Conventions risk speaking at voters, not to them

Posted September 6, 2012

— Like the Republican National Convention last week, the Democratic National Convention has been almost choreographed, with speakers sticking to a defined set of talking points.

North Carolina's convention contingent is well-versed in the party message.

"We're not looking to go backwards," Gov. Beverly Perdue said in welcoming delegates on Tuesday.

"(We need to) push this thing forward," Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx said in his address to the convention.

When told that the convention was hearing the same message over and over, top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett said, "We're glad you feel that way."

Jarrett said President Barack Obama is disappointed that the chance of thunderstorms forced him to move his Thursday night acceptance speech from Bank of America Stadium into the much smaller Time Warner Cable Arena – leaving thousands of volunteers on the outside looking in.

"It will be cozy here, but we couldn't take any chances," she said. "We had to put safety first."

Adviser: Obama will speak from heart, experience

Obama will use the opportunity to lay out his vision for moving the nation forward, she said. Vice President Joe Biden and his son Beau also will speak to that vision.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the message isn't getting in the way of finding practical answers to the problems many Americans still face.

"We've got a way to go, but we're making progress," Wasserman Schultz said. "(People) know, as President Clinton said last night, the problems we inherited were worse than any other since (the Great Depression)."

Dems choreograph convention messages Dems choreograph convention messages

William Peace University political science professor David McLennan said there is a danger of speaking at voters instead of to them by sticking too much to the script.

"I think for the average citizen, they're looking for everyday conversation – we're spontaneous. They're not seeing their political leaders do that," McLennan said.

In many cases, artful speakers, such as Clinton and President Barack Obama, still get across the message. They just do it in a different way.


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  • Gidder Dun Sep 7, 2012

    lessismore...."I suppose that is why the moved the DNC indoors...to be sure they could read the teleprompters if it rained."

    I guess you did not watch the enitre RNC. I did and they also read from teleprompters!! Pot meet kettle!!!

  • unc70 Sep 6, 2012

    There were already storms in Charlotte this afternoon at the time people would have been arriving at the stadium and continuing for nearly an hour after they resumed the convention at 5:00. Part of the same line that is coming through the Triangle.

    No mention of the storms in any if the AP stories on wral.com and certainly not on Fox News. Maybe they like you live in some alternate universe.

  • eoglane Sep 6, 2012

    lessismore--- you got that right

  • seenbetterdaze Sep 6, 2012

    Duke Power's CEO just spoke to the DNC saying the only Clean Power Plant is the one NOT BUILT...hold on to your wallets...he is telling us to DO the Right thing...when a Dem says that it will COST the Middle Class Big TIME!

  • mep Sep 6, 2012

    Biden needs to stick "to" a script.... as much as Obama needs his teleprompter. LOL.