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A Late Breaking DNC Blogger Interview

Check out A Student Pundit's Venture Into Poli-Cyberspace in the Chronicle of Higher Education. It's an interview and profile of Pandagon blogger Ezra Klein about his blogging at the DNC in Boston. It's available free to non-subscribers for five days, so read it soon.

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Blogs Provide Closing Thoughts on Boston

Several blogs are providing their final thoughts on their convention blogging experience. Here are a few:

Positive Mainstream Media Wrapups:

I think that the DNC bloggers did a wonderful job, and I personally found their work quite valuable.

This year, a host of Internet bloggers enlivened the online version of the convention, which included video and audio streams and exhaustive information. For the truly plugged in voter, the Democratic convention took place not in Boston but in the electronic ether.

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Polls: Convention Gives Boost to Kerry

Post-convention polls show a solid boost for John Kerry.

The Newsweek poll released on Saturday said Kerry, who has been running in a virtual dead heat with Republican President Bush, gained a four-point boost in the polls from the Democratic National Convention held last week in Boston.

In the poll conducted on Thursday and on Friday, Kerry received 49 percent of the vote to Bush's 42 percent and 3 percent for independent candidate Ralph Nader. In early July, Kerry led Bush 47 percent to 44 percent, with Nader at 3 percent. Without Nader in the race, Kerry led Bush in the new poll by 51 percent to 45 percent. The poll of about 1,000 registered voters had a 3 percent margin of error.

Kerry told Fox News Sunday this morning he's not paying attention to the polls because they are bound to go up and down. Everyone expects Bush to gain a few points after the RNC.

Many pundits believe that the key to this election lies with 7% or so of undecided voters. That's a very small number. According to this article, only 2 out of 10 voters say they might change their preference.

We think it also will turn on getting out the vote. While we were at the convention, we spoke with a Rock the Vote staffer at a Comcast/MTV party who told us that by Wednesday, they had registered over 400,000 new voters. Their goal is one million. Obama resonates so well with youth that he will be a big key. Both John Edwards and Obama attended the Rock the Vote party in Boston and were treated like rock stars. But, P.Diddy isn't impressed with Kerry or Bush's outreach to young voters.

If the Dems can get out the youth, particularly in urban areas, and minorities and former felons, we think that will put him over the top. Of course, we don't expect the campaign to be enlightened enough to seek out the former felon vote--it would be perceived as being soft on crime--so keep your eye on the polls that show which way the youth and minorities are leaning.

Update: USA Today says Kerry got no bounce. Digby has the analysis.

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Blogging the Convention: Wrap-Up

I'm back from the Democratic National Convention. It was one of the best experiences I've had in years. Seriously. There was not a moment of downtime or boredom. The comraderie among the bloggers, most of whom had never met in person before this week, was outstanding. I give the adventure/experiment an A-.

Weblogs are as diverse as their authors. Their goals in covering the convention varied. Some wanted to cover the media. Some wanted to cover the delegates and speeches. Others wanted to make the convention alive for readers, so they could feel they were present. Most of the bloggers announced their goals before arriving in Boston. Here were mine, followed by some personal thoughts as to whether I achieved them:

Washington Post:

"I'm committed to seeing Bush out of office in November and want to do what I can to help," says Jeralyn Merritt, a Denver defense lawyer who writes the TalkLeft blog. "To me the purpose of a convention is solidarity and getting strength from each other and renewed commitment to a joint purpose. I am a cheerleader. I am a partisan. I am an advocate. My goal is to get everyone else stirred up."

Newsday:

My general strategy is to provide news with attitude and enthusiasm. I want my readers to feel like they are there with me. I hope to capture and convey the sense of unity, enthusiasm and resolve among Democrats to win in November. I will concentrate on civil liberties, terrorism, criminal-justice issues and the war in Iraq. I also will report on the convention process and the mainstream media. I will be an advocate and critic rather than a neutral observer of what I report.

