Unconventional at the DNC: Monday's quick hits
Published: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 - 8:11pm
Chris Matthews, star of MSNBC's "Hardball," meets with fans after taping a show Monday in Denver. Gargoyle photo by Will Fernandez (click to enlarge)
Note: In addition to his longer stories from the Democratic National Convention, Will Fernandez is posting some of his shorter observations of what's going on in Denver this week. To read his first batch of "quick hits," click here.
“Hardball” Found With Ease on the Street
Strolling down the street, we came upon an open-air studio broadcasting MSNBC’s “Hard Ball with Chris Matthews” as its host interviewed House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the third-highest ranking member in the U.S. House.
During the primary season in South Carolina, he was the black congressman who took former President Bill Clinton to task for making comments that were viewed by some as racist. Matthews asked him about the incident.
The congressman said the former president has “no racist bone in his body” but that we all need to “be very careful what we say … because things can come back and hurt others.”
After the interview Matthews came out and spoke to the audience. Congressman Clyburn recognized my father, who worked for U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-SC) in the 1980s, and spoke briefly with us.
What He Should Have Said …
On a bus ride from one event to another, I met State Rep. George Scully Jr., a Democrat from Flossmoor (south of Chicago), and his wife, Barbara. Eager to teach a young man interested in politics, he told me that what John McCain and his campaign had to say about his seven homes was a political gaffe that could have been easily avoided.
“He should have replied,” said Scully, “ ‘I have one home but my wife and I own several properties, including one our daughter lives in.’ ”
Will Fernandez and his father, Mike Fernandez, striking a pose on Union Pacific's whistlestop train. Photo courtesy Will Fernandez (click to enlarge)
Denver is a hub for the Union Pacific railroad. Taking advantage of that, the company brought some of its historic cars near Denver’s Union Station and linked them as part traveling museum and part facility to host events for delegates.
From the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, passenger trains played an instrumental role in major political campaigns.
According to Union Pacific’s senior vice president of corporate relations Bob Turner, one of the first successful presidential candidates to travel by rail to campaign stops was Illinois’ own Abraham Lincoln. After Lincoln was assassinated, his casket visited every state in the Union at that time by rail before arriving in Springfield, Ill., “a journey that took more than six months.”
“The first photos we have of a politician actually making whistlestops at train stations and campaigning from the back-end of the last car are of Theodore Roosevelt,” said Turner. “Because of his polio and weak legs, FDR [Franklin Delano Roosevelt] used them more than most.”
I used the occasion to strike my own pose for the ages.
National Lampoon’s “Vacation” to be Replaced by National Lampoon’s “Convention”?
I spotted comedian and movie actor Chevy Chase on my way to the Pepsi Center last night, as he was cutting up with some local police officers working the convention.
He mugged for cameras and affably spoke with delegates. I asked him for an autograph. He thanked me for my pen!
Remaining Schedule for the Democratic National Convention
Note: All events listed below will take place at the Pepsi Center unless otherwise noted.
Tuesday, Aug. 26: Renewing America’s Promise
• Headline prime-time speaker: Former presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York
• Keynote speaker: former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner
• Other speakers include pay equity pioneer Lilly Ledbetter, Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona, Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, Sen. Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and House Democratic Caucus Chair Rahm Emanuel
Wednesday, Aug. 27: Securing America’s Future
• Headline prime-time speaker: Barack Obama’s vice presidential nominee, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware
• Featured speakers will include former President Bill Clinton, former Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley
Thursday, Aug. 28: Change You Can Believe In
• On Thursday night, the DNCC will throw open the doors of the convention and move to INVESCO Field at Mile High so that more Americans can be a part of the fourth night of the convention as Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination
• Additional details of the program preceding Obama’s acceptance speech to be announced