Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Julián Castro, San Antonio Mayor, Will Deliver Democratic Convention Keynote

Julián Castro, San Antonio Mayor, Will Deliver Democratic Convention Keynote

Julián Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, will become the first Latino to deliver the keynote address at Democratic National Convention.

Castro, 37, is scheduled to speak Sept. 4 to open the convention, a slot usually reserved to showcase promising politicians.

Univision News reports:

"Castro's prime speaking spot is sure to stoke speculation about his political future, since Obama's keynote address in 2004 helped launch his national political career. As is tradition, also speaking that night will be the First Lady, Michelle Obama. ...

"Castro's Mexican-American heritage and his political skills have put him on the radar as someone who could fill the position of his party's Latino standard-bearer at a time when Latino voters are gaining more and more political influence."

NPR's Maria Hinojosa profiled Castro for a piece on All Things Considered in 2010. Castro and his twin brother, Joaquin, who serves on the Texas legislature, were brought up in politics. Their mother Rosie Castro was a leader in the Raza Unida Party of the '70s.

Hinojosa spoke to Henry Flores, a political scientist and dean of the Graduate School at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, who said Castro is a part of a third generation of Latino politicians who "are well-educated, [and] can make policy and debate with the best of the folks around the nation."

Castro and his twin brother both graduated from Stanford. Castro graduated from Harvard Law in 2000. By 2001 at age 26, he had become the youngest councilman in San Antonio and by 2009, he was the youngest mayor of a major American city. Last year, he won reelection with 82 percent of the vote.

In a 2010 New York Times Magazine profile, Castro was called the "post-Hispanic Hispanic" politician because his ideology is complex and sometimes parts ways with many of older Chicanos — like his mother — who were crucial in the civil rights struggle of Mexican Americans. The Times reports, for example, that on the question of the Alamo, Castro doesn't have the same distaste his mother does. They go on:

"A Democrat, Castro is a pragmatist, sometimes unpredictably so. He supports free trade, including the North American Free Trade Agreement, advocates an energy policy that includes fossil fuels, believes in balanced budgets and refers to David Souter as his ideal Supreme Court justice. Like a large plurality of his fellow San Antonians, Castro is a Roman Catholic, but he was the first San Antonio mayor to be grand marshal when he marched in the annual gay rights parade, and he is pro-choice. "We disagree on this, the pope and I," he says with a smile."

Castro released a video today about the keynote address.

"Being the keynote speaker at the convention this year is an honor I don't take lightly," Castro said. "I know I've got some big shoes to fill."

While Castro will be the first Latino keynote speaker at the DNC, NBC Latino notes that in 1984 Katharine Davalos Ortega, who was U.S. Treasurer, gave the keynote address at the Republican National Convention.



Bill Clinton To Speak at DNC, Will Nominate Obama

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mitt Romney gears up for Tampa Convention

POLITICO announces convention plans

POLITICO announces convention plans


7/23/12 10:06 AM EDT

Fresh off the wire:

***POLITICO announced today an impressive lineup of events and live shows to be produced from Tampa and Charlotte during this summer’s Republican and Democratic national conventions, many of which will air nationally on C-SPAN.

From newsmaker roundtables to watch parties with live analysis, POLITICO will offer convention-goers and its readers a variety of events and shows. Building off the momentum of its popular primary election analysis shows, several convention-editions of POLITICO LIVE will be produced, scheduled throughout the morning, afternoon and evening. Featuring top POLITICO journalists, newsmakers and official convention programming, shows will be launched by a special kickoff program the Sunday before the Republican convention and the Monday before the Democratic convention.

Leading the event schedule will be POLITICO’s popular Playbook Breakfast newsmaker series, hosted by POLITICO’s chief White House correspondent Mike Allen. Televised live daily by C-SPAN, the convention-edition breakfasts will be held daily and will be co-hosted by the Tampa Bay Times during the Republican convention and The Charlotte Observer during the Democratic convention. POLITICO has partnered with both local publications to co-produce newspapers in each city during the respective conventions. The Playbook Breakfast series is presented by Bank of America.

