Well there was no doubt that former President Bill Clinton's nomination speech of President Obama on Wednesday would be a highlight of the night - but he exceeded our highest expectations.
Given where we were sitting, the Wisconsin delegation has a unique perspective - literally! We are not only right next to the stage, but we also have a great view into the entire Time Warner Arena, including the large teleprompter screen. It is very interesting to see how incredibly some of the speakers (including President Clinton and Missouri Congressman and United Methodist pastor Emanuel Cleaver, who is the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus) are able to take their written words and extend what they are saying based upon the audience and what is moving them. It truly is something to see, and hear.
Beyond President Clinton's rousing speech (and a surprise appearance by President Obama!), Wednesday's events included passionate speeches by the 12 women currently in the Senate, (soon to be joined by our own female Senate candidate, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin), led by the first Democratic female elected to the Senate, Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski. She made a great point about the diversity of the Democratic women elected to the Senate, stating that among coming from different states and backgrounds, like the U.S. Olympic team, they come in all sizes, too (Senator Mikulski is 4'11).
Elizabeth Warren, running for Senate against Scott Brown in Massachusetts, spoke about the need for a stronger middle class and ensuring that Wall Street needed reforms to prevent another financial disaster.
Sister Simone Campbell, the head of the Nuns on the Bus movement against Paul Ryan's disastrous budget, spoke to delegates about the need to create policies that help people, not hurt them.
But, at the end of the day, we all knew President Clinton would be the draw, and he certainly didn't disappoint. It was incredible to hear him talk about what we need to get back to the financial successes we had during his terms. President Clinton argued that no president - including himself - "could have fully repaired all the damage that he [President Obama] found in just four years." He also outlined the GOP's central argument of electing Mitt Romney into one single thought: "We left him a total mess. He hasn't cleaned it up fast enough. So fire him and put us back in."
President Clinton also outlined his groundbreaking approach to balancing his budget and turning deficits into surpluses: arithmetic.
After President Clinton's speech (and President Obama's surprise visit), we proceeded with more official business of the night: the roll call. On Tuesday, delegates officially pledged their support for President Obama by signing the nomination form, and on Wednesday, each state and territory entered their official delegate count in support of President Barack Obama.
First, this was done via entering the delegate count into a computer at each state/territory's seating area during the proceedings, and it officially ends with the roll call, where each delegation publicly announces their support for their nominee. Our delegation, Mike Tate, did the public announcement for Wisconsin, surrounded by delegates and elected officials representing the true diversity of unity of our state's delegation. Given that Wisconsin is second-to-last (Wyoming having the honor of the very last spot alphabetically), we, as a united delegation, stood close together and cheered on the other delegations as they pledged their delegates to President Obama. It was a very, very humbling and amazing experience, and one I'm sure every delegate from each state and territory will never forget.
Thursday morning's breakfast speakers are set to include 1st congressional district delegate, and opponent to Paul Ryan, Rob Zerban, Congresswoman and Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin (look for us wearing her shirt tonight during her speech!), and retiring Senator Herb Kohl. Also joining the delegation was White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett. I know our delegation is looking forward to our next Senator Tammy Baldwin representing us as she always does during her speech tonight during prime time, and of course the nomination speeches by Vice-President Joe Biden and President Obama!