The Chronicle Covers The Conventions

Hofstra’s student newspaper covers the national conventions.

Archive for August 2008

Big Protest Planned for RNC’s First Day

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ST. PAUL, Minn.–An anti-war protest expected to draw as many as 50,000 people will go on as planned Monday, while the Republicans scaled back their national convention due to the impending landfall of Hurricane Gustav.

The protest starts at 11 a.m. at the state capitol, and it will go from there to the XCel Energy Center, the convention hall, before heading back to the capitol for a musical performance.

The Chronicle will be on hand for the protest.

–Samuel Rubenfeld

Update: Nine people were arrested for trespassing during a protest Sunday.


Written by chroniclenews

August 31, 2008 at 11:35 pm

GOP Scales Back Convention’s First Day Due To Hurricane

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ST. PAUL, Minn.–Hurricane Gustav, now a Category 3 storm, caused the Republicans to scale back the first day of its national convention here so as not to appear celebrating while the Gulf Coast faces the largest natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina battered New Orleans and southern Mississippi in 2005.

President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, both scheduled to appear Monday, now will not attend the convention.

“All program activities beyond the official business that must be conducted in accordance with party rules will be canceled,” said the announcement.

–Samuel Rubenfeld

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August 31, 2008 at 9:54 pm

Hurricane May Postpone GOP Convention

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DENVER–Hurricane Gustav may cause the Republicans to postpone their national convention, scheduled to be held next week in St. Paul, Minn.

The strengthening storm is now a Category 4 hurricane with winds hitting 145 mph as it approaches the Gulf Coast.

–Samuel Rubenfeld

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August 30, 2008 at 4:34 pm

In Shocking Move, McCain Picks Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin For VP

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By Samuel Rubenfeld


DENVER–The candidate running on experience and readiness to be president chose a running mate with the least amount of experience in recent history.

John McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, 44 and a mother of five, to be his running mate, making her the second woman on a ticket for a major party and the first for the GOP. The first was Geraldine Ferraro, then a three-term Democratic Congresswoman from Queens, who was chosen by Walter Mondale in 1984.

The choice defined the battle between the candidates as being over women voters, especially suburban women. “She will be familiar enough with biography and even looks, so that even if they disagree with her ideologically and question her experience, suburban woman will connect with her,” said Lawrence Levy, the executive director of the University’s Center for Suburban Studies. “She could have major impact, but it is a major gamble, too,” referring to what he saw as a large gulf between Palin and Long Island suburban women voters.

Palin is a first-term governor serving since 2006, and before that was the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (population: 8,471). She married her high school sweetheart Todd in 1988, and of her five kids, one is in the army and the youngest, 5-month-old Trig, suffers from Down’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder.

Palin played high school basketball and was the runner-up in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant in 1984, and a following developed as speculation of her vice president nomination increased, leading to Web sites such as Draft Palin For VP and, or Vice President I’d Like To F—. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications-journalism with a minor in political science from the University of Idaho, and she worked briefly as a sports reporter at local Anchorage TV stations.

She was announced Friday at a rally in Dayton, Ohio, that had more people attending than live in the town where she served as mayor.

“This is a moment when principles and political independence matter a lot more than just the party line,” she said. Referring to McCain at her side, she added: “And this is a man who has always been there to serve his country, not just his party.”

McCain has long-had a history of outside-the-box thinking, and this choice, many see as risky. Palin has a limited resume, especially on foreign affairs, and that could hurt a McCain ticket selling itself as being ready to take on the many challenges facing U.S. foreign policy. has “6 things the pick says about McCain” story on its Web site, and “McCain is desperate” is the first on that list.

Scholars are already questioning her credentials for the job. And she said during a television interview she doesn’t know what the vice president does everyday.

She is a self-styled reformer in a state whose politics make cesspools seem clean. Its senior senator, Ted Stevens, who is both the longest-serving GOP senator and also the face of the “Bridge to Nowhere,” was recently indicted for taking gifts from a company who had business before his committee, and not disclosing those gifts on mandatory disclosure forms.

Palin became a champion of earmark reform when she nixed the idea of the bridge to nowhere even though the money was to come to her own state. “If our state wanted a bridge, I said, we’d build it ourselves,” she said at the rally in Dayton.

But Palin is herself in a bit of trouble within her own state. The Alaska legislature is investigating whether she used improper means to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from his job as a state trooper.

However, the pick has drawn great applause from the Republican grass-roots, and from some notable elites.

It’s unclear how the Democrats will be able to spar with the new running mate. The first response from the Obama campaign was swift and negative. “Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency,” said Bill Burton, an Obama campaign spokesman. But the candidates themselves, Obama and his running mate Joe Biden, later put out a softer statement, calling her “an admirable person who will add a compelling new voice to this campaign.”

At the rally in Dayton, she mentioned two other female political powerhouses, Ferraro and Hillary Clinton, and recognized their milestone campaigns as laying the groundwork for Palin to even be considered.

“It was rightly noted in Denver this week that Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America,” she said. “But it turns out the women of America aren’t finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.”

Clinton put out her own statement: “We should all be proud of Gov. Sarah Palin’s historic nomination and I congratulate her and Sen. McCain. While their policies would take America in the wrong direction, Gov. Palin will add an important new voice to the debate.”