Each afternoon, POLITICO will host policy luncheons featuring newsmakers involved in major issues of the economy, energy and health care. These discussions will be led by POLITICO’s well-respected team of policy reporters and editors. The lunches are presented by the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Wind Energy Association and the Premier health care alliance, respectively.

Each evening, the POLITICO Lounge will offer guests a unique way to watch the speeches while mingling over cocktails and will feature a nightly live production of POLITICO LIVE, carried on a delayed-basis by C-SPAN. The Lounge is presented by BAE Systems, Diageo and Intel.

All events and shows — which will be open for registration, free and on the record — will be streamed on POLITICO.com and mobile devices and produced from the POLITICO Hub, just a few blocks outside secure convention perimeters. In Tampa, the Hub will be located inside the Rivergate Tower. In Charlotte, it will be hosted at Packard Place. In both cities, the POLITICO Hub will feature a Refresh Station presented by Coca-Cola.


Military stand ready if needed at RNC, other conventions

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Former U.S. Army Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Gary Huber was assigned to a Nike missile site defending Chicago against Soviet bombers when he first heard about Operation Garden Plot.
An intelligence agency believed the Students for a Democratic Society intended to disrupt the 1968 Democratic National Convention by seizing an Army installation along Chicago's lakefront.
Nike Hercules missiles were equipped with nuclear warheads, and the federal government wasn't taking any chances.
Government officials brought in an infantry brigade from Colorado and provided Chicago-area Nike personnel with riot control equipment and marksmanship training, said Huber, an electronics specialist whose primary Garden Plot assignment was as a sniper.
"My job was to shoot to kill as directed," Huber said in a Skype interview from his Illinois home. "I'm surprised we were issued ammunition because that normally wasn't the case exceptwhen I was assigned along the East German border."
The 1968 Democratic convention was indeed riotous, but nobody took over the Army installation. More than four decades later, the idea that the military would be called in to help police a political convention seems drastic.
That doesn't mean plans aren't still in place, though.
Over the past 44 years, Operation Garden Plot has evolved and been superseded by U.S. Northern Command plans created specifically for major public events — including the 2012 political conventions in Tampa and Charlotte.
"During the Democratic/Republican National Conventions, Department of Defense personnel will support the U.S. Secret Service," a Northern Command spokesman said in an email.
"For operational security reasons we do not discuss the numbers of military personnel and resources that are involved," U.S. Navy Lt. Cdr. William G. Lewis said. "Additionally, we do not share our operational plans."
The secretary of Defense would have to approve any request for military assistance, Lewis said.
Northern Command took over responsibility for homeland security when President George W. Bush and the Department of Defense created the agency after the 9/11 attacks. The agency refers to Operation Garden Plot as "an old Army plan that is no longer is in existence," Lewis said.
Military publications have reported security officials have called upon aspects of Garden Plot plans and its Northern Command evolution at political conventions from 1968 through at least 2004.
"I would say that 9/11 increased the threat perception," said John Pike, director of Global Security.org, who has been called to testify to Congress on military affairs. "People have been worried about al- Qaida jumping out of manhole covers."
Pike said he understands that the military must be prepared for a serious event at a political convention, even though as a Nixon-era anti-Vietnam war "street fighter" he sees that scenario as unlikely.
"I think the whole thing is pretty harmless," said Pike, who said Garden Plot got its start from conflicts over civil rights and the Vietnam War. "But look at what's being planned for the Olympics, with an aircraft carrier in east London.
"If anything goes wrong, you are asked, 'Why didn't you plan for this.' If nothing happens, people will say 'you overreacted.' "
The details of what Garden Plot evolved into are classified.But the original operation provides an indication of how the government in recent years planned for events in which the military would be called upon to support civilian security forces.
