Obama campaign: DNC to focus on middle class
Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN) — With the Democratic National Convention falling one week after the Republican gathering, Democrats hope to have the “final word” by focusing on the middle class–a message lost during the GOP event, according to a senior Obama campaign official Monday.
“Unlike last week, where you didn’t hear one tangible idea…We’re going to run on our ideas. We’re going to tout and trumpet our ideas,” the official told CNN reporters covering the convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The official argued the two main takeaways from the GOP convention in Tampa, Florida were Paul Ryan’s controversial speech–in which several independent fact checkers criticized two of Ryan’s claims–and the unusual skit actor Clint Eastwood performed with an empty chair.
“The advantage of going second is you get the last word,” the official said, adding that they don’t need to “tweak” any of their messaging based off of last week’s convention.
Asked if the president would be laying out any new plans or policies during his Thursday night speech, the official did not confirm whether or not viewers can expect to hear anything new.
“Let’s wait for the president’s speech,” the official said.
But they can expect to hear a lot of talk about the middle class during this week’s event. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden make it a big theme in their campaign trail speeches, saying the president’s policies aim to build the middle class from “the middle out” rather than the “top-down.”
The week will weave in a few main narratives, the official added. One is called “American Heroes,” featuring people who have overcome obstacles. “Progress for People” will include those who represent some of the administration’s decisions, including the repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the directive to stop deporting certain people who were brought to the country illegally when they were young. Those who fall in the “Stronger Together” category will represent people who have made “real, tangible differences,” the official said.
Asked if the president’s Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, will come up frequently during convention speeches, the official said they don’t need to say his name to drum up opposition against the GOP.
“I don’t want to say you’re not going to hear his name,” the official said. “(But) you don’t have to say ‘Mitt Romney’ to lay out a choice that voters face of whether to move forward or to go back.”
Former President Bill Clinton will deliver the nominating address Thursday night prior to Obama’s speech. While the two presidents have had tension in the past–especially when Clinton’s wife, Hillary, faced Obama in a bitter Democratic primary in 2008–Clinton has served as a top surrogate for the president this year.
The Obama campaign, however, said they have not yet seen Clinton’s speech but added the campaign has a “good working relationship” with the 42nd president and they’re “not worried” about his remarks on stage.
Earlier Monday, convention organizers gave more details at a press conference about the week and revealed information about the youngest and oldest delegates. DNC Secretary Alice Germond said this year’s event includes 100 more Hispanic and Latino delegates than in 2008.
The youngest delegate is 17-year-old Samuel Gray of Iowa, while the oldest delegate, Elzena Johnson, of Mississippi was born in 1914.
— CNN’s Ashley Killough contributed to this report