The Democratic National Convention is coming to a close. Kojo Nnamdi, host of WAMU 88.5's The Kojo Nnamadi Show, has been broadcasting from Charlotte and he talks with WAMU's Morning Edition host Matt McCleskey to discuss the convention's final speeches and events.
Kojo talks about how Virginia Democrats are feeling as we head toward Election Day, and about the Virginia Board of Elections' announcement that former Rep. Virgil Goode will be on the ballot as a Constitution Party candidate for president. He also discusses his talk with D.C.'s Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who was not invited to speak at the DNC this year. Here are some highlights.
On the attitude of Virginia delegates after the convention: "They seem to be more confident, especially after the speech that was delivered by President Clinton," Nnamdi says. "They feel they have the arguments they can make to win swing voters in what has become a swing state. They're not saying exactly how they intend to go about doing that; they expect that voters in Northern Virginia will go for the president again but as they go downstate it'll be interesting to see how they use the messages coming out of this convention."
What delegates were saying about the addition of Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode to the presidential ballot in Virginia: "Tom Periello, who actually had defeated Virgil Goode on one occasion, said that Goode could in a way be the Republican party's Ralph Nader, syphoning off conservative votes from Mitt Romney," Nnamdi says. "Because people in Virginia who know Virgil Goode know that he really believes in the conservative values that he speaks of and there is some question as to whether the candidate, Mitt Romney, holds those values."
How the D.C. delegation dealt with D.C. statehood being left out of the Democratic party platform: "I think that frustration became resignation among D.C. delegates here. The party made it clear that it had absolutely no intention of going out of its way to do anything for D.C. delegates," Nnamdi says. "They had really bad seats where you could barely see the delegation, so even the prospect of a militant walkout was rendered null and void because no one would even have noticed."
The convention's impressions of Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley after his prime time speaking slot Tuesday: "He was seen as having presidential timber and so he was really expected to make the kind of speech that knocked it out of the park," Nnamdi says. "I don't think O'Malley was able to meet those expectations. His speech was competent, it was adequate, but it did not really make him stand out from the crowd, if you will. I think he's going to have to do a lot more."
On the mood on the convention floor during Obama's speech: Our group here were among the majority of people who planned to attend last night's events, who didn't get in," Nnamdi says. "We arrived around 6:30, and the president wasn't expected to speak until 10:30, but by the time we arrived … the arena was closed. The fire marshals had shut it down because they said it was already overcrowded. Nevertheless, we stood outside and interviewed delegates who also found themselves locked out, and there were a lot because a majority of people found themselves being locked out.
Lee Calhoun, a former associate of the D.C. businessman at the center of a wide-ranging investigation into D.C. corruption, is said to have made campaign contributions in the names of other people.