09.06.12 1:05 PM ET
5 Things to Watch at the DNC on Thursday
1. Gov. Charlie Crist
The former governor of Florida who turned his back on the Republican Party to become an independent will speak Thursday night. An Obama campaign official said earlier this week that Crist will speak about efforts to unite the country. “Governor Crist can personally speak to this, and contrast the president’s vision with Mitt Romney’s, which caters to the most extreme elements of the Republican Party and undermines the middle class,” the official said.
2. Scarlett Johansson, Kerry Washington, Natalie Portman
There’s a reason Republicans got so excited about having Clint Eastwood speak at the RNC–most of the star power usually leans toward the Democrats. On Wednesday, a list of Hollywood guests slated to appear on the convention’s final evening leaked that included actresses Scarlett Johansson, Kerry Washington, and Natalie Portman. It was not revealed what the three women would speak about during their appearance, but it seems unlikely that it will involve the use of unoccupied furniture.
3. Senator John Kerry
The senator from Massachusetts and one-time presidential contender will be speaking on national security on Thursday night. It could be an important speech for Kerry as well as Obama, as political observers speculate that Kerry may be in the running as a replacement for Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Kerry is reportedly set to speak shortly before Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for president.
4. Vice President Joe Biden
It’s hardly a time for verbal fumblings and slips of the tongue as the vice president accepts his party’s nomination and makes a case for an Obama second term Thursday evening. Biden will likely emphasize his own connections to white, working-class voters. Biden will take the podium after a number of very well-received performances over the last two days by speakers including Bill Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama.
5. President Barack Obama
While the Republican Convention in Tampa was a concerted effort to re-introduce Mitt Romney to the American public in a way that made him seem like less of a humorless plutocrat, Obama will likely look to reenergize supporters who feel a decline in enthusiasm for the candidate since 2008. Obama first rose into the public consciousness after his stand-out oratorical performance at the 2004 Democratic Convention – whether a more mature, experienced Obama will be able to do it again is the question of the evening. Also, because of a last-minute change of venue necessitated by the weather, there will be no balloon drop following his speech.