Not yet formally nominated for the Vice Presidency, "John Edwards took the stage at the Convention to give the first major national speech of his political career.["citation needed] Delegates raised red-and-white vertical "Edwards" banners and chanted his name. The theme of Edwards's address was the divide between the "two Americas," his "populist message throughout the primary campaign and now one embraced by Kerry.["citation needed] He tied the division to his own roots in "North Carolina, and introduced his family to the audience. Edwards addressed his parents from the podium: "You taught me the values that I carry in my heart: faith, family, responsibility, opportunity for everyone. You taught me that there's dignity and honor in a hard day's work. You taught me to always look out for our neighbors, to never look down on anybody, and treat everybody with respect."["citation needed] Edwards went on to define the two Americas he claimed to exist, one for the "rich and one for the "poor, and repeated several times that "It doesn't have to be that way." He called for one health care system, equal in quality to the coverage received by Senators and other elected officials, and promised to establish a "Patients' Bill of Rights.["citation needed] Edwards proposed one "public school system for all, arguing that "None of us believe that the quality of a child's education should be controlled by where they live or the affluence of their community." He appealed for the end of the two "economies, "one for people who are set for life, they know their kids and grandkids are going to be just fine, and then one for most Americans, people who live paycheck to paycheck." Edwards also stated how the Democrats expected to pay for their agenda: "We're going to roll back – we're going to roll back the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. And we're going to close corporate loopholes. We're going to cut government contractors and wasteful spending. We can move this country forward without passing the burden to our children and our grandchildren."["citation needed]
Many pundits noted that while Edwards's "charismatic style was in evidence, he had rushed through the speech, ending several minutes earlier than planned.["citation needed] The delegates in the FleetCenter, however, were enraptured, and Edwards led them several times in a statement-response "chant: "Hope is on the way." This, and the general upbeat tone of the address["citation needed], was a response to attacks by the Bush campaign claiming that Kerry and Edwards were pessimistic and cynical; it was altered and echoed the next day in the more detailed speech of John Kerry: "Help is on the way."
Results of delegate voting
In the days before the convention started, the other candidates withdrew, freed their delegates and officially endorsed Kerry.["citation needed] All the delegates voted to ratify this decision and vote for Kerry, except those of "Kucinich, who attempted to vote for Kucinich anyway. Many states refused to let them do so, and only permitted them to register abstentions.["citation needed] The final tally went thus:
|Democratic National Convention presidential vote, 2004|
Prior to his speech, John Kerry's daughter spoke about her father. After this, a video played, showing highlights from Kerry's life, including his birth in "Colorado, his childhood in "New England, the travels with his diplomat father to post-World War II Germany, and his service in "Vietnam's "Mekong Delta, interspersed with clips of Kerry speaking and narrated voice overs. After the video's conclusion, former U.S. Senator "Max Cleland delivered a speech proclaiming that the global conflict and active wars in "Afghanistan and "Iraq required a decorated military hero such as Kerry in the "White House. This concluded with Kerry's entrance, where he made a "military salute and announced, "I'm John Kerry, and I'm reporting for duty!" Kerry then accepted the nomination for President.
Democrats reacted positively to John Kerry's acceptance speech. With Democrats strongly opposed to the Bush administration, John Kerry spent most of his speech appealing to independent voters and to swing voters. He promised to train 40,000 new active duty troops, to implement all the recommendations of the "9/11 Commission, to cut the national deficit in half within four years, to cut middle class taxes while repealing the Bush administration's tax cuts for those making more than US$200,000 per year, to stop "privatization of "Social Security, and to expand "stem cell research.
On the day after Kerry's speech, "George W. Bush's reelection campaign launched a counterattack on the claims and promises made by Kerry and others at the convention. At a campaign stop in "Springfield, Missouri, Bush told a crowd: "My opponent has good intentions, but intentions do not always translate to results," attacking Senator Kerry's record in the Senate.
In addition to the Obama, Edwards, and Kerry addresses, there were also speeches from former Presidents "Bill Clinton and "Jimmy Carter, former Vice-President and 2000 Presidential nominee "Al Gore, New York Senator and former First Lady "Hillary Clinton, Massachusetts Senator "Ted Kennedy, former candidate "Al Sharpton, and Presidential Advisory Counsel on HIV/AIDS Denise Stokes. "Ron Reagan, son of Republican President "Ronald Reagan, also spoke at the Convention, blaming Bush's hijacking of his father's legacy for his switch in support to the Democrats.
Lack of convention 'bounce'
Polls conducted after Kerry's speech showed no significant increase of support (or ""convention bounce") for the Democratic nominee's bid to unseat President Bush. Democrats ascribed the disappointing numbers to an unusually polarized electorate that year with few undecided voters, though Bush did get a small bounce out of his convention.
Demonstrations and protests
There were a number of demonstrations during the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Protesters included members of the "Bl(A)ck Tea Society, a group of self-described "anarchists, who opposed the war in Iraq. Approximately 400 members of the Bl(A)ck Tea Society marched through Boston's financial district and headed toward the fleet center, where they set fire to an effigy that showed George Bush on one side and John Kerry on the other.
That evening a group of "peace activists held a peaceful rally a few hundred feet from the FleetCenter. Local Boston politicians were joined by presidential candidate "Dennis Kucinich and long-time activist and "California state senator "Tom Hayden in a call to end the occupation of and to remove U.S. troops from Iraq and to bring in an international "peacekeeping force. Also, Hayden and Kucinich called on anti-war Democrats to support John Kerry against George Bush in the general election.
The largest protest was held on the Sunday evening before the convention was set to start. An estimated 2,000 anti-war members marched at the same time as approximately 1,000 anti-abortion activists, and the two groups crossed paths en route to the convention center. The following day, this anti-abortion group had its permit revoked to protest outside of the Kerry family home. They challenged the decision, but it was upheld by a federal judge, who sided with the Secret Service in determining that the protest would be too close to Kerry's home, potentially endangering the presidential candidate.
- "2004 Republican National Convention
- "U.S. Democratic Party presidential nomination, 2004
- "U.S. presidential election, 2004
- "John Kerry presidential campaign, 2004
- 2004 Democratic Convention Speakers List
- Transcript of Edwards' speech
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- Unofficial Convention Website (archived)
- Democratic Party Platform of 2004 at The American Presidency Project
- Kerry Acceptance Speech at The American Presidency Project
- Official Fleet Center Website
- Complete text, audio, video of Barack Obama's DNC Address AmericanRhetoric.com
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