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Boston Police to Retain New Search and Surveillance Powers

The week before the convention we wrote of Boston's plan to install over 100 security cameras on buses and around the Fleet Center. On the third day of the convention we wrote about the lawsuit over Boston's plan to search all passengers on mass transit. We said:

So, to the citizens of Boston, whom the media has reported as being "fine" with the searches, remember that what you don't object to now, may stick around a lot longer than you think. Once we give the Government new powers, it rarely gives them back.

The prophecy has been fulfilled:

An array of security measures that raised the hackles of civil libertarians, but that law enforcement officials believe make the city safer, are also likely to stay. The Boston Police Department plans to move its new surveillance cameras from around the FleetCenter to high-crime neighborhoods around the city. The MBTA says it retains the right to search the bags of passengers, although it doesn't expect to do so with any regularity.

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2004 Blogging: The Ten Best List

The mainstream media may or may not appreciate the blogger coverage of the convention. We're happy we made #1 of Radiofree Bloggerstgan's 10 best list, written by Liza:

1. Jeralyn Merritt hits it right out of the park. Her writing is outstanding, vivid in imagery yet succint in detail. When I read her posts, I feel like I am there. These are going to be invaluable "snapshots" of this historic convention.
TalkLeft: The Hall is Packed

"We just got back with our double strength espresso. We're wired and ready to go. This hall is packed to the gills. There are people sitting in the stairwells. Getting out now would be next to impossible. For the first time, we bloggers are all hunched over our computers and the gabbing has stopped. The delegates are listening to the speakers."

"Joe Biden's speech is too long, but they don't care. They are standing and clapping. When we think Biden, we think Rave Act and how he snuck it into the Amber child alert bill. We wouldn't support him for dogcatcher. We can't even fathom that he was almost a contender for President. But, the people here seemed to really like him."

All of these are more than just reporting at it's best. They go beyond journaling, reporting and memorializing. What we have in these blogs is definitely a new form of expression and witnessing. Even, maybe, a new literary form. So who's on your list?

As we said before we arrived in Boston, our goal was to convey the energy and resolve to win --to make our readers feel like they were experiencing what we were experiencing. Thanks to Liza for making us feel like we succeeded.

Off to the airport. More later...Much more.

Update: We just found this nice compliment from Dave Cullen at Conclusive Evidence on Liza's top ten pick:

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If Osama is Captured Tonight

The New York Times is ready if Osama is captured tonight. [link via Instapundit]

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Kerry's Speech: Blogosphere Reaction

We're sitting in the bar at the Onyx Hotel near the Fleet Center. It's packed, and there's wi-fi. It's midnight Boston time, and all we hear is "great speech."
We've got an early flight home so we passed on the parties--and instead will bring you some reactions from the bloggers:

First, the Conmmand Post has the transcript up. Alan has been doing the difficult job of blogging objectively.

Ezra Klein at Pandagon:

I believe, truly, that this is the perfect speech for John Kerry. It addresses every slander against him and absorbs the vulnerable edges into positive portions of a great man. This is phenomenal.

Stunning. He did it. I didn't think he could, not after Obama and Clinton and Edwards and Cleland. But he did it. He gave the perfect speech for this moment, for this race, for this crowd. He couldn't rely on his charisma and so he instead told the country where it needed to go. He couldn't do flash so he did substance...and he did it. There's nothing I can say beyond that...I'm sorry...I just don't have the words for it. I'm inspired. I'd forgot what this felt like.

The negative: Instapundit wasn't impressed. He even thought the delivery was bad. But, what a break with tradition. Instapundit is allowing comments on the post.

More to follow. Add your own favorites in the comments.

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The Main Event: John Kerry Hits it Out of the Park

Kerry is here. He's pumped. He's happy. Check out his face. The crowd is wild. Everyone is on their feet shouting "Kerry, Kerry, Kerry." The bloggers are all typing fast and furious now.

I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty."

We're here to make America stronger at home and respected in the world. Tonight I am home."

He's passionate. He clicks with the audience.

His delivery is perfect. We've never seem him this good. He's done it. He's over the top with this crowd:

I will be a commander-in-chief who will never mislead us into war. I will have a vice president who will not conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws. I will have a Secretary of Defense who will listen to the best advice of our military leaders. And I will appoint an Attorney General who actually upholds the Constitution of the United States....."My fellow Americans, this is the most important election of our lifetime. The stakes are high...

