and plans to release one more, it has been Reid’s word versus Romney’s. Romney has more recently said he hasn’t in the past ten years paid less than 13 percent in one year. That’s less than the capital gains rate of 15 percent.

Reid was at it again at the DNC Tuesday. ” “We can only imagine what would be revealed if he released 12 years of tax returns like his father did,” Reid said.


More on the $16 trillion national debt – 7:23 p.m. ET – From Julie Percha -

It appears the U.S. first reached the new $16 trillion debt figure last week, on Aug. 31, according to the Daily Treasury Statement. The Treasury Department quietly posted it on its website today.

The new debt numbers work out to about $51,000 for every American, according to U.S. Census population estimates.

A NY subway guide to the Obama presidency – 7:22 p.m. ET – From Dan Kloeffler -


#DNCin4words – 7:10 p.m. ET – Our friends at Yahoo! News noticedthe hashtag #DNCinfourwords take off today. What were the most popular four words?

entry frequency
where’s mitt’s tax returns? 302
you didn’t build that 273
budget? what’s a budget? 109
feigning compassion, peddling hate 101
we h8 others’ greed 101
mitt romney’s tax returns 84
obama is our man 69

Obama loses ground among women6:52 p.m. ET – The latest favorability poll from ABC News / Washington Post polls shows some troubling numbers for the president’s reelection campaign, per ABC pollster Gary Langer -

Barack Obama approaches his nomination for a second term with the lowest pre-convention personal popularity of an incumbent president in ABC News/Washington Post polls since the 1980s.

He’s also at his lowest of the year among registered voters, with trouble among women. Just 47 percent of registered voters in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll see Obama favorably overall, down 7 percentage points from his recent peak in April, while 49 percent rate him unfavorably. He’s numerically underwater in this group for the first time since February.

See PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

The decline has occurred entirely among women registered voters – from 57-39 percent favorable-unfavorable in April to a numerically negative 46-50 percent now. That’s Obama’s lowest score among women voters – a focus of recent political positioning – in ABC/Post polls since he took office.

Unusually, his rating among men, 50-47 percent favorable-unfavorable, is numerically better than it is among women, albeit not by a significant margin. The result is not the only sign of the work ahead for Obama among women.

In a separate ABC/Post poll last week, he led Romney among women registered voters in vote preference by just 6 points, 49-43 percent. In 2008, Obama won women by 13 points, 56-43 percent. As if misery loves company, Mitt Romney’s favorability rating remains numerically lower even than Obama’s in this poll, produced for ABC byLanger Research Associates.

Nonetheless Romney does show a faint convention bounce, a 5-point gain in favorability among all adults vs. a week ago. (Gallup, separately, today reported no bounce for Romney in the horse race, a different measurement than favorability.)

Full report.

Solyndra figure given red carpet treatment at DNC- 6:47 p.m. ET – From Brian Ross and Matthew Mosk -

The Obama campaign rolled out the red carpet this week for a former top Energy Department official who was at the center of the ill-fated government loan to Solyndra, a California solar panel firm that wound up in bankruptcy.

Steven J. Spinner joined other top fundraisers for a VIP tour of the Democratic National Convention floor in Charlotte Monday evening, posing and waving for a photographer while standing behind the podium. When he saw ABC News cameras, however, he ran for the exit. More here.

‘Being asked to pay your fair share isn’t class warfare, its patriotism – Crowd loves Cory Booker- 6:35 p.m. ET – From ABC’s Chris Good -

The Newark mayor gave an impassioned speech on the 2012 Democratic platform, moving the crowd to its feet for the final quarter or third of his remarks. Booker set an energized tone, flashing his stage charisma.

Two separate chants of “USA” and, after he finished, a faint chant of “Cory, Cory” as Villaraigosa called a vote on the platform, as Sunlen noted. Booker drew big applause on lines about education, health care, and especially retirement. Crowd joined in on the line “liberty and justice for all.”

As ABC’s Karen Travers points out, Booker is a very strong speaker for the 6 pm hour. He clearly carries some star power in this party, and he surely could have carried a much more prominent slot..but recall his stepping on the Obama camp’s Bain attacks and subsequent walk-back.


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Out in Iowa, Ryan seizes on $16 trillion debt- 6:28 p.m. ET – Republicans planned their convention during a hurricane. Democrats had theirs when the debt reached $16 trillion. As in today. Here’s how Paul Ryan addressed the issue, per Shush Walshe, who is with him in Iowa -

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa–Paul Ryan mentioned the national debt surpassing 16 trillion dollars Tuesday afternoon calling it “a little bit of a downer.”

