Early Tuesday night, Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J., gave a rousing speech to an enthusiastic crowd at the Democratic National Convention. It wasn’t part of the main presentation, though, and that is no accident.
Remember that back in May, Booker told David Gregory of “Meet the Press” that President Barack Obama’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s time with Bain Capital were “nauseating to the American public.”
Still, Booker is very popular among Democrats and I have some female friends who would have staged a protest if he hadn’t been on the agenda. So he was given an early spot and tasked with introducing the party platform, which he did with flair — bringing the crowd to a standing ovation.
Not everyone was thrilled with Booker’s speech, though. As he spoke, Twitter lit up with criticism of his delivery.
Sample tweet: “Booker came for blood. He is so Jersey. Loud talking & finger pointing.” Later, one delegate told me it looked like a “Howard Dean moment,” in reference to the speech at which the former presidential candidate let out a particularly bizarre scream that is seen as having dashed his chance at election.
In fairness, Booker’s blustery tone might partly be explained by his less-than-stellar week. On Monday, an advertisement sponsored by Booker misspelled Obama’s name, asking the New Jersey delegation to “Re-Elect President Barak Obama.” And on Tuesday morning before the speech, he tripped and sprained his ankle. It’s enough to make anyone act Jersey.
Capacity for the Time Warner Cable Arena where the DNC has been taking place is 19,000. Capacity of the outdoor Bank of America Stadium, where Obama’s acceptance speech was supposed to be held, is almost 74,000. I was in the arena Wednesday morning when we received the announcement that the stadium event would be nixed owing to forecasts of bad weather. So I could hear the hoots and hollers from the makeshift network studios in the arena suites.
See, the technical staff was going to have to spend all night — possibly in the rain — setting up makeshift workspaces in the stadium. As one worker told me, “Looks like all those rain dances paid off.”
What about Osama?
According to the Ireland-based online betting site PaddyPower.com, the word Obama will use most frequently in his speech tonight is “jobs.” Other contenders are “housing,” “education” and “health care.”
It also says that odds are that Obama will lose North Carolina, but that he’ll win the election. If you disagree, tell your European friends to invest.
When the GOP platform was criticized by Democrats, concerns about anti-abortion and anti-pornography language were dismissed as silly fretting over a pointless document. House Speaker John Boehner said he hadn’t even seen his party’s platform and he’d never met anyone who had. After someone figured out the Democratic Party platform didn’t contain the word “God” (though it did say that faith is “a central part of the American story”), vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan wasted no time attacking the omission as a deviation from American tradition and “tragic.” Democrats later gave their blessing to adding “God” to the platform.