The Democratic National Convention continues in Charlotte, North Carolina today. Several high-profile speakers took the stage last night including first lady Michelle Obama, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. Reid Wilson, editor-in-chief of the National Journal Hotline, provides analysis of last night's action and other political stories. Here are some highlights:
On what first lady Michelle Obama accomplished during her speech: "Well I think she delivered a speech that was more positive in tone than anything we've heard at both conventions thus far … it was more of an endorsement of President Obama," Wilson says. "At the peak of her speech she was driving more tweets per minute - nearly double as many tweets per minute - as Mitt Romney's acceptance speech was driving. So people were watching, people were paying attention."
How Gov. Martin O'Malley, who's said to have his eye on a presidential run in 2016, fared during his time on the national stage: "He didn't get the best reception ever. His speech was very full of gusto and yet didn't come across as pitch-perfect as some of the other more viciously pointed speeches did," Wilson says.
What else O'Malley has been up to in Charlotte: "This convention is turning into a sort of mini-tryout for 2016. Martin O'Malley is one of the most aggressive. He stopped off very noticeably at the Iowa Delegation for their morning breakfast yesterday," Wilson says. "He's just putting in a punishing schedule: his day started at about 6:15 a.m. yesterday with a couple of calls and a couple of breakfast visits, and it ended well after midnight after his big speech; he went off to a fundraiser to play the bass in his band."
How the Democrats are doing with reaching out to Latino voters: "Democrats need to reach them more. Hispanic voters are becoming an increasingly large part of the democratic coalition and at the moment it is those voters that are less excited about turning out than any other demographic," Wilson says. "So this is a key part of the Democratic base; they need to fire up these voters. And showcasing a rising Hispanic star like Julian Castro and his brother Joaquin - who, by the way, is going to be in Congress next year - is a good way to do that."
On the Virginia State Board of Elections's decision to allow Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode a spot on the presidential ballot this fall and Goode's potential impact on the election: "This thing could be very close. Remember that John McCain won Missouri by only a couple thousand votes in 2008, President Obama only won North Carolina by about 14,000 votes in 2008," Wilson says. "So if Virgil Goode is able to take just a small sliver of Mitt Romney's votes that could end up impacting the outcome in Virginia. Goode has a reputation down in southwest Virginia, where he is from. That's a crucial area where Republicans need to turn out the vote, and if some of those voters are going away from Mitt Romney, well, that's a big problem for Mitt Romney."