“We just heard about an hour ago that our government eclipsed the 16 trillion dollar mark in our national debt,” Ryan said at a rally with over 800 people here. “This is a serious threat to our economy. Of all the broken promises from President Obama, this is probably the worst one because this debt is threatening jobs today, it is threatening prosperity today and it is guaranteeing that our children and grandchildren get a diminished future.”

At last week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, a debt clock hanging in the arena ticked the debt upwards. Tuesday afternoon, it surpassed  that number and Ryan sarcastically  noted the Democrats holding their convention this week in Tampa don’t have a debt clock.

“The problem is, the president keeps kicking the can down the road. No leadership on this issue. The Senate hasn’t even passed a budget in three years. We have a very clear choice ahead of us,” Ryan said. Iowa governor Terry Branstad introduced Ryan and also mentioned the national debt and like Ryan bringing out the sarcasm and saying it’s “no coincident it’s the same day as their convention begins.”

North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue got her biggest applause line at this quote- 6:24 p.m. ET – Per ABC’s Elizabeth Hartfield -

“President Obama is also standing up for women in North Carolina and across our country. He has helped women fight for equal pay for equal work; he has fought to guarantee that women have access to quality, affordable health care, including making sure that insurance plans cover birth control with no out-of-pocket cost. And unlike Mitt Romney, President Obama is standing up for Planned Parenthood.”

Romney has suggested he would “get rid” of Planned Parenthood.

Cory Booker – A standing ovation, shouts of “Cory!” and a major overrun – 6:18 p.m. ET – From ABC’s folks inside the convention hall, Cory Booker had the crowd on it’s feet. But he also went on twice as long as he was supposed to. Booker is the popular mayor of Newark, New Jersey, and many believe he’ll challenge Gov. Chris Christie there next year.  We’ll have a little more on what he said in a moment.


Barack Obama expects to get ‘misty’ when Michelle speaks tonight – 5:57 p.m. ET – But he’ll be watching from the White House:


Paul Ryan on Lilly Ledbetter fair pay act- 5:31 p.m. ET – It’s about lawsuits, not fair pay – Shush Walshe notes that Paul Ryan was asked today by a Denver TV station – Fox 31 – about his opposition to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. It was the first thing President Obama signed into law and it addressed a statute of limitations technicality on which the Supreme Court dismissed a woman’s lawsuit against Goodyear tires. Ledbetter will speak this week at the Democratic National Convention.

Ryan: “Of course I support the concept of equal pay for equal work,” Ryan told FOX31 Denver. “That’s already been the law. This is about lawsuits. This is about the statute of limitations on whether you can sue people way beyond the time when the infraction occurred.” The Fair Pay Act amends the protections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by stating that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each new paycheck affected by that discriminatory action.

Boy, Girl, Boy Girl – Most Democratic delegates ever- 5:24 p.m. ET – DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz gaels the convention to order. Elizabeth Hartfield notices this from her brief remarks:

“We have the largest number of delegates ever assembled at a Democratic National Convention.”

The DNCC sends out the following numbers on delegates: “The 2012 Democratic National Convention will welcome nearly 6,000 delegates to the convention who will come from grassroots communities and neighborhoods across the country. That’s an increase from about 4,400 delegates in 2008, and the most in convention history….Delegates to the 2012 Democratic National Convention are split evenly  – 50/50 – between males and females, in accordance with official DNC rules.”

Obama gives away more free beer – 4:55 p.m. – At a firehouse in Norfolk, Virginia, the president left two cases of beer brewed at the White House. Another not-so-subtle reminder from the White House on a distinction between him and Romney: Obama drinks beer. More here from Ann Compton and Mary Bruce.

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President Barack Obama, center, meets with firemen from Fire Station No. 14, during an unscheduled stop, Sept. 4, 2012, in Norfolk, Va. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo)

Diane Sawyer interviews #DNC2012 keynote speaker Julian Castro- 4:22 p.m.

Sawyer asks the young mayor about Paul Ryan argument that young people with faded 2008 posters might be regretting their vote as they live at home with their parents.

