Democrats from across the country, including the D.C. area, are gearing up for their party's National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. this week. Several local politicians will have a chance to address the crowd, making pitches for votes this November and beyond. David Hawkings, editor of the CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing, is in Charlotte and spoke with WAMU's Morning Edition host Matt McCleskey about what to expect there this week. Here are some highlights:
On Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's role as a featured speaker: "As one of the principle surrogates, his role in that is to essentially tout President Obama's reelection without doing too much to tout himself," Hawkings says. "He doesn't want to be the type of politician Chris Christie was widely criticized for being last week at the RNC — and to a lesser extent Marco Rubio. Those two, while speaking eloquently on behalf of Mitt Romney, were seen by many of the delegation as spending a little to much time talking about themselves."
How O'Malley has skirted that line so far: "Martin O'Malley's role is to try and blend the two, but always come down on the side of talking more about President Obama. He did so [this morning] in his first of several trips to delegate breakfasts," Hawkings says. "He talked about things that are of interest to Demcratix base voters, like gay marriage and immigration initiatives that he's pushing this fall, but he also went out of his way to talk about President Obama and to tell people to get ready for his speech at the convention."
Whether Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine's brief appearance at the DNC will help or hurt his campaign: "Tim Kaine is in one of the closest, hardest-fought Senate races in the country. It's hard to find a politician anywhere in Charlotte or Tampa who is in a contested race," Hawkings says. "He has a very good excuse; he is a former national chairman, so he will give his speech and then he'll go back."
How Democrats may work this week to try to pick up an advantage in Virginia: "Virginia is going to come down to two regions: our area, and the Norfolk area. In both of those places, the military spending issue that we've been talking is going to be a big issue; the sequestration, or the Defense spending cuts," Hawkings says. "I believe that if President Obama can reassure people that he is not going to allow those deep across the board spending cuts to occur he has a decent chance in Virginia, and so I think this week the Democrats are going to be making sure to remind people that they are still for a strong, vigorous defense."