Tuesday was a big day for Wisconsin at the Democratic National Convention, with two prominent officeholders speaking formally before the assembled delegates and media in Denver. Governor Jim Doyle and U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin each took the stage at the Pepsi Center to speak on the second day of the convention, which culminated in remarks by New York Senator and close presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"Renewing America's Promise" was the convention theme on Tuesday, and lineup of speakers leading up to Clinton reflected the breadth of the Democratic Party, with remarks by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, women elected to the U.S. Senate, and various labor leaders, along with a focus on the challenges and opportunities in the American economy.
Governor Jim Doyle spoke in the second hour of the program. An early and prominent supporter of Obama in Wisconsin, Doyle noted as much in his remarks.
"My family, I think, was among the earliest to endorse Barack Obama," declared Doyle. "I'd say it happened about five minutes into the keynote speech he delivered four years ago. I have asked all my family members why they support Senator Obama so strongly, but no one said it better than my 8-year-old grandson, Asiah. He said, 'We need a president who will work hard for us.' That's the wisdom of a child."
Along with his words of support for Obama and criticism of McCain, Doyle also noted the work of Merit Gear, an Antigo manufacturer of gearboxes that is finding new business in the renewable energy industry. Doyle's remarks are available online for viewing.
The full text of Doyle's remarks along with another video clip are provided here by the Democratic National Convention Committee.
Representative Tammy Baldwin spoke in the third hour of the program, and focused on her trademark issue of health care. This was her third consecutive speaking appearance at a national convention, and as she has previously, the representative from Madison emphasized the plight of Americans who are uninsured or underinsured as they face serious health issues."When the people of our great nation feel the American dream slipping out of their reach, we can't afford more of the same," said Baldwin. "Barack Obama is the change we need. For millions of hardworking Americans, many of them women, illness also means crushing debt. Half of all personal bankruptcies in this country are caused by catastrophic medical bills."
She went on to tell the story of a woman in Beloit whose insurance company used a loophole to deny treatment to her husband diagnosed with lung cancer. Baldwin's remarks are available online for viewing.
The full text of Baldwin's remarks along with another video clip are provided here by the Democratic National Convention Committee.
Media outlets of all sizes and formats are swarming the convention and its environs around Denver, meanwhile, but those reporting online continue to increase their presence and reach in this campaign. Both Wisconsin speakers were interviewed on Tuesday as part of the official YouTube convention coverage. Doyle speaks at length about his support for Obama (watch here) in his response, and Baldwin discusses the convention and her focus on health care (watch here) in her brief response. Other Wisconsinites interviewed in this YouTube series include State Senator Pat Kreitlow (watch here) from Chippewa Falls and delegate Mike Underhill (watch here) from Paddock Lake.
Baldwin and Doyle are the only elected officials from Wisconsin scheduled to speak formally at this year's Democratic National Convention. Other state Democrats are attending, though. Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl are in Denver, the latter serving in his traditional role as the host for the Wisconsin delegates' breakfast on Monday. Representatives Ron Kind and Gwen Moore are there too, but David Obey and Steve Kagan are not, the latter avoiding the fete as he is in the midst of a close rematch campaign with former Assembly Speaker and 2006 also-ran John Gard to represent the northeastern portion of the state covered in 8th Congressional District.
Wisconsin retains its swing state status, though this summer's polls within the state placing Obama anywhere between five and 13 points above McCain are at least making the race appear not as close as the final vote results over the last couple of presidential cycles. The race could very easily tighten up, though, particularly if the GOP strategy of holding their convention in the Twin Cities bolsters its chances in the Upper Midwest come November. The Republican National Convention in St. Paul begins on Labor Day.