Castro: But if you look at the policies they embraced, a lot of those young folks won’t even make it to college under the policies that Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan would embrace their future would be limited, you know, working…

Sawyer: How do you convey to them that a second your years will bring more to them than the first four did? Castro: Look at where we were as a nation when President Obama took office. We were losing $750,000 jobs. And look at where we are now with 4.5 million new jobs created. That’s more than was created under the previous administration’s eight years. So, President Obama, whether he’s speaking to young folks or folks who are very well established needs to lay out the case for where we were as a nation and where we are today and, more importantly, what he’s going to do in the future.


Julian Castro Profile: Democrats’ up-and-comer- 4:41 p.m. ET – From Elizabeth Hartfield:

Castro’s biography is one of ambition, charisma and early success. He was introduced to politics at an early age by his mother, Rosie, who was part of a movement in Texas that fought for Mexican American civil rights. Castro, along with his identical twin brother Joaquin, received his undergraduate education at Stanford University and then went onto Harvard Law School. He moved quickly from Harvard into politics. At age 26 he was elected city councilman in San Antonio, the youngest city councilman in the city’s history. He was elected mayor in 2009 at the age of 34 and won reelection last year with more than 80 percent of San Antonio’s vote.

The full story from Hartfield. DNC offers this glossy feel-good video about their keynoter:

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Image: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Nicki Minaj – Seriously for Romney?Hmmm – But in a new Lil Wayne track – ‘Mercy’ – she raps:

“I’m a Republican voting for Mitt Romney/You lazy [expletive] is [expletive] up the economy.”

More from ABC’s Abby Phillip. No bounce for Romney – 4:03 p.m. ET – Per Gallup, which keeps a daily tracking:

“Mitt Romney received no convention bounce, based on Gallup Daily tracking before (47%) and after (46%) last week’s Republican National Convention. He joins John Kerry and George McGovern as nominees who did not get a bounce.”

Joe Biden has landed in Charlotte, per ABC’s Arlette Saenz – 3:49 p.m. ET – DNC by the numbers – 4:07 p.m. ET dnc infographic Live Blog: Democratic National Convention 2012; Michelle Obama, Julian Castro

How Pennsylvania got the plummest hotel assignment in Charlotte – 3:10 p.m. ET – From ABC travel editor Genevieve Shaw Brown:

Some of the delegates of the Keystone State are the luckiest of all – their hotel ranks highest of all DNC hotels on TripAdvisor, coming in at No. 3 of 169. The Hampton Inn Charlotte – South Park gets great traveler reviews: “Quite upscale for a Hampton, including the TV in the bathroom mirror,” wrote one. “The bathrooms are sparkling,” noted another. “Beautiful property in a great location!” exclaimed a third. Full story here.

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Image credits: Paul Morigi/Getty Images; Rob Kim/Getty Images

Hillary, Al, Joe – Democrats skipping the convention – 2:18 p.m. ET – They are too busy, out of the country, frustrated with Obama or just out of favor. There are a bunch of Democrats skipping the convention in Charlotte. Amy Bingham breaks them down by type – cabinet officials, former nominees, lawmakers and more. They have last names like Clinton and Gore.

Read it here.

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Image Credit: Mary Altaffer/AP Photo

Meet Bowhunter and Buttercup – Paul and Janna Ryan get secret service codenames – 2:12 p.m. ET – ABC’s Shush Walshe reports that Paul Ryan, who has described the shaking in his leg he gets when he’s about to draw his bow and take out a deer, is a natural choice to be “Bowhunter.”

But his wife gets “Buttercup” after Princess Buttercup in the “Princess Bride.”

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Image Credit: Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

Michelle Obama will provide ‘character witness’ for Barack- 2:00 p.m. ET – Here’s a look at what Michelle Obama will say when she addresses the convention in the 10 p.m. ET hour. The president, by the way, will watch from the White House, where he expects to get misty.  From Amy Walter, Michael Falcone and Mary Bruce:

First lady Michelle Obama takes center stage on the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, and as one senior Obama campaign official told ABC News, she will be a “character witness” for the president’s decision-making process during troubled times.

The first lady will talk about “who the president is, the values that drive him, what motivates him,” and although the DNC will not have nightly themes like last week’s Republican National Convention, she will highlight the Democrats’ one big idea: “How you build an economy meant to last with a strong middle class at its core.”

As the first lady readies to rally her husband’s base in Charlotte tonight, President Obama, who will watch the speech on TV from the White House, is setting the bar high. Speaking Tuesday morning in the battleground state of Virginia, he said that the convention is “just like a relay, and you start out with the fastest person.” “Whatever I say here today, it’s going to be, at best, a distant second to the speech you will hear tonight from the star of the Obama family, Michelle Obama,” the president told a crowd of over 11,000 at Norfolk State University, the final stop on his “Road to Charlotte” tour.

