CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Mitt Romney, who?
She didn't have to say the name of her husband's Republican opponent once from the podium at the Democratic National Convention last night, but First Lady Michelle Obama managed to deliver a stinging, yet subtle, rebuke of the GOP candidate's values and approach.
"For Barack, success isn't about how much money you make, it's about the difference you make in people's lives," Mrs. Obama said.
She also offered a clear rebuttal to Republicans who claim that Obama has tried to demonize Romney's wealth.
"They didn't begrudge anyone else's success or care that others had much more than they did. In fact, they admired it," Mrs. Obama said.
She noted that President Obama "believes that when you've worked hard and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you."
The First Lady cast herself and her husband as people who are intimately familiar with the problems of the middle class.
"Barack knows what it means when a family struggles," she said. "Barack knows the American Dream because he's lived it."
As ABC's Jonathan Karl put it: "It was an a-political speech that was so political."
On the whole, the Democrats' first night in Charlotte offered a contrast - both in message and energy - to the GOP's confab last week in Tampa, and Team Obama hopes to keep the momentum going tonight when former President Bill Clinton takes the stage.
NOTED: ABC's Z. Byron Wolf reports that the end of Mrs. Obama's speech drove a higher Tweets-per-minute peak than Mitt Romney's speech at the Republican Convention last week - 28,003 for Obama vs. 14,289 for Romney.
READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF MICHELLE OBAMA'S SPEECH HERE: http://abcn.ws/NQR9bn
ABC's AMY WALTER: What's fascinating about tonight's line-up is the seeming contradiction between the two prime-time speakers. Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren is a populist firebrand with her own "you didn't build that" stump speech. President Clinton is the centrist Democrat who once declared that the era of big government is over. This, in essence, is the balancing act that Obama must walk as well. Obama must find a way to convince voters that a proactive government is going to return America to the prosperous Clinton years, and not to, as Paul Ryan now argues, the malaise of the Carter era.
ABC's RICK KLEIN: Michelle Obama didn't have to say Mitt Romney's name once to attack Mitt Romney. It wasn't just that the other speaker served their fillets of red meat in adequate dosages - it was the way she cast the Obamas' story as that of the nation's, of "so many of us," as the first lady put it. A president known for being aloof and a touch elite is having his loved ones and occasional friends vouch for him. But if the first lady brought the nation back the man it fell in love with, it's left to Bill Clinton to rekindle affection for his policies tonight.
OBAMA DIPS, ROMNEY BOUNCES IN LATEST ABC NEWS POLL. ABC's Gary Langer reports, 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. FULL RESULTS: http://abcn.ws/O9usF7
with ABC's Elizabeth Hartfield ( @LizHartfield)
OBAMA, CLINTON FUNDRAISER GETS SPOT ON NATIONAL SECURITY PANEL. For one of President Obama's top fundraisers, the appointment last year to an elite group of State Department security advisors appeared to be an odd fit, reports ABC's Brian Ross, Matthew Mosk and Megan Chuchmach. Rajiv Fernando, a Chicago securities trader, has never touted any international security credentials, yet he was appointed alongside an august collection of nuclear scientists, former cabinet secretaries and members of Congress to advise Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on crucial security matters. One current member of the International Security Advisory Board told ABC News that none of the other members could figure out who Fernando was or why he was there. Fernando, president of Chopper Trading, has distinguished himself in one way, though. He is one of the most prolific bundlers of campaign contributions for President Obama's reelection, raising more than $500,000 this cycle. Prior to his State Department appointment, Fernando gave between $100,000 and $250,000 to the William J. Clinton Foundation, and another $30,000 to a political advocacy group, WomenCount, that has indirectly helped Hillary Clinton retire her lingering campaign debts. How Fernando found a place on the intelligence panel remains an unanswered question. Fernando declined repeated requests to be interviewed over the past several months. When he was approached by ABC News this week in his hotel lobby, he turned away from cameras, asked hotel security to arrest the reporters, and at one point grabbed an ABC News camera and apparently attempted to break it. http://abcn.ws/NcuLxp