(This post has been updated)

Written by chroniclenews

August 30, 2008 at 3:20 pm

At Mile High Stadium, Obama Soars

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Barack Obama accepts the nomination for president from the Democratic Party before more than 80,000 people at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver. (Samuel Rubenfeld/The Chronicle)

Barack Obama accepts the nomination for president from the Democratic Party before more than 80,000 people at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver. (Samuel Rubenfeld/The Chronicle)

By Samuel Rubenfeld


DENVER–Barack Obama lit Invesco Field At Mile High with fireworks both literal and rhetorical.

Obama’s acceptance speech Thursday night before more than 80,000 people, in the stadium where football’s Denver Broncos play, solidified him as the first African-American nominee of a major party, and the speech occurred on the 45th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I have a dream” speech. His rise from community organizer in Chicago to presidential nominee culminated with his night in Mile High.

“This moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in the 21st Century, the American promise alive,” Obama said.

The speech mixed attacks on President George W. Bush and John McCain with his vision for the future should he be elected and recognition of the history of his candidacy. It weaved themes from Obama’s keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston with some specific policy proposals, but it was short on details on how he’d pay for the many programs he proposed.

Obama waited until the end of the speech to mention King Jr.’s dream, merging King’s message with his own. “In America, our destiny is inextricably linked,” Obama said. “Together, our dreams can be one.”

Some of the attacks within the speech seemed hypocritical. After saying “Sen. McCain has been anything but independent” from Bush early on in the speech, Obama later said “I will not suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes.”

Just to enter the stadium took a lot of walking both because of the sheer number of people and because of the security perimeter in place; and it took even more waiting. Lines were more than a mile long – at 2 p.m. local time, six hours before Obama was even scheduled to speak.

(Video of walking the line)

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Once inside the stadium, the campaign had merch booths every few feet and had a phone back set up to remind voters to watch the speech. And the Colorado Democratic Party chairman led a text-message campaign he said led to the adding more than 34,000 supporters to the election effort.

This was not the first acceptance to be held in a stadium instead of the convention hall: President John Kennedy accepted his nomination in 1960 before 100,000 people at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles.

Immediately following the speech, when normally balloons drop from the ceiling on the nominee and his running mate, fireworks boomed overhead and red, white and blue streamers exploded from the Greek-style stage backdrop while classical music blared over the speakers.

And McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds issued a response to the speech: “Tonight, Americans witnessed a misleading speech that was so fundamentally at odds with the meager record of Barack Obama. When the temple comes down, the fireworks end, and the words are over, the facts remain: Senator Obama still has no record of bipartisanship, still opposes offshore drilling, still voted to raise taxes on those making just $42,000 per year, and still voted against funds for American troops in harm’s way.”

The speech played extremely well inside, however, according to a Denver resident who witnessed it:

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Written by chroniclenews

August 29, 2008 at 2:45 pm

‘Luv’ Gov. Paterson Pushes Party Unity

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DENVER–At the final breakfast for the New York delegation, Gov. David Paterson pushed for party unity while recognizing the historical gravity of the fight by the most fervent Clinton supporters to get her on the ticket.

He asked how African-Americans would have reacted if they had fought so hard and to not get on the ticket.

Also flashing his trademark humor, he began his talk by saying he couldn’t see the “We Luv Our Gov” signs held by the delegates and guests.

Some women shouted, “We love you David!” to which he responded, “My past is coming back to haunt me,” poking fun at his admitted affairs during the 1970s.

–Samuel Rubenfeld

Update: Video of speech:

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Written by chroniclenews

August 29, 2008 at 5:24 am

Obama Upstages Biden In ‘Surprise’ Appearance

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Barack Obama giving Jill Biden a kiss after striding out on stage to end the third night of the Democratic National Convention. (Samuel Rubenfeld/The Chronicle)

Barack Obama giving Jill Biden a kiss after striding out on stage to end the third night of the Democratic National Convention. (Samuel Rubenfeld/The Chronicle)

By Samuel Rubenfeld


DENVER–The rock star closer relieved the set-up man Wednesday night.

After Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, delivered a much-improvised speech – so much so that the Democratic National Committee had to reissue his speech verbatim since is was so different than the original – Barack Obama walked out and upstaged him.

Biden said Obama’s was an example of “the great American story,” and lauded him for his courage and judgement throughout his life.

But after the speech concluded and people began leaving their seats, Barack Obama strode on stage, announced as a “very special surprise guest” by Jill Biden, Joe’s wife.

“Hello Democrats,” Obama said, to thunderous applause. “I just wanted to come out here for a little, little something to say.

“I want everybody to understand why I am so proud to have Joe Biden and Jill Biden and Beau Biden and Mama Biden and the whole Biden family with me on this journey to take America back,” he said.

He thanked each of the major speakers from the last three nights, including Bill and Hillary Clinton. “I think Hillary rocked the house last night, don’t you think?” he said, then applauding himself for 15 seconds. “And, just in case you were wondering, I think President Clinton reminded us of what it was like when a president put people first.”

During Biden’s speech, he attacked McCain forcefully, but only after saying their friendship transcended politics. “We’ve traveled the world together,” Biden said.

Biden also notably made a Freudian slip sure to last throughout the duration of the campaign. After describing what he called an American dream slipping away, Biden said: “That’s the America that George Bush has left us, and that’s the America we’ll continue to get if George – excuse me – if John McCain is elected president of the United States of America.”

Written by chroniclenews

August 28, 2008 at 1:18 am