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Main article: "2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address

"State Senator "Barack Obama, the Illinois Democratic candidate for "United States Senate, delivered the convention's "keynote address on Tuesday, July 27, 2004. His unexpected landslide victory in the "March 2004 Illinois U.S. Senate Democratic primary had made him overnight a rising star within the national Democratic Party, started speculation about a presidential future, and led to the reissue of his memoir, "Dreams from My Father.[7] His keynote address, although not carried by the commercial broadcast television networks, was well received, which further elevated his status within the Democratic Party and led to his reissued memoir becoming a bestseller.[8]

Illinois State Senator Barack H. Obama points to the "Kansas delegation while giving his address.

As the keynote speaker, Obama set the tone for the "party platform. His speech, proclaiming the unnecessary and artificial divides in American culture and politics, was reminiscent of John Edwards's "Two Americas" stump speech: "There's not a "liberal America and a "conservative America—there's the United States of America." Obama emphasized the importance of unity, and made veiled jabs at the "Bush administration and the news media's perceived oversimplification and diversionary use of "wedge issues: "We worship an awesome God in the "blue states, and we don't like federal agents "poking around in our libraries in the "red states. We coach "Little League in the blue states, and yes, we've got some "gay friends in the red states. There are patriots who "opposed the "war in Iraq, and there are patriots who "supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us "pledging allegiance to the Stars and Stripes, all of us defending the United States of America."[9]

Obama noted his interracial and international heritage: he was born in "Honolulu, Hawaii to a "Kenyan immigrant father and a "white mother from "Kansas. He emphasized the power of education, recounting the privilege of attending the exclusive "Punahou School and "Harvard Law School despite his family's poverty, and criticized the perception that poor black youths who read books are ""acting white." He went on to describe his successful career in law and politics while raising a family in Chicago. "In no other country on Earth is my story even possible," Obama proclaimed. Towards the end of his speech, he emphasized the importance of hope in the American saga, and he illustrated how that hope manifested itself in the lives of John Kerry, John Edwards, and even his own personal life, as "a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him too." According to Obama, the "audacity of hope" is "God's greatest gift" to Americans, allowing him to feel optimistic that the lives of average Americans can be improved with the right governmental policies. Following the speech political commentator Chris Matthews rightly predicted "I just saw the first black president".[10]

Edwards' address[edit]

Two Americas

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."[11] 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."[11] 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."[11] 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[edit]

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[12]
Candidate Votes Percentage
"John Kerry 4,253 98.40%
"Dennis Kucinich 43 0.99%
Abstentions 26 0.60%
Totals 4,322 100.00%

Vice president[edit]

Kerry's address[edit]

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.[13] With Democrats strongly opposed to the Bush administration, John Kerry spent most of his speech appealing to independent voters and to swing voters.[13] He promised to train 40,000 new active duty troops,[14] to implement all the recommendations of the "9/11 Commission,[14] to cut the national deficit in half within four years,[14] to cut middle class taxes while repealing the Bush administration's tax cuts for those making more than US$200,000 per year,[14] to stop "privatization of "Social Security,[14] and to expand "stem cell research.[14]

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.[15]

Other speakers[edit]

2004 Democratic National Convention Speakers

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'[edit]

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.[16] 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.[17]

Demonstrations and protests[edit]

Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich speaks out against the Iraq War.
Tom Hayden urges anti-war activists to continue efforts to organize.

There were a number of demonstrations during the 2004 Democratic National Convention.[18] Protesters included members of the "Bl(A)ck Tea Society, a group of self-described "anarchists, who opposed the war in Iraq.[18] 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.[18]

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.[19]

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.[18] 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.[18][20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2004 Democratic Convention Speakers List
  2. ^ Transcript of Edwards' speech
  3. ^ "Elections 2004 - Rounding Up The Democratic Convention". 2004-07-30. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  4. ^ Webb, Cynthia L. (July 26, 2004). "Democrats Get Wired in Boston". "Washington Post. Retrieved May 15, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Site Selection 2004". GWU. Retrieved January 13, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b "Security details: dogs, guns, choppers - politics | NBC News". MSNBC. 2004-07-25. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  7. ^ Mendell, David (March 17, 2004). "Obama routs Democratic foes; Ryan tops crowded GOP field; Hynes, Hull fall far short across state". Chicago Tribune. p. 1. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  8. ^ . (August 2, 2004). "Star power. Showtime: Some are on the rise; others have long been fixtures in the firmament. A galaxy of bright Democratic lights". Newsweek. pp. 48–51. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b c "Text:Sen. John Edwards Speech to DNC". The Washington Post. July 28, 2004. Retrieved October 20, 2007. 
  12. ^ "Democratic Convention 2004". The Green Papers. Retrieved April 13, 2008. 
  13. ^ a b Wilgoren, Jodi; Halbfinger, David (July 31, 2004). "THE 2004 CAMPAIGN: REACTION; Democrats Across the Board Are Pleased". The New York Times. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f "'We Have It in Our Power to Change the World Again'". The New York Times. July 29, 2004. 
  15. ^ "President's Remarks in Springfield, Missouri Remarks". Retrieved January 15, 2010. 
  16. ^ "No Convention Bounce For Kerry". CBS News. 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  17. ^ Page, Susan (2004-08-03). "So why did Bush, not Kerry, get the bounce?". Usatoday.Com. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  18. ^ a b c d e "Boston protests draw police action - politics | NBC News". MSNBC. 2004-07-29. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  19. ^ "THE CONSTITUENCIES: LIBERALS; From Chicago '68 to Boston, The Left Comes Full Circle - New York Times". 2004-07-28. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  20. ^ "Anti-abortion groups lose suit over protests - politics | NBC News". MSNBC. 2004-07-26. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 

External links[edit]

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