Sabato's Crystal Ball

Boston Morning Tea

Matt Smyth, Senior Correspondent July 28th, 2004

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If a Political Tree Falls in the Woods…

With no live network coverage of Tuesday night’s convention speeches, their impact on the American public is limited to news highlights, newspaper articles, and word of mouth. Save for keynote speaker Barack Obama and Teresa Heinz Kerry, who closed the evening, most of the podium-dwellers lacked a great deal of national appeal.

Senator Edward Kennedy spoke for a solid 25 minutes, to a cheering crowd waving “KENNEDY” signs, while California First Lady Maria Shriver watched from a Fleet Center luxury box. Kennedy is one of very few speakers this week to actually utter the name “Bush,” when he referenced the president at the end of his remarks. Most speakers to this point have only alluded to the current administration.

Senator Tom Daschle and retiring Congressman Dick Gephardt addressed the convention early in the evening, both giving relatively brief speeches and receiving warm welcomes from the crowd. Daschle will actually be leaving before Kerry accepts the nomination on Thursday, traveling to South Dakota for his own campaign.

Ron Reagan, son of former president Ronald Reagan, also took the podium on Tuesday night and, as expected, refrained from making any significant partisan remarks. Instead, he spoke about the controversial issue of stem cell research. Reagan attempted to summarize the science behind the process, and the medical benefits from its legalization, using the example of a 13-year old girl he knows who is suffering from juvenile diabetes. Even in his conclusion, he urged listeners not to cast a vote for John Kerry in November, but rather to “cast a vote for stem cell research.”

Barack Obama, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Illinois, delivered the keynote speech Tuesday evening, and–based on the audience reaction–lived up to his billing as a crowd favorite, and is being hyped as the future of the Democratic Party. His speech was a positive one, talking about his own success story as a “boy with a funny name,” and praising John Kerry and his plan for America.

The evening wrapped up with remarks by Teresa Heinz Kerry, who had already been in the headlines for her “shove it” comment to a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter. She made light of the situation in her opening, saying “you probably know by now that I have something to say.” The remainder of her time was spent praising her husband and talking about his candidacy. She followed the trend of not mentioning the current president, only referring to the administrations policies.

Opposition Position

While the president is spending the week at his Crawford, Texas ranch, The Republican National Committee is not taking things lying down-but lying low might be a good way to describe it. Operating in an undisclosed location here in Boston, Republicans are working around the clock to combat the information flowing out of the Fleet Center. In the Crystal Ball’s tradition of non-partisan analysis, we will allow our readers to make up their own minds based on each group’s website.

Daytime Schedule

10:00am Caucus Meetings – various locations

African American Caucus, Latino Caucus, Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, Native American Caucus,Ethnic American Caucus

12:00pm Caucus Meetings – various locations

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Caucus, Disabled Caucus, Veterans Caucus

1:00pm People of Faith Caucus Luncheon – Sheraton Boston Hotel

2:00pm Rural Caucus – Sheraton Boston Hotel

4:00pm Convention re-opens – Fleet Center