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09.04.12

5 Things to Watch at the DNC

From an unprecedented endorsement of same-sex marriage to the first lady's big speech, here's what's worth tuning in for on the first day of the Democratic National Convention.

The schedule for the Democratic National Convention is laid out a little differently than the RNC's, at least on the first day. Where the Republicans offered a series of speeches one after another, on Tuesday the Democrats will mix major speeches with panel discussions. Here's The Daily Beast's guide for what to watch on day one in Charlotte.

How They Would Govern Panel

From 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m., former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, former congressman and chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy Vin Weber, chairman and counselor of the Center for American Progress and Bill Clinton's former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, New Yorker Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza, and Boston Globe columnist Scot Lehigh will gather to discuss how a second Obama administration could ensure that it follows through on its campaign promises. In an election that's heard a lot of promises, a discussion on exactly how the White House will operate going forward will be key.

"People-Powered Politics"

Both parties are making a conscious effort to woo the powerful Latino demographic. The RNC's lineup featured several Hispanic politicians and elected officials, and the DNC Tuesday events include a forum hosted by Voto Latino, an organization founded by actress Rosario Dawson and Maria Teresa Kumar in 2004 to mobilize Latino voters. Dawson and Kumar will discuss immigration, education, and economics with Planned Parenthood President and Democratic activist Cecile Richards, President and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Javier Palomarez, teacher and National Education Association Vice President Lily Eskelsen, California Rep. Xavier Becerra, and Jose Antonio Vargas, the Filipino-American journalist who outed himself last year as an undocumented immigrant. 

Religious Liberty Panel

This discussion, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, will be hosted by Catholics for Choice and focus on "Keeping the Faith in the Democratic Party: Protecting Religious Liberty for Everyone." President Obama's relationship with the Catholic church recently soured in the wake of his move to require contraception coverage for all employer-provided health-care plans, including religiously affiliated employers. This panel discussion is an appeal to Catholic voters and organizations.

Party Platform Announcement

California Rep. Barbara Lee, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker, and retired Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy—the first female member of the U.S. Army to achieve the three-star general ranking—will present the Democratic party's platform for the election. Among other things, the platform is expected to include an endorsement for the legalization of same-sex marriage--a first for a major party. Booker, who has become a national figure in the past few years both for his politics and his local heroism, is the Democratic Party's platform-committee chairman and said last month, "It may repel some, it may attract others. This campaign is not going to turn on gay marriage."

Michelle Obama's Speech

The first night of the DNC will end with a speech from the first lady. Ann Romney's speech last week was explicitly geared towards humanizing her husband and received mixed reviews from both ends of the spectrum. It will be interesting to see how Michelle's speech will compare to Ann's and how the two women will subsequently be compared to one another.