Entries in DNC (41)


Obama Taps Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Remain DNC Chair

Vallery Jean/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has tapped Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida to remain at the helm of the Democratic National Committee as the party looks toward the 2014 midterm election and an opportunity to solidify electoral gains.

“I’ve asked Debbie Wasserman Schultz to continue her excellent work as chair of the DNC,” Obama said on Twitter. “Thanks for all you do, Debbie.”  He signed the tweet “-bo,” signifying that he personally penned the message from his campaign’s @BarackObama account.

Schultz tweeted in reply, “Thank you, Mr. President. I am honored to serve. #Forward.”

Democrats will formally select their party leadership for the next cycle at their annual meeting in Washington on Jan. 22, the day after Obama’s inauguration. By tradition, members will affirm the president’s pick to lead the DNC.

While her effectiveness was reportedly questioned in some Democratic circles during the 2012 campaign, Schultz has been praised since Nov. 6 for helping to add Democratic seats in the House and Senate and keeping her home state of Florida blue for Obama.

Schultz has also been a shrewd fundraiser for Obama and Democrats and an outspoken advocate on the president’s behalf, particularly on women’s issues and in the Jewish community.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Michelle Obama: We're Better Off Today than Four Years Ago

ABC/Rick Rowell(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- As some Democrats waver over whether the country is “better off today than four years ago,” first lady Michelle Obama told ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer her answer is yes, and that Americans “are growing to understand just how much we’ve accomplished.”

The first lady pointed to the end of the war in Iraq, a planned departure from Afghanistan, and an economy “on the brink of collapse,” that’s “now consistently creating jobs.”

During an interview in Charlotte, the first lady also touted President Obama’s health care reform law.

“Our grandparents can afford their medicine,” she said.  “Our kids can stay on our health care until they’re 26 years old. I could go on and on and on.”

Democrats would like nothing more. Michelle Obama is, with former President Bill Clinton, among the party’s most popular figures. She also may be the president’s most powerful campaign surrogate.

“I didn’t think it was possible,” she said during her convention speech Tuesday night, “but, today, I love my husband even more than I did four years ago, even more than I did 23 years ago.”

Tune in to ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer and Nightline tonight to see Sawyer’s full interview with Michelle Obama.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Speaks to Supporters Unable to Attend Tonight's Speech

Official White House File Photo by Pete Souza(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- President Barack Obama told supporters in a conference call today that he regretted they wouldn’t be able to see him in person delivering his acceptance speech in Charlotte, N.C. on this final night of the Democratic National Convention.

Sixty-five thousand ticket holders learned yesterday that the location for the president’s speech had to be moved from a large outdoor stadium that holds 75,000 to a much smaller, indoor arena due to the threat of bad weather.

”It was a safety issue,” the president said in the five-minute call. “I couldn’t ask you to subject yourselves to severe thunderstorms.”

Obama called the situation “disappointing” and thanked those supporters, many of whom received their tickets by volunteering for the Obama campaign.

The president encouraged supporters to find a community watch party in their area so they could view his prime time speech together with other supporters.

“My main message is we can’t let a little thunder and lightning get us down,” he told listeners. “We just have to roll with it.”

To make it up to them, Obama promised his team would get them into one of his upcoming campaign events as he travels around the country in the next two months. “I hope to get to see all of you…hopefully you’ll have a closer front row seat.”

President Obama also briefly talked about the ongoing convention -- tonight being the last day of the 3-day gathering -- praising the many speakers and saying that last night’s nominating speech by Former President Bill Clinton “broke down the issues as effectively as anyone could.”

He implored grassroots supporters to work hard acknowledging that this is going to be a close election and asking them to talk about his accomplishments and vision “in clear contrast to what we saw in Tampa” referring to the Republican convention held there last week.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Steelworker Featured at DNC Didn’t Work for Bain

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- The Democratic National Convention on Wednesday featured three speakers billed as “former employees of companies controlled by Bain Capital.” They each told compelling stories about jobs lost, allegedly because of the actions of Bain under Romney’s leadership. But it turns out one of those employees never actually worked for a company controlled by Bain Capital.

