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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

9:07 MDT: [Nate] I think making Michelle the featured speaker tonight was a matter of defense rather than offense — clearly an effort to normalize the Obamas. But as Sean says — it really wasn’t that hard, was it? And maybe that’s the point.

We’ll see you folks tomorrow night, when the most important speech of the campaign will occur.

9:02 MDT: Show, don’t tell. That last exchange with the kids may have been a setup but it was unfakeable. There is no greater common denominator than a genuine expression of love in a family. Everyone relates to that. That isn’t a person telling a touching story about how they were raised, that was love in real time.

8:56 MDT: [Nate] Last five minutes of her speech definitely had Favreau’s fingerprints on it. But I think it slightly exceeded expectations — mine anyway.

8:47 MDT: Michelle Obama has given many speeches on the campaign trail this election season, this is the big stage to reassure those who have been slow to warm to Obama that this is the fully American couple. There has been an ongoing effort with warm supermarket-aisle mags (not the Weekly World News) to present the Obamas as the quintessential American family. This is a good speech, particularly notable for the buzz moment of mentioning Hillary Clinton, but will it penetrate? Ironically, Hillary Clinton supporters should appreciate the story of this woman, as she is a brilliant, co-equal partner in the Obama marriage, fully independent and strong. “That is why I love this country” is the sound bite of the night.

8:20 MDT: [Nate] And … it’s probably good that Claire McCaskill was not the VP nominee.

8:15 MDT: Waiting for the other big moment of the night, the Michelle Obama speech. Happened to share a ride from the airport last night with Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC), who reports Obama now has 50 field offices in North Carolina. For those of you who may remember Miller’s 2006 race featured a truly deranged opponent named Vernon Robinson, dubbed “the black Jesse Helms.” Robinson raised over $2 million to run overtly racist, homophobic ads that included a claim that the married Miller was a gay lover of the married Markos Moulitsas. Showing grace and good humor, Miller posted a diary at DailyKos later titled “Markos and I Are Just Good Friends.” Miller won 64-36. His opponent this year only has $15,000, so Miller should coast.

7:42 MDT: This is Nate jumping in for a quick comment. Call me a grouch, and this is probably my background in sports journalism kicking in, but I find the cheering in the room kind of annoying (here in the Blogger Tent, not the Pepsi Center).

7:33 MDT: “I pledge to you that I will be there next January on the floor of the United States Senate.”

7:28 MDT: There had been a buzz of social conversation inside the Big Tent prior to the Kennedy Moment, but when Caroline Kennedy began speaking, the crowd mostly quieted and began gluing into the the screens strewn around the room. In spite of the younger skew of the blogger crowd, there was a clear sense of respect paid and historical understanding for the long shadow Ted Kennedy casts over his party. When Kennedy says during the video montage “it’s time for Barack Obama,” the room bursts into applause. Wild applause at the introduction.

7:19 MDT: Caroline Kennedy is speaking, introducing what promisesto be the emotional fulcrum of the evening, Ted Kennedy’s appearance at the DNC…

7:18 MDT:. Live from Denver, it’s Monday at the Democratic National Convention! It’s been a busy, up-energy day here, the streets teeming with delegates, merchandisers, bloggers, media cognoscenti, a handful of Hillary Clinton marchers and a visible presence of SWAT/Denver police. There’s a good vibe in the blogger area, but that could just be the beer. Anyway… on to the liveblog.

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