A 1968 copy of the Army's Garden Plot originally classified as confidential categorized Tampa/St. Petersburg as an "intermediate priority" for Army planning.
A section on "specifics during disturbances" cited "fire, looting, arson and numbers and types of people involved (i.e. juveniles, Negroes, Puerto Ricans)."
Indicators of potential violence included "high unemployment and increased crime rates among minority groups" and "protests by minority groups to such conditions as slum conditions, segregation in housing and schools, lack of jobs, lack of recreational facilities, police brutality and local overpricing practices."
Equipment and weapons to be issued to military involved in Operation Garden Plot included rifles, pistols, shotguns, M60 machine guns and grenade launchers.
Subsequent documents show Garden Plot was revised over the years and changed the way intelligence was to be gathered.
Northern Command's creation resulted in Garden Plot successors, called concept of operations plans, for "Defense Support of Civil Authorities" and "Civil Disturbance Operations."
Among case studies in a National Guard handbook is a synopsis of planning for the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York. It said Northern Command provided sophisticated communications equipment to provide a common operational picture of the convention.
"What would happen … if there were an incident at the Convention?" the case study said. "(The joint task force commander) could only guess because the contingencies were simply too many and varied."
Huber, who was based at the Munster, Ind., Nike site south of Chicago in 1968, became involved in a typical military change of plans during the Democratic convention.
At first, he said, he was called upon to evaluate the chemical, biological and radiological preparedness for an assault by Students for a Democratic Society assault on a Nike missile site along Lake Shore Drive, one of nine such sites encircling Chicago and Gary, Ind.
"We had been told the protestors planned to occupy the site at Jackson Park," Huber said.
Launching a Nike missile required a complicated process to ensure security. But because the launcher area contained nuclear warheads, those areas were provided additional fencing and dog patrols at Nike sites nationwide.
"I do not know if the Army thought the SDS could launch a Nike Hercules, but some intelligence agency made the case there was intent by the SDS and a possibility of success," Huber said.
Huber also coordinated operations between Nike personnel and soldiers from the 5th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colo., and prepared to become a sniper.
"The primary purpose of the infantry brigade was to stand shoulder-by-shoulder on the inside of the exclusion (inner perimeter) fence of the launcher site," Huber said.
"The 5th Infantry soldiers were to be used as a show of force. Others from the Nike sites had security assignments triggered by signals, alarms or voice announcements to report to a building, a rooftop, a radar mast or another security point depending upon the alerting signal."
The Army took the Jackson Park site off operational alert, its missiles and warheads kept beyond sight in their underground magazines, and put Huber's Nike site, 20 miles to the southeast, on "hot" status ready to launch a missile within 15 minutes.
The Jackson Park site reportedly remained secure, beyond the Chicago protestors' confrontations with authorities. Huber rode out the convention at the Munster, Ind., Nike site, though not without a little excitement.
"A young person chose to penetrate the site through a hole in the bottom of a fence the Army had temporarily filled with some concrete blocks," Huber recalled. "He immediately met one of our German shepherd security dogs and got hauled away."

KMT delegation to attend U.S. party conventions

KMT delegation to attend U.S. party conventions
2012/07/24 17:27:36
Taipei, July 24 (CNA) Kuomintang (KMT) vice chairmen John Chiang and Chan Chun-po will lead party delegations to the national conventions of the Republican and Democratic parties in the United States later this year, before the November presidential elections in that country, party sources said Tuesday.

The KMT will be represented at the Republican National Convention by Chiang, who is also vice chairman of the International Democrat Union, a worldwide alliance of center-right parties.

His delegation will include KMT Deputy Secretary-General Lin De-rui and lawmakers Ting Shou-chung and Lin Yu-fang.