David Foster was supposedly one of those former employees on the convention schedule. He told the story about 750 steelworkers who lost their jobs when the Bain-controlled company GST steel filed for bankruptcy in the early 1990s.

“In 2001, with GST bankrupt and Romney still CEO of Bain, I stood in front of hundreds of steelworkers in their 50s and 60s, and retirees in their 70s and 80s, and told them Romney and Bain had broken their promises. Jobs, vacation pay, severance, health insurance and pension benefits that were promised — they were all gone,” he said.

But Foster, according to a former spokesman for GST Steel, never actually worked for the company.

“David Foster was never an employee of GST Steel’s Kansas City plant. He was employed by the United Steelworkers of America as their regional union director to represent GST Steel, but was not employed at our facility,” according to BC Huselton, who was head of HR at GST.

Instead, Foster was a union organizer, who negotiated for workers that did work for the company.

Foster explained in his remarks that he was an organizer during his dealings with GST Steel. But it is not clear from the remarks that he never worked for a company controlled by Bain.

Foster was prominently featured in an Obama campaign video, “Romney economics,” where he is identified as lead negotiator for workers at GST Steel. In the video he explains that Bain executives took bonuses even as the company flailed. Politifact rated that Obama video “mostly true.”

An Obama campaign TV ad based on the story of a GST worker who suggests that his wife’s death from cancer years later was due in part to losing health insurance when the plant closed got a “false” from Politifact and drew criticism for being misleading.

But the Romney campaign has released its own version of what happened at GST Steel. The video features a former executive, Huselton, who says that Bain’s actions actually saved the company.

“There’s this vampire story that Bain comes in and shows its teeth and sucks the blood out of the operation,” says Huselton. “It’s really quite the opposite. We went out looking for a blood donor. Bain came in, and the way I look at it actually gave us a blood transfusion.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Michelle Obama Rallies Women Voters

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- First lady Michelle Obama, accompanied by Dr. Jill Biden, rallied women voters on the closing day of the Democratic National Convention, prodding them to work hard this election to ensure her husband is re-elected and highlighting their efforts to advance women’s rights.

“The values we are talking about are ones we all hold dear.  That hard work should be rewarded. That’s how we were raised. Everyone in this country has something special and valuable and that we should all have a fair chance to succeed if we’re willing to put that work in, which we are,” Michelle Obama said at the women’s caucus meeting. “There are women all over this country who are doing that work, playing that critical role in making that vision a reality because we have to work for that vision women.  It just doesn’t happen.”

“We can’t go back and fight the same battles we fought,” Dr. Jill Biden told the group.  “We’ve been fighting them for years and even decades and believe me, I’m old enough that I know those fights in the 60’s.”

Mrs. Obama explained her husband’s dedication to women’s issues saying, “my husband and his partner Joe Biden have had our backs as women every single day.”

“He will keep fighting every single day to ensure all of our daughters have no limits to their dreams.  That’s over.  That there are no second class citizens in our work place, that’s got to be over. That we as women can make our own decisions about our bodies and about our healthcare, that’s over,” the first lady said.  

As her husband prepares to address the convention Thursday evening, Mrs. Obama asserted that the week in Charlotte has been a success and noted “President Clinton did a phenomenal job” with his speech Wednesday night.

“I don’t know about all of you, but I think we have had a pretty amazing week here in Charlotte,” Mrs. Obama said. “And from the energy and enthusiasm we’re seeing, not just in the caucuses but in the streets — it’s just palpable. It’s so clear that people are fired up.”

Mrs. Obama asked everyone to prepare for the months ahead urging the crowd to “rest yourselves because I’m going to ask you to do some work,” and encouraged them to recruit their friends, donate to the campaign, and volunteer, especially in battleground states.

