The Democratic National Convention passes the halfway point Wednesday at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center. Opening gavel time: 4:30 p.m.
Three things to watch:
1. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will recommend Hillary Clinton to independent voters.
The one-time Republican who flirted with running for president as an independent will get a prime-time speaking slot at this Democratic convention. He’s expected to endorse Clinton, a fellow gun control advocate who could use his help in reaching out to unaffiliated voters in key swing states. The big question: Will Bloomberg rip fellow billionaire businessman Donald Trump, Clinton’s Republican opponent? Bloomberg has said he’s had a casual friendship with Trump and even appeared on Trump’s TV show, “The Apprentice.” But Bloomberg recently wrote that fellow New Yorker Trump is running “the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember.”
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2. America will get its first good look at Clinton’s running mate.
Tim Kaine has been climbing the political ladder, step by step, since 1998, when be became mayor of Richmond. Then he was Virginia’s lieutenant governor, then its governor and, since 2013, Kaine has been its U.S. senator. Is vice president next? The job description usually calls for someone who can play the attack dog role during the campaign. But Kaine has been called the nicest guy in the Senate. Will he bare some fangs or show his sunny personality? Or both?
3. The Obama-Biden team will go to bat for Clinton.
The Democratic president and vice president will have a few goals when they give their respective speeches to the convention Wednesday night. Obama needs to make the case for a President Hillary Clinton, cast Trump as too big a risk in this dangerous world and fire up the coalition that twice elected him president – African-Americans, young people, women, Latinos and liberals. Biden’s strength is his ability to connect with blue collar voters. Obama has a stake in Clinton’s success at the polls. A Trump win in November could torpedo his legacy. Finally, these speeches by Obama-Biden will be opportunities to kick off their farewell tour as they prepare to leave the political stage and await history’s verdict.
On tap for N.C. delegates: At their Wednesday breakfast meeting, they’ll hear from U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim ever elected to Congress and a high-profile supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders during his primary battle with Clinton. Deborah Ross, the Democrats’ candidate for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, will meet with her state’s delegates over coffee and other refreshments at a Philadelphia law office. And U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., who heads the Congressional Black Caucus, will speak to the full convention.
On TV: CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and C-SPAN will offer all-day coverage. PBS will start its coverage at 8 p.m., while broadcast networks ABC, CBS and NBC will begin theirs at 10 p.m.