He's preaching to the choir now.

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Kerry's War Brothers and Max Cleland

The film bio was well-received. We liked the parts about Teresa best. Now the war brothers are coming out. All are dressed the same, what's up with that? Navy shirts and tan slacks. Now Lieutenant Jim Rassman is speaking. "No one asked me to join this campaign. I volunteered."

"He will make a great commander in chief." There's that phrase again. A clear intent by the campaign to let the voters know that Bush doesn't own the phrase or the title or the job. It works.

Max Cleland comes on now. Great reception. The crowd comes alive. More than alive.

Max wants to tell us how he came to know and love John Kerry. It's a speech filled with passion, passion that grows as the speech continues. Early on:

The Bible tells me that no greater love has a man than to lay down his life for his friends. John Kerry's fellow crewmates--the men I am honored to share the stage with--are living testimony to his leadership, his courage under fire, and his willingness to risk his life for this fellow Americans. There is no greater patriotism than that.

Later:

My fellow Americans - John Kerry has never let me down. he'll never let you down. He is an authentic American hero. He is the next captain of our ship of state. And he will be the next President of the United States.

The crowd cheers wildly. Mission accomplished.

George Bush certainly can't match that kind of military patriotism and courage. Most of America believes he was awol. A rich kid protected by his admission to the National Guard. And even then, he may not have shown up.

When it comes to patriotism, Kerry wins hands-down over Bush. Bush the pretend Texas cowboy. Kerry the hero and leader.

It's our choice.

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The Kerry Sisters: A Class Act

Vanessa Kerry is first. She's sure of herself and polished. "My father loves this country and is ready to lead it." and "At my father's core is integrity."

Alexandra comes next. She begins with a funny story about her father once saving her hamster. The sisters have different styles but both are warm and emotional. They're a hit with the crowd.

They certainly help to humanize their dad and they bring some warmth to the campaign. They and Teresa show their personalities, something Laura Bush and her twins have not done so far. Will it be too late? Will the voters become attached to the more approachable and open Kerry women? Or do the women behind the man not really matter in the final analysis?

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Open Thread on the Convention

It's the last night. Here's an open thread to discuss the convention. What did you think? Were you satisfied or disappointed? Was there enough discussion of substantive issues or was it too focused on personalities? What was missing? What did they do right?

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Nancy Pelosi: Issue-Focused

Nancy Pelosi's speech has a recurring theme: Democrats have it right.

She hits on education and every child's right to have a world class one. She trashes Republicans for outsourcing jobs. "Invest in America and in our people."

She moves on to seniors, and health care. "Health care is a right, not a privilege."

She gets very excited when endorsing Tom Daschle--the crowd responds. A very small portion of her speech is devoted to John Kerry. It's mostly a cheerleading call to Democrats--nothing wrong with that. She's really one of the few speakers who addresses the issues as well as the candidates.

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Joe Lieberman: Falls Short

Here's Jolting Joe. He's not moving us. But he never did. So far the crowd is lukewarm, politely clapping. His speech is filled with the same themes as the others: God, values, family, strengthening the military and homeland security. He too uses a "plowshares into weapons" analogy that Wesley Clark used. He ends with John Edwards' slogan about hope. Totally uninspiring. He was far more passionate in the debates and when he was determined to stay in the race. He's way too pro-war for us, but at least then we admired his passion.

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Wesley Clark Scores

Wesley Clark gives a great speech. He's getting thunderous applause. He's on fire like we've never seen him:

And this soldier has news for you. Any who tells you that one political party has a monopoly on the defense of our nation is committing a fraud on the American people....The safety of our country demands an end to the warped, doctrinaire, ineffective policies of that crowd in Washington. Enough is enough.

Now he's praising John Kerry. He includes God, family, moral values, physical courage. He mentions Bill Clinton and the crowd explodes with applause.

Clark says the magic words: John Kerry will be a great commander in chief.

He ends with, "America: Hear this soldier. Choose John Kerry."

The crowd is wild now. They are standing, even in the upper balconies. Great job, General!

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