Ayanna and I have decided that in addition to giving our version of the inside scoop, we desperately need the outside scoop. As great as being at the convention is, you are definitely in the bubble. The schedule is so hectic that I’m not consuming anywhere near the amount of news and commentary I usually do, even in a non-convention week. We all know that things play differently on tv than they do in real life, so every night after leaving the hall there is this sense of “well, I know how it felt here, but what was the perception out in the real world?”
That said, here are my random observations from last night, which may well be totally off base from what the rest of the universe experienced at home and at all of the watch parties:
- The Vice President’s speech was a total failure. Important clarification: I measure the success of Joe Biden’s speeches on how many times he mentions Scranton, PA. For the first time in as long as I can remember, he had a Scranton count of ZERO! Kathryn Burton and I have been jokingly tracking Scranton shout-outs since we hit the trail there for Hillary 4 years ago. We were grossly disappointed last night.
- Not quite sure what I can say about the President’s speech that you haven’t already heard. All I know is that after 5+ hours of sitting and listening to speakers that evening (we all got to the hall super early to be sure we got in after the Wednesday night kerfluffle), by the end of his speech Barack Obama had the delegates cheering and leaping to our feet. Any exhaustion was long forgotten. He lit the hall on fire!
- I do not know anyone who wasn’t choked up watching Gabby Giffords with Debbie Wasserman Schultz. My mom has a special fondness for the two of them, after she experienced her own traumatic brain injury when she was 25. Gabby Giffords has been such an inspiration to my mom, who sees her own struggles from years ago in the Congresswoman’s current journey. She has told me several times how much she admires Debbie Wasserman Schultz for being such a supportive and steadfast friend. My mom didn’t get to watch last night because she was on the road, but I know she would have felt deeply moved by Gabby’s progress and the the relationship of those two women.
- Gov. Jennifer Granholm. WOW. Women’s political circles have been buzzing about her rock-star status for years, but WOW. Her speech was one of the loudest and most intense moments of the convention. Add my name to the list of people who are bummed that she was born in Canada and can’t run for President.
- Does anyone doubt that John Kerry has embraced his role as a senior statesman in our party and our government? He was so in command last night. There was lots of chatter in the MA delegation that this was one of the strongest Kerry speeches anyone had every seen.
- Various celebrity sightings: Chuck Todd, Piers Morgan, Brian Williams, Savannah Guthrie, James Taylor, Ed Rendell. A few distant pics are below.
- A big round of applause for James Taylor, the Foo Fighters, and Mary J. Blige. They did NOT dial it in. Marc Anthony also performed, but I missed it (and by missed it I mean was standing in line at the concession stand). James Taylor stopped by the MA delegation after his numbers. He was blowing us kisses and hung out for a while, taking pictures with lots of folks.
- Ayanna, Felix, and I braved the security lines together on our way in. When we walked into the giant entrance of the convention center James Taylor was on stage and his singing was being piped throughout the hall. AP and I started to sing along (she also started to dance – those who know me will know that I definitely did not join her on that). Felix looked at us like we were crazy. We informed him that we have big long-term plans to form a girl group. He did not seem a) impressed, or b) enthusiastic.
- My only real complaint about convention logistics was about the atrocious cell reception when you got inside the hall. There were free cell charging stations all around, but that was basically meaningless. Everyone I spoke to was complaining about the cell service, and it was especially strange since speakers we regularly encouraging us to use social media to get out the message of the convention. Other than the reception, things really did go quite smoothly all week. Lines moved at a reasonable pace, and the zillions of volunteers definitely displayed their famous southern hospitality. Very impressive. A tip of the hat to Convention CEO and MA native son, Steve Kerrigan for putting on a great show.
- I missed the balloon drop. The confetti drop was cool and all, but there is something about a balloon drop that just screams “political convention!” I’m sure cleaning up confetti is easier, but I was still wishing they had gone with balloons.
Ayanna and I have already parted ways. She is on her way to the airport. I’m checking out today and spending the night with my brother and his family here in Charlotte. I’ll be back in Brookline tomorrow. I’m counting down the hours until I see my dog again. Yes, I have become one of those obsessed dog people.
AP is going to post her thoughts on last night when she gets back, and then we’re going to do some joint stuff over the weekend, which I expect with largely consist of making fun of each other. She certainly gave me enough material!