Delaware delegation moving up

Election 2008

August 25, 2008|By Baltimore Sun news services

It is a tradition at the Democratic National Convention that the home states of nominees get special attention in Denver, Colo.

Yesterday morning, the floor location of the now-mighty delegation from Delaware - home state of vice presidential pick Joe Biden - got moved to the front of the Pepsi Center.

"We're in awe of the fact that little old Delaware is playing a major role," said Delaware Democratic chairman John Daniello. Daniello called Delaware a "good picture of the rest of the country," with its mix of big cities (Wilmington) and rural areas, and its combination of labor and business interests. That's a similar description to how neighboring Maryland likes to think of itself - as "America in miniature."

Delaware got significant attention during the Super Tuesday Democratic primary, with Michelle Obama speaking in Wilmington as the Obama campaign made sure it had a presence in big states and small.

"I've been a big fan of the 50-state strategy," Daniello said, referring to national party chairman Howard Dean's effort to campaign in each state.

The Delaware delegation's move to the front row - accompanied by a sign that put the state's name in bolder font - improved their view only marginally. There seem to be few bad seats inside the Pepsi Center, which has an intimate feel for an event the size of a national convention.

David Nitkin

McCain ad questions Obama's VP choice

John McCain's campaign suggested yesterday that rival Barack Obama snubbed Hillary Clinton as his running mate because of her criticism during the battle for the Democratic nomination. Obama's campaign dismissed the claim as the candidate praised Joe Biden, the man he did choose. Campaigning in the battleground state of Wisconsin, Obama said he was "absolutely convinced" fellow senator Biden was right for the job. Earlier, speaking at a barbecue at a lakeside gun and rod park in Eau Claire, Obama said both he and Biden had humble roots and predicted the veteran lawmaker from Delaware would be "one of the greatest vice presidents in the history of the United States." Meanwhile, a new McCain ad, the second since Obama made his vice presidential choice, challenged Obama's motives in passing over Clinton, his former top rival, and choosing Biden, who dropped out of the presidential contest after a poor showing in Iowa, the first contest. Chief Obama strategist David Axelrod insisted Biden was "a better fit."

Clinton is expected to release her delgates

Sen. Hillary Clinton, hoping to unite the Democratic Party and cement her future in it, will gather her hard-won primary delegates Wednesday at a reception where she is expected to formally release them to Barack Obama. The New York senator has invited her pledged delegates to a reception at the Colorado Convention Center, not far from the main Democratic National Convention arena. The high-profile gathering of political regulars who once fought against Obama serves a dual purpose for Clinton: Show fellow Democrats that she can be a team player, and display her still-formidable political strengths for the future. A Democratic official said yesterday, a day before the convention begins, that she is expected to release her delegates at the Wednesday event. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss details publicly.

Florida and Michigan delegates get voting rights

Democratic delegates from Michigan and Florida were awarded full voting rights at the national convention yesterday, despite holding early primaries against party rules. The convention credentials committee voted unanimously to restore the voting privileges at the behest of Barack Obama, the party's presumptive nominee for president. The states were initially stripped of delegates for holding primaries before Feb. 5. The party's rules committee restored the delegates in May, but gave them only half votes. Democrats hope the gesture will strengthen their standing in two important battleground states. The party's move raises questions about whether it will be able to control its primary calendar in the future. A commission will work on the issue over the next two years.

Man carrying guns detained at Pelosi's hotel

A man who tried to carry two hunting rifles and two pistols into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's downtown hotel remained in police custody yesterday. Pelosi and other guests briefly left the hotel during the Saturday incident but were never in danger, Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley said. The man, Joseph Calanchini, 29, of Pinedale, Wyo., faces a charge of unlawful carrying of a weapon. Police officers at the Grand Hyatt hotel noticed him carrying a rifle-type case at the entrance and detained him. Wiley said he didn't know if the weapons were loaded.

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