“If you don’t live in a battleground state, get to one. We all live near a battleground state, but we don’t live in one. Look around, this election is going to be won in those battleground states,” Mrs. Obama said. “This one could come down to those last few thousand votes in a single battleground states.”

“When you get up from those chairs and you walk out that room, the work begins . It continues for so many of us, but for some of us, it will begin,” Mrs. Obama said. “Do you understand the charge? Are you really fired up about the charge? Are you feeling ready to go about the charge? Because if you haven’t noticed, I’m pretty fired up and ready to go myself.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Hits ‘God’ Absence from DNC Platform

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(ADEL, Iowa) -- Paul Ryan weighed in Wednesday on the Democrats’ 2012 platform, which makes no reference to “God,” calling the omission “rather peculiar.”

“It’s not in keeping with our founding documents, our founding vision, but I guess you would have to ask the Obama administration why they purged all this language from their platform,” Ryan said on Fox News.

The word God is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. The word “Nature’s God” appears once in the Declaration of Independence, alongside mention of the word “Creator.”

The new platform refers to faith, saying it “has always been a central part of the American story.”  It also says the U.S. was founded on the principle of religious freedom and the ability of people to worship as they please. It praises the work of faith-based organizations.

Republicans have sought to highlight the absence of the word God from Democrats’ platform. “God” was mentioned once in Democrats’ 2008 platform. The 2012 GOP platform mentions God 12 times. Democrats also left out two sentences from the platform draft that identified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and a pledge to “isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism.”

As for leaving out the mention of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Ryan called it “tragic” because “this is one of the few issues where the Republican Party and the Democratic Party agreed.”

Jerusalem is declared the capital of Israel in the RNC platform.

“To see this kind of language, this acknowledgement removed from their party platform is really kind of disappointing,” Ryan said.

At a rally in Iowa, Paul Ryan mentioned the DNC again, previewing Bill Clinton’s speech to the Democratic National Convention this evening saying he thinks the former president will look back at the time he was in the White House rather than the “last four years.”

“We are going to hear from President Clinton tonight in Charlotte,” Ryan said. “My guess is we will get a great rendition of how good things were in the 1990s, but we’re not going to hear much about how things have been the last four years.”

Ryan even mentioned some of Clinton’s successes including welfare reform and accused President Obama of “rolling back welfare reform.”  He noted that Clinton worked across the aisle with Congress, while Obama is a “gusher of new spending and only demagoguery from those of us who have offered solutions.”

“Under President Clinton, we got welfare reform,” Ryan told a crowd of several hundred people. “Chuck Grassley, everybody else in Congress — we got welfare reform, which moved people from welfare to work to get people out of poverty. President Obama is rolling back welfare reform. President Clinton worked with Republicans in Congress to have a budget agreement, to cut spending.”

Ryan’s welfare attack has been widely debunked. Instead of “rolling back” the work requirement, the Obama administration is responding to requests from both Democratic and Republican governors to allow states to apply for a waiver to administer the work requirements in their states. The Romney campaign has used this as a line of attack, accusing the president of wanting to gut the work requirement.

The Obama campaign immediately responded, calling the attack a “lie.”

“While the Congressman has proven his willingness to ignore the truth, even he should know that President Clinton has joined with every independent fact checker, news organization, and a Republican architect of welfare reform in calling the welfare attack blatantly false,” Obama spokesperson Danny Kanner said in a statement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dems Shift Language on Israel, Remove ‘God-Given’ from Platform

Alex Wong/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — For Democrats, there is no God in 2012 — at least as far as the party’s platform is concerned. Nor is there a Jerusalem. Democrats removed those two words, and the passages surrounding them, from the 2012 party platform as it was released this week.

In Charlotte on Monday, the Democratic National Committee released its 2012 party platform after the DNC Platform Committee approved it under the leadership of Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker. The Platform Drafting Committee, led by Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, gathered feedback for an initial draft in Minneapolis over the summer.