Previewing Obama’s DNC speech- 1:00 p.m. ET – ABC News and Yahoo! News today conducted a special roundtable with president Obama’s campaign team. Campaign manager Jim Messina, spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter and spokesman Ben LaBolt talked about strategy, their plans for the convention, and suggested they don’t expect any bounce whatsoever.

“I think that what we want out of this convention is for people to understand that the president has made some very tough decisions over the course of the last four years because it was the right thing to do for the country, not because it was politically popular,” Cutter told the panel and audience that filled an auditorium at the NASCAR museum in Charlotte.

Ryan’s marathon embellishment mocked with ‘Paul Ryan Time’ running calculator – 12:08 p.m. ET – The Republican misstated his sole official marathon time during a radio interview over the weekend, shaving more than an hour off the 4 hours and change in which he ran a marathon at the age of 20. Ryan told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt he ran a marathon in less than three hours. Ryan quickly apologized and said his brother Tobin, who competed last year in the Boston Marathon, ribbed him at dinner. But a new online calculator keeps the issue alive. If you plug in your time, it calculates what a shorter, mistaken time would be. Check it out. Obama grades himself ‘incomplete’ on the economy – 9:00 a.m. ET – From Devin Dwyer and Jake Tapper:

With 63 days to go to the election, President Obama says he still deserves an “incomplete” – rather than a letter grade – when asked to rate his performance on fixing the economy. “You know, I would say incomplete,” Obama said in an interview with Boulder, Colo., TV station KKTV.

“But what I would say is the steps that we have taken in saving the auto industry, in making sure that college is more affordable and investing in clean energy and science and technology and research, those are all the things that we are going to need to grow over the long term,” he said. “One big piece of business that we still have to do is make sure our debts and deficits are brought under control, and I’ve put forward a balanced plan that would reduce our deficits by $4 trillion.”

But with just about two months until election day, is “incomplete” good enough to sell voters on another four years of President Obama? During anABC News / Yahoo roundtable with campaign staffers at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, ABC’s Jake Tapper asked Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter, “Does that answer cut it? An incomplete after a full term?” “Yeah, it does,” she argued. “Because, you know, once again I’ll remind you of what life was like when he took office. 800,000 jobs were lost in that month alone. 3.5 million in the 6 months prior. And, you know, pretty quickly he was able to turn job loss into job growth. But when he’s saying incomplete, it means a number of different things. One: we’re on a path forward. You know, we’re on our way up. And there is a lot more that he wants to get done. He’s not done yet.”

Warren says the real question isn’t “Are you better off,” but rather “Who’s got the best plan going forward?” – 8:00 a.m. ET Massachusetts Democrat gave Democrats’ response to a question that has befuddled party leaders since Paul Ryan raised it this week: Are you better off than you were four years ago?

“Mitt Romney has made clear what his plan is: cut taxes for the richest Americans and the biggest corporations, increase taxes on the middle class and don’t make any investments on the future. Barack Obama says that’s not the right way to do it. What we’re going to do is ask everyone to pay a fair share, not increase taxes on the middle class, and make investments in the kinds of things that help us build a future; education, roads and bridges. Two very different visions of how to go forward.”

Her full interview with Elizabeth Vargas on GMA (note – Warren sounds a bit hoarse one day before her speech to 20 million people):



Ryan: “General Motors isn’t alive in my home town!” – 7:38 a.m. ET Paul Ryan got some grief from fact checkers after his convention speech for seeming to blame President Obama’s policies for the closure of a Janesville, Wisc., GM plant that primarily closed when President Bush was still in office. Today on GMA, Ryan, who supported a bailout for the auto companies, told George Stephanopoulos that President Obama taking credit for saving the auto industry did not lead to that plant reopening. Specifically, Ryan was responding to the new bumper sticker slogan proposed for the Obama campaign by Vice President Joe Biden: “Osama bin Laden is dead and General motors is alive.” Biden has introduced the message to campaign rallies. Ryan also told George that independent tax analysts that have said his budget plan would raise taxes on middle income earners are wrong and he defended his budget proposal that maintains Medicare spending enacted by Democrats but criticized by other Republicans. Read about the whole Ryan/Stephanopoulos interview.

Watch it:


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