LIVE BLOG: DNC NIGHT 1. Missed something from night one of the DNC? Follow the night from start to finish- the 5pm gavel-in to the 11:30pm twitter frenzy over FLOTUS's speech- on our ABC News live blog where you can see the speech highlights, plus on the ground color from our team in Charlotte. http://abcn.ws/RD50XH
DEMOCRATS LAMPOON ROMNEY, DEFEND OBAMA ON NIGHT ONE OF DNC. ABC's Russell Goldman reports, Democrats defended President Obama as a man who is "betting on the American worker" and lampooned Mitt Romney as someone "who is betting on a Bermuda shell corporation" on the opening night of their presidential convention Tuesday night. They defended Obama as a president who saved the country from a Depression and ridiculed Romney as someone "whose money needs a passport." http://abcn.ws/RKsvdo
PAUL RYAN: FACT CHECK FURY COULD THREATEN POLITICAL BRAND. ABC's Greg Krieg reports, the Wisconsin congressman's positions on debt and deficit reduction have never been about political posturing, supporters say. Rather, they are the logical result of years spent mining the numbers, just a man and his calculator, making dire calculations about the country's fiscal path. And yet, less than four weeks since being introduced as Mitt Romney's running mate, Ryan has given rise to a furious fact-check revolution, with analysts saying his claims - about everything from Health Care reform to his best marathon time - could imperil what many had painted as his cardinal virtue - honesty. http://abcn.ws/Q0apHZ
CORY BOOKER BACK IN FAVOR AT DNC. Newark Mayor Cory Booker, once "nauseated" by Obama campaign tactics, settled his stomach and delivered a rousing address in support of the president's re-election bid during the Democratic National Convention reports ABC's Greg Krieg… It marked a stirring return to the campaign's good graces for Booker, who on May 20 told NBC's "Meet the Press" he found the Obama camp's attacks on Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital "nauseating." http://abcn.ws/OkPyfo
DNC 2012: ELIZABETH WARREN TO INTRODUCE BILL CLINTON AND HERSELF WEDNESDAY. Massachusetts residents know her well, but tonight marks the introduction of Massachusetts Senate candidate and Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren to the national stage reports ABC's Elizabeth Hartfield. Warren, 63, is running in what will be one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country this cycle, against Republican incumbent Scott Brown. But the choice to give Warren a coveted prime time speaking slot - introducing Bill Clinton - is not merely a Democratic ploy to raise her profile in the race. http://abcn.ws/RkuLaR
DEMS WARN AKIN COULD STILL WIN MISSOURI. ABC's Chris Good reports, Despite Todd Akin's apparent campaign implosion, the Democrats' top Senate-campaign strategist thinks the Missouri Senate race will be a close one. "I think that his obituary was written prematurely," Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Executive Director Guy Cecil told reporters at a briefing at the Charlotte Convention Center. People "that know Missouri expect it to be a competitive race," Cecil said. http://abcn.ws/O9OW0l
MICHAEL DUKAKIS SAYS MITT ROMNEY WAS A DISASTEROUS LEADER. Michael Dukakis said there is something Americans need to know about Mitt Romney: the "absolute mess" he made of Massachusetts when he was governor of the state. "When he was governor, my state was 47th out of 50th in job creation under this guy, who by the way, when he ran for governor said exactly the same thing, that he was a business guy, knew all about the economy, and, he really was a disastrous economic leader," Dukakis, who is also a former governor of Massachusetts and was the Democratic presidential candidate in 1988, told ABC News' Jonathan Karl. http://abcn.ws/TkBFSb