Meanwhile, Chan will attend the Democratic National Convention at the head of a delegation comprising lawmakers Lai Shyh-bao, Fai Hrong-tai, and Chan Kai-chin and top adviser at the KMT International Affairs Center King Pu-tsung.

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party and Taiwan Solidarity Union will also be represented at the conventions, while the People First Party is still considering who to send, according to local media reports.

The parties have been invited by Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as is customary.

The conventions are usually held every four years for the two major parties in the U.S. to formally select their candidates for the presidential elections, which will be held Nov. 6 this year.

The Republican convention will take place in Tampa, Florida Aug. 27-30 , while the Democratic party's will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina Sept. 3-6.

During their visit to the U.S., KMT officials will also call on members of think tanks, academics, political heavyweights and representatives of Taiwanese expatriate communities, party sources said.

(By Lee Shu-hua and Scully Hsiao) 


Democratic convention benefits from corporate cash

Democratic convention benefits from corporate cash


FILE - In this June 5, 2012 file photo, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz speaks at Time Warner Cable Arena during a media walk through for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.  Shortly after last year’s high-profile announcement that the 2012 Democratic National Convention would be the first in history not to rely on special-interest money, organizers in Charlotte quietly set up a nonprofit entity to rake in corporate cash. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Duke Energy have all sent checks to New American City Inc., a non-profit entity being run by top officials on the convention host committee. Corporate money is bankrolling operations in direct support of the convention, including paying the salaries of the 41 full-time host committee employees, their health insurance and for the offices where they work.
FILE - In this June 5, 2012 file photo, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz speaks at Time Warner Cable Arena during a media walk through for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Shortly after last year’s high-profile announcement that the 2012 Democratic National Convention would be the first in history not to rely on special-interest money, organizers in Charlotte quietly set up a nonprofit entity to rake in corporate cash. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Duke Energy have all sent checks to New American City Inc., a non-profit entity being run by top officials on the convention host committee. Corporate money is bankrolling operations in direct support of the convention, including paying the salaries of the 41 full-time host committee employees, their health insurance and for the offices where they work. 


