Live from the Colorado Democratic Party Convention – Day Two
More news and observations from the final day of the Colorado Democratic Party Convention.
An estimated 10,000 party faithful are expected to attend the state convention at Colorado Springs’ World Arena.Saturday, 9:05 Goin’ to the WA
Bus service from the DoubleTree to the World Arena came in handy. Ran into Sen. Ken Salazar and Rep. Diana DeGette. The parking lot was full by about 7:30 a.m. CD4 delegate confirmed that they ended their convention/assembly at midnight on Friday.
10:05 a.m. SURPRISE! The convention starts on time!
10:15 a.m. Gov. Bill Ritter at the podium
“Wind of change is sweeping through this country now. We need to have an energy policy that’s meaningful not only to us in Colorado but for to the planet. We need to lead the charge in global warming. Colorado is showing the way. It is about the promise of this country, we will take risks to take on challenges and Democrats will work everyday to get it done.
10:20 a.m. Anti-war protesters arrested outside the arena
Media reports coming out of the Springs note that Eric Verlo and Peter Froese were arrested this morning for leaving the “Free Speech Zone” outside the World Arena to display an anti-war banner.
Colorado Confidential reported last year on the arrests of Verlo and members of Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission at the Colorado Springs St. Paddy’s Day parade — which resulted in an internal police probe following injuries suffered by those arrested.
10:30 Sen. Ken Salazar is next, in his white hat, jeans and jean jacket.
“We are going to end the Bush-Cheney rule and have a president named Obama or Clinton. Democrats will be united to restore America. We will bring the war in Iraq to an end. Democrats will bring healthcare for all Americans and not for the few.”
10:40 Rep. Diana DeGette stirs up the convention
Ready to turn Colorado completely blue? I’ve spoken before the Democratic National Convention and this looks so much more awesome. We are unified and committed to winning in November. We are going to mop the floor with John McCain. Why is this election the most important in our lifetime? It’s the time for quality healthcare for all. It’s about time to protect the environment for us and our children. And it’s time to pass my step cell legislation. We need to end the unjust war, not in 100 years, but next year. Notice that the Democrats took the last three special congressional district elections.” (“Yes, we can” reverberates through the crowd.)
10:59 a.m. Rep. John Salazar, also in a white hat
“We’re going to have a Democrat in the White House. It is only us and only you who can defeat ourselves. Until we know who the presidential nominee is, the important thing would be for all of us to work together.”
11:05: Rep. Ed Perlmutter jumps on stage to the theme of Rocky.
“Change began in the 2006 and must continue in 2008. We passed a minimum wage law and we made a college education more affordable. Our work is not complete. We can’t afford another term [like that of] George Bush. No more eavesdropping, which is against the Constitution. This is hard work to change the direction of the country. Every single day must be about changing. Each one of you knows we have huge challenges in front of us. Who’s ready to start? Who’s ready to change the White House? (Everyone jumps out of his or her chair and cheers.) After this primary season is finished, we have to come together. Change begins here in Colorado Springs.
(A side note: Every time there is mention of the U.S. getting out of the Iraq War, the audience cheers.)
11:15 a.m.: The nomination of Rep. Mark Udall as the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate begins
Wilma and Wellington Webb lead off a dozen or so people who nominate and second the nomination. Lights are dimmed to play a video about Udall, who, surrounded by supporters slowly weaves his way through the crowd to the stage with the spotlight on him — is that supposed to be symbolic of a “light in the darkness?”
Udall talks about breaking our addiction to foreign oil. “There’s good news, there’s answers and Colorado is leading the way. I helped make Colorado one of the leaders of renewable energy. We can’t deal with another year of an energy policy written by the oil companies.” He also talks about helping families by improving the economy and the failed Bush Administration’s foreign policy. “I opposed the Iraq War from the start” gets a standing ovation. However, there are still some anti-war shouts from the crowd during his speech. “We are still Democrats in this room … as far as I know. We are all in this together, Democrats, independents and Republicans, too.”
Udall gets the nomination by acclamation. Ritter finishes by saying, “Let’s go win this.”
12:15 p.m.: The CD2 candidates are invited to take the stage.
Jared Polis gives a short speech. Joan Fitz-Gerald didn’t come; she’s walking her district, the audience is told. The third Democrat in the race, Will Shafroth, is petitioning on the ballot.
12:25 p.m.: Terry McAuliffe, Clinton’s campaign manager, stirs up the crowd
He starts off talking more about Democrats winning in November than he does about Clinton. “It’s great to be in a Blue State and it’s going to be one unified party of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.” When he claims that out of 35 million people who have voted in the primary, Clinton has more popular vote than Obama, his comments set off a shouting match between the two camps. “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary” is drowned out by “Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama.” It takes about three minutes for the delegation to quiet down.