REV. JESSE JACKSON: NO GUESS WHEN SON WILL RETURN TO CONGRESS. ABC's Jon Karl and Julie Percha report, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has been absent from Congress for almost three months - and today, his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, said he could not even guess when his son might return to Capitol Hill. "I don't want to hazard a guess," Jackson said in an interview on the ABC News/Yahoo Democratic National Convention live stream. "I mean, I'm a father in this, not - not medical adviser," he said. "He must make that decision as to whether … he can continue to serve." http://abcn.ws/PZFxHx
DEBT TOPS $16 TRILLION AS DNC OPENS. ABC's John Parkinson and Julie Percha report, The national debt has reached an all-time high of $16 trillion, according to the Treasury Department. The new debt figures came out just hours before the three-day Democratic National Convention kicked off in Charlotte, N.C., fueling new GOP attacks against President Obama and his spending policies. "Today's news is another sad reminder of President Obama's broken promise to cut the deficit in half," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a statement today. "This debt is a drain on our economy and a crushing burden on our kids and grandkids, and it's yet another indication that the president's policies have made things worse." http://abcn.ws/R4UQ3e
DEMOCRATS SHIFT LANGUAGE ON ISRAEL, REMOVE 'GOD' FROM PLATFORM. For Democrats, there is no God in 2012 - at least as far as the party's platform is concerned. Nor is there a Jerusalem. Democrats removed those two words, and the passages surrounding them, from the 2012 party platform as it was released this week. In Charlotte on Monday, the Democratic National Committee released its 2012 party platform after the DNC Platform Committee approved it under the leadership of Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker. The Platform Drafting Committee, led by Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, gathered feedback for an initial draft in Minneapolis over the summer. Gone are three sentences identifying Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, now and forever. http://abcn.ws/RI4cgn
NOTED: The Romney campaign wasted no time responding to this, calling the platform language with regards to Israel "shameful" in a statement. "It is unfortunate that the entire Democratic party has embraced President Obama's shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel's capital" the statement read.
CLINTON CARVES A LEGACY OF GIVING (TO HIS PARTY TOO.) The New York Times' Amy Chozick reports: "In a speaking slot typically reserved for the vice president, Mr. Clinton will place Mr. Obama's name into nomination. The invitation serves as a reminder of how far Mr. Clinton has come in four years to refurbish his image and restore his frayed relationship with the Democratic Party after Mr. Obama defeated his wife in the 2008 presidential primary campaign. And it shows how much Mr. Obama has come to rely on a predecessor he once criticized to serve as both role model and validator. For many Democrats, Mr. Clinton's renewed stature and his appeal to rural and white working-class voters, a vital group that Mr. Obama has struggled to connect with, make him both an ally of the current administration and a constant reminder of its political shortcomings." http://nyti.ms/PGEpp7
AT DNC, A REASON TO PARTY. The Washington Post's Philip Rucker and Eli Saslow report: "The first day of the 2012 Democratic National Convention began with an attempt to move past the months of divisive campaigning and years of difficult governing that preceded it. Delegates were welcomed to Charlotte with yoga at 7 a.m. on a grassy lawn decorated with plastic donkeys. There was a policy summit titled "Obama: The Promise and the Plan." There were dueling afternoon bar crawls and then batting practice for donors in the minor league baseball stadium. By the time Michelle Obama walked onstage for her prime-time speech, the emerging theme of the convention was being displayed on a hand-held sign near the entrance. "Don't Be Afraid to Celebrate!" it read. http://wapo.st/Qkn0oT
IN THE NOTE'S INBOX:
-MASSACHUSETTS GOP RELEASES NEW WEB VIDEO 'ELIZABETH WARREN MEET THE PEOPLE OF CHEROKEE, NC.' Ahead of her address at the DNC tonight, the Massachusetts Republican party released a new web video this morning titled "Elizabeth Warren, Meet the People of Cherokee, NC." The ad, which runs one minute, 46 seconds long, was filmed on a Cherokee Indian reservation in North Carolina, about three hours outside of Charlotte, and the video shows footage tribe members criticizing Warren for identifying as Native American to some of her employers. WATCH: http://bit.ly/ThIw0h