Shortly after last year's high-profile announcement that the 2012 Democratic National Convention would be the first in history not to rely on special-interest money, organizers in Charlotte quietly set up a nonprofit entity to rake in corporate cash.
Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Duke Energy have all sent checks to New American City Inc., a non-profit entity being run by top officials on the convention host committee. Corporate money is bankrolling operations in direct support of the convention, including paying the salaries of the 41 full-time host committee employees, their health insurance and for the offices where they work.
Corporate money is also paying for parties for Democratic delegates and donors, the media welcome bash and the Labor Day street festival kicking-off the week's events. Corporate supporters will also provide transportation for convention delegates, including buses and a fleet of courtesy cars.
Convention organizers said last week they are keeping true to the self-imposed ban because none of the corporate money will be spent on events inside the sports arena and stadium where President Barack Obama will accept his party's nomination for a second term.
"I guess it comes down to how you define 'the convention,'" said Dan Murrey, the executive director of the host committee, Charlotte in 2012. "The distinction we've drawn is that there are official convention activities that are in the program, that are gavel-to-gavel, have minutes, the whole bit. And then there is all the stuff that happens outside of that."
The amounts and sources of the corporate donations to New American City are being kept secret until well after the September convention is over, though a few companies have confirmed they are providing support.
Special interests such as corporations, lobbyists and political action committees have historically underwritten the costs of the host committees for the nominating conventions of both major parties, as is allowed under federal law. Organizers of next month's Republican National Convention in Tampa have made no secret about raising millions from special interests.
But in the first presidential election since the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizen's United case loosened restrictions on political giving and spending, President Obama's campaign is struggling to keep pace with the flood of money flowing to Republican-allied groups. As part of a broader strategy painting Mitt Romney as the favored candidate of Wall Street wealth, Democratic organizers want to draw a clear distinction between themselves and the opposition.
"This convention will be different," U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said in Charlotte last year. "We will make this the first convention in history that does not accept any funds from lobbyists, corporations or political action committees. This will be the first modern political convention funded by the grassroots, funded by the people."
The core convention events in the Time Warner Cable Arena and Bank of America Stadium are overseen by the Democratic National Convention Committee Inc., a Washington-based nonprofit corporation affiliated with the Democratic Party.
The DNCC's operations are funded with $18 million provided by American taxpayers who check the $3 political donation box on their federal tax returns. Security for the convention is funded by a $50-million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Republican convention received identical government grants.
To raise money for costs beyond what taxpayers provide, the DNCC contracts with Charlotte in 2012, a North Carolina-based nonprofit corporation. The non-partisan host committee is co-chaired by Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue, both Democrats.
Under the DNCC's master contract with Charlotte in 2012, the host committee must raise $36.7 million from individual donors to provide "goods, facilities, equipment and services" to the convention, including millions to rent and renovate the sports venues and build the stages where Obama and other prominent Democrats will speak.
Records show members of the host committee incorporated New American City on April 4, 2011, about two months after the Democrats announced the ban on corporate cash, to raise unrestricted money to "defray administrative expenses incurred by the host committee organizations."
New American City is run out of the Charlotte in 2012 offices, located in a high-rise office tower in space provided rent-free by the building's primary tenant, Duke Energy. The largest electricity provider in the country is also providing the office space used by DNCC staff, located on another floor.
Mayor Foxx is also the president of New American City. Murrey, who's on leave from his orthopedic surgery practice to run the host committee, doubles as treasurer.
"The bottom line is that there are tons of corporations that understand this is a great opportunity for our community to be in an international spotlight, and they want to help us make sure we make the most of it," he said.
Some of Charlotte's largest employers - Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Duke Energy - all confirmed giving cash donations to New American City, though spokespeople declined to say how much. A spokesman for Coca-Cola confirmed the company's "support."
With only six weeks left until the convention, organizers won't say how close they are to raising the required $36.7 million, other than to say that fundraising is "on track." Raising this money from individual donors likely wouldn't be possible without the corporate funds paying the fundraisers' salaries and phone bills.
If they fall short, the host committee has a $10 million bank line of credit guaranteed by Duke Energy. The host committee maintains this account does not violate the corporate fundraising ban, though Murrey refused to discuss whether corporate money could be used to retire any debts that might remain after the convention.
Host committees are required to disclose details about their donors and spending to the Federal Election Commission within 60 days of the close of the convention. A commission spokeswoman said she could not comment on whether New American City has to follow the same guidelines.
Murrey said New American City will disclose its donors after the convention, at the same time as the host committee.
As a non-profit, New American City is also required to disclose its fundraising totals on its tax returns, which are public records. New American City has not yet filed its 2011 return, after filing for an extension.
Asked about the extensive use of corporate money, DNCC spokeswoman Joanne Peters stressed that the Democrats' fundraising rules are self-imposed. She said the free office space provided by Duke Energy doesn't violate the DNCC's ban on corporate giving because it is an in-kind donation, rather than cash, which is allowed under the rules they've set up for themselves.
"We've gone further than any convention in history, and much further than the Republicans, to change the way conventions are planned and funded with the goal of empowering more Americans to participate," Peters said.
AP writer Jack Gillum in Washington contributed to this report.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/21/2905502_p2/democratic-convention-benefits.html#storylink=cpy

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Think political conventions don’t matter? Think again!

Think political conventions don’t matter? Think again!

By Robert Weiner and Jaime Ravenet
Special to the Observer

By Robert Weiner and Jaime Ravenet The Observer

Posted: Sunday, Jul. 15, 2012Modified: Friday, Jul. 13, 2012

With an incumbent guaranteed renomination, will the Charlotte convention this summer matter?