“Until we get to the end of the primaries, let’s have a healthy debate,” he continues. “Then we will move on to John McCain in the fall. George Bush has created a civil war in the Middle East.” The crowd boos. “This is our year,” McAuliffe continues, “And the Democrats will run the country again.”
1 p.m. The Platform
They saved the strongest position for last: Censure and Impeachment. No person is above the law. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have abused their power. They should be investigated, censured and, if appropriate, impeached.
The crowd goes wild.
Other platform positions adopted underscore commitment to a strong economy and jobs creation; campaign, election and media reform; and reproductive choice. Also top platform positions:
— Supporting the “immediate, safe and responsible withdrawal” of U.S. troops from Iraq.
— Denouncing the use of torture
— Strong public education.
— Energy – Colorado should be a national leader in sustainable energy development
— Science and technology – “We believe in the power of the human mind” – and not politicizing scientific studies.
1:10 p.m.: Democratic State Senate and Representatives – show and tell
Senate President Peter Groff introduces current members of the state senate and also the 2008 candidates. “We don’t stop at president or congressional candidates on the ballot, vote for all Democrats on the ticket.”
House Speaker Andrew Romanoff recognizes the Democratic representatives – and the candidates they are running for open and currently GOP-occupied seats. Introducing Anna Lord, who is challenging Republican Rep. Bob Gardner in Colorado Springs this year, Romanoff says of El Paso County, “We’re slowly turning it from a deep and ugly red to a bright and beautiful blue.” (Currently, two Democrats hold legislative seats from this Republican stronghold, more than in anyone’s memory)
Rep. Bernie Buescher from Mesa County steps up to the microphone and asks the state convention delegation to give their thanks to the term-limited Romanoff, who gets a standing ovation.
Leslie Robinson and Cara DeGette
1:30 p.m. – Betsy Markey, Hank Eng and Hal Bidlack come on up
“I’m Betsy Markey and I’m working very hard to retire Marilyn Musgrave,” says Markey, running for the 4th Congressional District. The cheers are very loud.
Eng, running in the 5th CD to replace Republican, talks for a really long time about restoring America’s dream.
“This administration has … taught this nation how to fear. We’re going to take this country back to the nation we all believe in.”
Eng, whose parents were Chinese immigrants, also spoke of the handful of Republicans vying to replace Tancredo. “They want to carry on the legacy of Tom Tancredo, ” Eng says. “Boooooo!” yells the crowd.
Hal Bidlack is running against whoever wins the Republican primary in the 5th CD – and whether the candidate is incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn, Jeff Crank or Bentley Rayburn, Bidlack says, “We can do better, we must do better.”
“This race is not about the left or the right; it’s about moving forward,” he says. And of Lamborn, who the Democrat calls being in “lockstep with the White House,” Bidlack says “He’s not a bad man, he just needs to find a different line of work.”
Bidlack sets some kind of record – he sticks to his four minutes of floor time.
2:20 Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano stumps for Obama
“I’m proud to be here for the Obama campaign and proud to nominate him for president of the United States,” Napolitano begins. “Why did I make this decision to support Obama? I was looking for a new president of this new century.”
“Obama, Obama, Obama” chants the audience for a couple of minutes.
“Welcome to the Obama team,” Napolitano continues. “I can tell already there are a lot of people who already made up their mind.” More cheering and whistling. “I have this message: we are not done yet. We need to reach out to other Democrats for the next president, Barack Obama.” Clinton supporters start booing, but then Napolitano mentions Sen. John McCain and the boos blend into the whole delegation.
“Don’t underestimate McCain — we’re going to be more tireless than he is and when we reach beyond this hall to other Coloradans, we have an important message to send fellow Americans – we can do better.”
“Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can,” the audience chants, echoing the continuing refrain of the day.
“Do you want a third term of the same? Do you want a McBush? We are all Democrats and this is our time to make our mark. Americans can do better and it’s time to make Barack Obama our next president,” Napolitano says. She gets a standing ovation as she leaves the stage and an Obama cardboard figure gets walked up and down the aisles in a flurry of Obama signs.
2:35 p.m.: A moment for Ted Kennedy
CDP Chair Pat Waak takes the stage to announce that U.S. Senator Kennedy is in the hospital for tests after suffering a seizure. “Let us send our good thoughts and prayers to him.”
3:10 p.m.: Stump speeches over; now to the business of voting
The state delegates are now going to make their selection for presidential preference. Voting will commence for the selection of Democratic National committee people and for the at-large and party leader national convention delegates, too. We will sign off now and give you the results when the state party makes them available.
Were you at the state Democratic convention? Add your comments on the event.
Leslie Robinson and Cara DeGette
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