Gone are three sentences identifying Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. There is no mention of Jerusalem in the 2012 document, after the 2008 version included this mention:

  • Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.

Also gone is this reference to Hamas:

  • The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.

President Obama has publicly endorsed a two-state solution for Israel. Disagreements between his administration and Israel have at times become public, as the president has opposed new settlement construction, and the Jewish state’s more hawkish supporters have relentlessly criticized him for his handling of U.S./Israeli relations.

“The Obama Administration has followed the same policy towards Jerusalem that previous U.S. Administrations of both parties have done since 1967,” a DNC spokeswoman said of the change in platform language. “As the White House said several months ago, the status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final status negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians – which we also said in the 2008 platform. We will continue to work with the parties to resolve this issue as part of a two state solution that secures the future of Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland of the Jewish people.”

Also gone is a previous reference to “God.”

The Democratic Party’s 2008 platform mentioned “God” once, in this passage (emphasis added):

  • We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.

Explaining the removal, a Democratic official explained: “The 2008 platform reference is ‘God-given’ and is about growing the middle class and making America fair, not actually about faith. The platform includes an entire plank on the importance of faith based organizations and the tremendous work that they do. Further, the language we use to talk about faith and religion is exactly the same vocabulary as 2008. I would also note that the platform mentions: ‘faith’ 11 times; ‘religion’ or ‘religious’ 9 times; ‘church’ 2 times (one is a quote); and, ‘clergy’ 1 time.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Campaign Team Previews Thursday Speech

ABC News(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- The Obama campaign team assembled in the NASCAR Hall of Fame on the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. – appropriate for their campaign slogan, “Forward” – but also illustrative of the reality that they have a lot more laps to go before the checkered flag waves.

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter and campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt sat down today with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer and Jake Tapper and Yahoo News’ Olivier Knox for a breakfast panel to talk about polls, empty chairs and what Americans – and Obama – can expect to get out of the convention.

“I think that what we want out of this convention is for people to understand that the president has made some very tough decisions over the course of the last four years because it was the right thing to do for the country, not because it was politically popular,” Cutter told the panel and audience that filled the auditorium.

“Number two, to understand that there is a choice in this election and a pretty stark choice between the direction of the country and how we want to build our economy,” she said. “And, number three, a path forward for people walking out of that stadium on Thursday night or turning off their TV or leaving one of our watch parties – there are thousands of watch parties that are happening all over the country that are happening organically.  It’s not something that we’re organizing.”

What the Obama campaign isn’t expecting? A bounce in the polls. Friday’s Gallup poll showed Mitt Romney received no lift from the RNC.

“We’re not predicting a bounce because this race is so close, I think it’s difficult for any extreme movement in any direction,” Cutter said.

Bounce or no bounce, one thing that could put a damper on Thursday’s big night is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly jobs report, which comes out Friday morning. Messina and Cutter said they did not know whether the president will receive numbers before Friday, but when asked whether Americans would look at Friday’s numbers as shorthand for a message on where the economy is going, the team rejected the idea.

“I think they’re going to look at the past four years, the fact that the economy was in a freefall when the president came into office, that we’d lost more than 3 million jobs in the final six months of the prior administration,” LaBolt said. “They’ll look at the progress that’s been made and they’ll ask, ‘Who’s got the better plan to restore economic security for the middle class?’”

Turning from the Democratic Convention, the panel couldn’t help but ask about the most buzzed-about moment at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., last week. Clint Eastwood’s conversation with “President Obama,” invisible in a chair onstage, made waves online instantly, and Thursday night the Obama campaign joined the fray.

Obama’s Twitter account tweeted, “This seat’s taken,” with a photo of Obama sitting in a chair labeled “The President.”