Despite what many think, national political conventions craft a message and can have significant impact on elections and policy. Who can forget John McCain’s introduction of Sarah Palin in St. Paul on Sept. 3, 2008? It was, at first, in that bright moment, the game changer that Republicans were hoping for. Just a few weeks later, with non-answers to Katie Couric about books and court cases, that initial decision became a serious negative and Palin never recovered. The un-vetted way McCain made his VP decision, required to be timed for the convention, cost him and his party dearly.

Perhaps the most negative impact from a convention was on July 14, 1972, when nominee George McGovern gave his acceptance speech at 2 in the morning. Nobody at home was up to hear the speech on TV, and the Democratic Party was left with no unifying message. They never recovered. Loss of the usual “bounce” was one reason McGovern lost every state but Massachusetts.

Another convention event that had major impact was Bill Clinton’s July 1988 speech nominating Michael Dukakis. He spoke for 34 minutes that seemed like an hour. Bored, everybody broke into a din of talk over him. Delegates applauded the end of the speech – not its content. Tom Brokaw saw Clinton the next day and both shared verbal frowns; they both knew it was that bad. Many eventually grew to love President Clinton and his brilliance, but it took years for the future president to reestablish his reputation as a public speaker. Now he has no peer, proof one can learn.

The party convention platform offers opportunities for controversy and news stories. Republicans have a history of inserting opposition to women’s choice and cost themselves five points in the polls. When 99 percent of women use some form of contraception, opposition to it is hardly a winning issue regardless of party. Conversely, Democrats have routinely inserted gay rights issues into their platform. Until now, it has not mattered much, evidenced by the fact that 31 out of 31 states that have put the question of equal protection of sexual orientation to a popular vote have outright rejected the notion. Now, with President Barack Obama’s leadership position on the issue, polls are shifting. For the first time, a majority support gay marriage.

Everett Dirksen’s speech nominating Barry Goldwater (July 16, 1964) at the Republican convention in San Francisco reinvigorated the American conservative movement. Dirksen’s unique rhetorical masterpiece recast his party’s direction and launched their candidate’s nomination by calling for “Courage, conscience, competence, contribution.”

Obama’s acceptance speech in 2008 was played around the world, and his keynote address in 2004 was where he first established himself as a post-racial candidate who bridged demographic gaps and displayed masterful rhetorical style. In 2004, Obama lifted the delegates and Americans everywhere to their highest aspirations. The statement, “There’s not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America; there is the United States of America,” electrified the delegates and became the making of a president. He needs to do it again in Charlotte.

Convention location counts. The Democrats’ convention in the swing state of Colorado in 2008 made a difference in that state’s going for Obama. It’s certainly possible that holding the convention in Charlotte in 2012 will make a similar difference. The speeches and publicity for the Democrats’ point of view will get greater airing in the state during the convention.

Sometimes parties don’t learn how important a convention can be, and they suffer. The Republicans could be setting themselves up for another 1964 Goldwater-like “Extremism … is no vice ... Moderation is no virtue!” moment in the current election year. This tactic helped lose the general election for Republicans in 1964, but is eerily similar to today’s tone, epitomized by Sen. Richard Mourdock’s, R-Ind., radical redefinition of bipartisanship: “Bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view.”

While conventions are by definition partisan, they also are patriotic events. Both parties want to improve the country. Before Charlotte and Tampa begin their rituals, one hopes the message of both is that governing is a public service, not a party loyalty test, and that compromise is not a dirty word. Whoever provides those messages at their convention and inspires, while all the world is watching, just might win the election.

Copyright 2012 The Observer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Description: http://analytics.apnewsregistry.com/analytics/v2/image.svc/The_Observer/RWS/charlotteobserver.com/CAI/1383422176476493896/CVI/20120713T221603Z/E/prod/PC/Basic/AT/ARobert Weiner is a Democratic strategist and was a spokesman in the Clinton White House. Jaime Ravenet is a senior policy analyst at Robert Weiner Associates

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