Controversies from Day Two at the Democratic National Convention

By Dave Andrusko

The highlight of the second day of the Democratic National Convention was supposed to be former President Bill Clinton’s nominating speech. While it was very well received, his remarks were at least partially overshadowed by a series of questionable decisions and controversies.

The party platform, as you probably know by now, decided to omit any references to God and to eliminate language in the 2008 platform that identified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. A furor ensued (which Democrats, strangely enough, blamed on Republicans), and Democrats decided that discretion was the better part of valor and tried to add the language on both on a voice vote. A two-thirds vote was needed.

When Convention chairman Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa asked for a yes/no vote, he appeared to be about to agree it had passed. On second thought he asked for a second vote….and then a third vote. At that point, although it sounded like (at best) 50% in favor, Villaraigosa said the amendment to the platform had passed. (Fox News later pointed out that the scroll on the Teleprompter already read that the measure to reinsert the language had been ratified.) The cameras panned to angry dissenters.

Even CNN had to laugh when DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz insisted, “There wasn’t any discord.” But when CNN White House correspondent Brianna Keilar then made the obvious point—that there seemed to be a change in policy by the campaign because they had made it clear the day before they stood by the changes to  the 2008 platform– Wasserman Schultz insisted, “No, no, it’s not actually.”

According to Newsbusters

At the end of the interview, the segment switched back to CNN’s booth at the convention where Anderson Cooper said, “I just got to go to the panel with this. I mean, Debbie Wasserman Schultz said it wasn’t a change of language, there was no discord that we saw, and it was a two-thirds vote.

“And it was a technical oversight,” added David Gergen.

“I mean, that’s an alternate universe,” replied Cooper.

“But let me just again point out that this is the same person who last week or two weeks ago was attacking the Romney campaign saying that it is the candidate who sets the platform, who designs and writes the platform,” interjected Cooper. “It wasn’t true what she was saying two weeks ago, but now isn’t it fair if she claimed that about the Republican platform to claim that about the Democratic platform?”

If that wasn’t enough, there was widespread suspicion the convention had changed its mind on having Obama deliver his acceptance speech in the Bank of American football stadium not because of weather concerns but concerns whether they could find 65,000+ people to fill it.

To cite just one example (others were less forgiving), Nate Silver of the New York Times. He looked at historic weather patterns for this time of year in Charlotte, contrasted them with Denver (where in 2008 then candidate Obama gave a speech outdoors), and concluded, “Obviously, this is a close call — both in terms of the decision by the Democrats, and in interpreting their motivation for it. But some skepticism is warranted that the weather is the only thing they were thinking.”

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