Messina clarified that it wasn’t Obama who sent it. “When he authorizes a tweet, it says ‘B.O.’ on it.  And then if it’s not, then it’s us, it’s the campaign,” he said.  “So, look, we were trying to have a little fun here and, you know, politics has to be fun, too.  It can’t always be serious.  And, you know, we use social media to be fun, as you do.”

Throughout the conversation, Team Obama seemed to bring up one theme again and again: work in progress. Cutter said we should expect to hear this in Obama’s speech Thursday.

“You’ll hear the president say we’ve made progress, absolutely we’ve made progress,” she said.  “We are better off than we were four years ago.  But that is not good enough.  We are not done yet.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Michelle Obama: President's 'Character Witness' at Convention

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- First lady Michelle Obama takes center stage on the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, and as one senior Obama campaign official told ABC News, she will be a "character witness" for the president's decision-making process during troubled times.

The first lady will talk about "who the president is, the values that drive him, what motivates him," and although the DNC will not have nightly themes like last week's Republican National Convention, she will highlight the Democrats' one big idea: "How you build an economy meant to last with a strong middle class at its core."

As the first lady readies to rally her husband's base in Charlotte tonight, President Obama, who will watch the speech on TV from the White House, is setting the bar high. Speaking Tuesday morning in the battleground state of Virginia, he said that the convention is "just like a relay, and you start out with the fastest person."

"Whatever I say here today, it's going to be, at best, a distant second to the speech you will hear tonight from the star of the Obama family, Michelle Obama," the president told a crowd of over 11,000 at Norfolk State University, the final stop on his "Road to Charlotte" tour.

With her high favorability, the first lady is viewed as one of the Obama campaign's greatest assets. In her opening-night speech to the Democratic convention, she is expected to lay out a personal view of the president's vision for the future of the country.

While the first lady is expected to set a positive tone, she will likely draw not-so-subtle contrasts between her husband's background and that of his wealthier rival Mitt Romney.

"I remind people that Barack knows what it means when a family struggles," she told supporters in Davenport, Iowa, last month. "And he knows what it means to want something better for your kids and your grandkids. And that's why I love him, and that's why I will have his back forever."

While his wife takes center stage, the president remains in Washington, where he will watch the convention on TV.

"I'm going to be at home, watching it with my girls and I'm going to try not to let them see their daddy cry," Obama said. "Because when Michelle starts talking, I start getting all misty."

Obama will head to North Carolina Wednesday afternoon ahead of his acceptance speech Thursday night.

Michelle Obama will be introduced by Elaine Brye of Winona, Ohio. According to the Obama campaign, Brye is a mother of five, four of whom are currently serving in the military.

"A teacher, wife, and mom, Elaine's connection to the service is deep-rooted: She grew up with a father who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam," the campaign said.

The Democrats will spotlight other Americans like Brye throughout the week as they push three main messages, according to senior campaign officials.

First, the convention will frame the 2012 election as a "choice between the president's vision for the economy vs. Mitt Romney's vision for the economy."

Second, all week long the campaign plans to walk through some of the tough decisions President Obama has made during his first term, such as passing health care reform and bailing out the automobile industry.

Third, the Democrats will "lay out a path forward" -- essentially pushing the vision thing.

"We didn't hear anything last week from Mitt Romney about where he wanted to take the country or any tangible plan to do it," an Obama campaign adviser said. "You'll hear that here. You'll hear concrete, workable, clear plans of how to move this country forward."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Plenty of Big Names But No Surprises at DNC

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- As of now, there are no surprise speakers scheduled to talk to an empty chair at the Democratic National Convention that kicks off Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.

Rather, Democrats hope to stay on message as they prepare to renominate President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

On Tuesday, the convention will hear from first lady Michelle Obama and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, actor Kal Penn and former President Jimmy Carter via video.

Wednesday's highlights include former President Bill Clinton formally nominating Obama for reelection, U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and various Democratic governors and Cabinet officials.

Thursday's speakers include Caroline Kennedy, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, actress Eva Longoria and, of course, acceptance speeches by Obama and Biden.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio