Politics

09.05.12

5 Things to Watch at the DNC on Wednesday

From the young woman who took on Rush Limbaugh to Bubba himself, here’s what’s worth tuning in for on the second day of the Democratic National Convention.

1. Richard Trumka

President of the AFL-CIO, labor leader Richard Trumka will try to rally America’s hammer wielders and hard hats behind President Obama on Wednesday evening. The mustachioed Trumka has taken a decisive line against Republican candidate Mitt Romney, saying in July that the Bain Capital founder “doesn’t care about hard work and responsibility.” Trumka, with the 12-million-strong AFL-CIO at his back, represents an important bridge for Obama between the Oval Office and America’s factories and assembly lines.

2. Nancy Pelosi

While Michelle Obama wowed the delegates on Tuesday night, the Democrats will continue to show off their bona fides with the female vote as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi takes the stage. Pelosi also appeared at the convention on Tuesday alongside congresswomen Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Carolyn Maloney of New York, Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania, among other woman legislators. Pelosi is known as a strong campaigner, and raised $6.8 million in a multistate tour that wrapped up shortly before the start of the convention.

3. Sandra Fluke

The sexual-health activist who took on the right-wing noise machine while still a student at Georgetown Law earlier this year has gone on to make multiple campaign appearances supporting President Obama, and will be a featured speaker on Wednesday evening. After Bill O’Reilly speculated about what form of latex may be dropped on Sandra Fluke at the DNC in place of the standard balloons, Fluke punched back this week saying that it’s “clearly offensive to see a bunch of guys sitting around laughing about dropping condoms on a woman.”

4. Elizabeth Warren

The Democratic candidate battling Scott Brown for a Massachusetts Senate seat will get one of the top billings of the evening, appearing immediately before former President Bill Clinton. In late July, Warren said that her speech would focus on “what is happening to America’s families.” The professor at Harvard Law has held national attention as she contends with Brown, and she has raised $8.67 million for her campaign—more than any other nonpresidential candidate in the 2012 cycle.

5. Bill Clinton

The nation’s 42nd president will throw his full weight behind the incumbent on Wednesday night in a show of support that may seal his status as a Democratic kingmaker. Gregarious and ever the extrovert, Clinton in many ways taps into parts of the Democratic base that Obama—who is sometimes viewed even by the party’s most faithful supporters as reserved to a fault and aloof—does not. Driven apart after Obama defeated Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2008, a closer, functioning political relationship has developed between the two men since they played golf together last September, and Clinton has become one of Obama’s most enthusiastic campaigners.