Skip to main content
ABC News
Warner Will Be Dems’ Keynoter [UPDATED]

A little birdseed for the night owls out there: the AP is reporting that ex-Virginia governor Mark Warner will deliver the Tuesday night address at the Democratic Convention in Denver.

Senate candidate and former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner is scheduled to deliver the Tuesday night keynote address at this year’s Democratic National Convention — the same role that launched Barack Obama to national prominence four years ago.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama’s rival during the Democratic presidential primaries, is also scheduled to speak that night, Aug. 26. But Warner is being given the plum position, according to an e-mail that Obama campaign adviser Mike Henry sent to Virginia supporters late Tuesday.

I have to confess to being a little bit surprised by this. Contrary to the reporting of some outlets, Hillary Clinton had never formally been guaranteed the keynote slot — rather, she had merely been guaranteed a prime-time speaking slot on Tuesday. But the perception out there was that Tuesday would be “her” night, and we can expect some growling from the PUMAs about Hillary being snubbed.

One would hope, however, that the Obama campaign was not so callous as to give Warner the nod without vetting/negotiating their position with the Clintons — perhaps in exchange for the prime-time slot that Bill was given on Wednesday night. To have had Hillary keynoting on Tuesday and then Bill headlining on Wednedsay — he will surely upstage the VP’s speech — might have risked a Clinton overdose. There are risks in doing things this way too, however.

Biggest loser in all of this? Tim Kaine, who if given the VP slot, might seem like sloppy seconds next to Warner.

MORE GOSSIP: As a couple of commenters have pointed out, there are some interesting tea leaves to read here regarding Kathleen Sebelius.

According to the Kansas City Star:

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius will speak at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

The Democratic National Convention Committee said Tuesday that McCaskill will speak on the convention’s opening day, Aug. 25, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Michelle Obama. They will talk about national unity.

Sebelius — a co-chairwoman of the convention — also will address the delegates, a party spokeswoman said, although the exact day and time has not been decided.

And here’s what Sebelius told CQ Politics on Monday:

On Monday, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Obama adviser Anita Dunn announced the themes for the various nights of the convention, including “Securing America’s Future” for the third night, when the vice presidential candidate will speak.
When asked whether the thematic choices could be read as an indication that the VP pick would be someone with a strong background on veterans issues, according to CQ reporter Marie Horrigan, Sebelius said that nothing should be read into that.

Every potential vice presidential choice also has a speaking slot and so nothing should be read into themes or issues or ideas,” Sebelius said.

So every potential vice presidential choice has a speaking slot. Kathleen Sebelius has a speaking slot. Except, unlike Claire McCaskill, or Mark Warner, or Ted Strickland, or Hillary Clinton, the Democrats are not yet ready to assign her a specific slot. She is, to my knowledge, the only Democrat thus far guaranteed a speaking slot without having a particular night assigned to her.

To be fair, a lot of people speak at the convention, so the mere fact that Sebelius has a slot shouldn’t mean all that much. But it certainly seems that she’s (still) on the short list. I would also note that there would be a certain symmetry to the following pattern of speakers:

Monday — Michelle Obama
Tuesday — Hillary Clinton, Mark Warner
Wednesday — Bill Clinton, Kathleen Sebelius
Thursday — Barack Obama

You would have, essentially, three “couples” speaking: Michelle and Barack to bookend the convention (the present), Hillary and Bill in the middle (the past), and then Warner and Sebelius (the future), who aren’t a couple, but who hit many of the same themes.

Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.