Obama Set To Take The High Road Under DNC Spotlight
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Democrats are getting ready for the main event.
President Barack Obama will take center stage on Thursday night to lay out his vision of the future, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
Bill Clinton was just the set-up man, but now it’s up to President Obama to make his own case for another term – and he’s getting a lot of advice.
The president made a surprise appearance on the Democratic National Convention stage Wednesday night, hugging it out with Clinton after the former president’s rousing endorsement.
“I want to nominate a man who’s cool on the outside, but who burns for America on the inside,” Clinton said during his near-hour long sermon.
On Thursday night Obama will make his case for another chance to run the country.
“The president will describe the road forward and it’s going to be a positive, uplifting message,” senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said.
Clinton did much of the dirty work Wednesday, laying out the case against the Republicans, and Vice President Joe Biden, who will also speak Thursday, may also go negative, leaving President Obama the high road, the ability to lay out a vision for the future and for fixing the economy.
“Obama can’t sound like a Chicago street politician; he can’t sound like a Harvard law student. He has to try to get a little bit of the Clinton ability of reaching out through the television into the living rooms and saying things are getting better, things are going to be all right. Stick with me and I can get it done,” Hofstra University professor Larry Levy said.
But there was no shortage of advice from New Yorkers.
“He needs to show that he is president for the last four years, but what he can do for the people in the next four years,” New York delegate Edgar Romney said.
“All he has to do is talk about what he’s already accomplished and I also want him to give a reason for Americans to vote for him, to point out the truth about his record. There are a lot of lies going out, attacks that are wrong,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney said.
“There are a lot of people sitting at the kitchen tables with one paycheck trying to out their kids through schools. They want to hear directly from the president how we’re going to continue to grow the economy,” Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said.
The president is also expected to make a pitch for bi-partisan cooperation in Washington, all too aware that partisan politics has made it hard for him to accomplish much.
Jerusalem/God debacle aftermath
Obama watched Clinton’s speech from backstage, then strolled out and embraced him, bringing happy roars from the crowd in his first convention appearance and making for a spirited ending to a trying day for Democrats.
After passing their platform a day earlier in a smoothly scripted show of unity, Democrats reopened it Wednesday to restore a reference to God and to declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
Obama campaign officials said the president personally intervened to change the two planks on God and Jerusalem after there was strong opposition from church groups and many New Yorkers.
“I am glad to see we revisited our party platform to make it absolutely clear that the Democratic Party believes Jerusalem is Israel’s capital city,” Rep. Eliot Engel said in a statement. “After language was omitted from the platform, I spoke with Obama Administration and Democratic Party officials at the Convention to convince them that this language was important to show our solidarity with our ally, Israel, regarding Jerusalem. This is the right decision to revert back to the 2008 language on this matter, and I commend the President for making sure it was changed.”
Not all New Yorkers seemed so concerned about the original omission.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg seemed underwhelmed by the whole issue when asked about it on Thursday.
WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb has Mayor Bloomberg’s reaction
“You know, I think it is a nice gesture. I’m not so sure what the Israeli government wants to do, whether they want to make Jerusalem the capital of Israel. That’s up to them,” Bloomberg told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.
Instead, the mayor said he was more concerned about the threat posed by Iran.
“It’s a gesture but it is not the be all and end all. The real question is will America stand up with Israel and help Israel in its defense where it’s facing a country that’s building nuclear bombs and has publicly said they want to destroy Israel. That is where Israel really needs the help,” Bloomberg told Lamb.
But not all delegates were on board with the changes.
“There was no discussion. We didn’t even see it coming. We were blindsided by it,” said Noor Ul-Hasan, a Muslim delegate from Salt Lake City, who questioned whether the convention had enough of a quorum to even amend the platform.
“The majority spoke last night,” said Angela Urrea, a delegate from Roy, Utah. “We shouldn’t be declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
The language in the platform — a political document — does not affect actual U.S. policy toward Israel. The administration has long said that determining Jerusalem’s status is an issue that should be decided in peace talks by Israelis and Palestinians.
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