Sabatos Crystal Ball

Boston Morning Tea

Matt Smyth, Senior Correspondent July 27th, 2004


Opening Night

By the time the second evening session started, most of the seats in the Fleet Center were filled–even those behind the stage, with obstructed views and a less than preferable position behind the speaker clusters. Former President Jimmy Carter led off with an impassioned speech that was very critical of the current administration, although he refrained from mentioning President Bush by name. The speakers who followed were a diverse group of Democratic members of Congress, including Stephanie Tubbs Jones (OH), Tammy Baldwin (WI), and Robert Menendez (NJ)–who delivered a portion of his remarks in Spanish.

But, as the evening grew late, the crowd was clearly getting restless in anticipation of Senator Hilary Clinton, who would be introducing her husband and former president Bill Clinton. Her remarks were brief, but well received by the Democratic faithful, and she wasted little time in getting to the introduction. When he emerged form backstage, it was to the largest ovation of the evening. His remarks touched on tax cuts, Social Security, federal funding for law enforcement, national security, and international relations, before moving on to John Kerry. When talking about Kerry, Clinton referred to his experience Vietnam and willingness to volunteer, eventually leading the crowd in periodic “Send Me” chants. He briefly touched on John Edwards, joking that he was getting a little jealous of people talking about the veep nominee’s energy, intellect, and charisma.

Clearly the former president was at home in his element, and eager to speak before a large crowd, the size of which he hasn’t spoken before in some time. While the partisan crowd ate it up–and probably would have been just as excited had he been spoon feeding them castor oil–it remains to be seen how Clinton will play to a national audience. He is still a highly polarizing figure, and it’s doubtful that Kerry will want to be identified with him on a national level. Still, the former president still can be of value in certain parts of the country, as Al Gore learned the hard way in 2000.

The Lighter Side of Gore

Former Vice president and 2000 presidential nominee Al Gore took the podium during the earlier evening session, and attempted to show the lighter side of someone who came so close to the presidency four years prior. While apparently not significant enough to be included in a prime late evening slot, Gore reminded the crowd of just how important every vote can be. Here are a few excerpts:

From Kennedy Space Center to the Home of the Kennedys

Florida Senator Bill Nelson, a 1968 graduate of the University of Virginia Law School, was in attendance at a Monday evening reception honoring Virginia Governor Mark Warner, although earlier in the day he was in the Sunshine State for a campaign event with John Kerry and former Senator John Glenn. Besides talking politics, Nelson, a former Space Shuttle pilot, and Glenn also took Kerry aboard the shuttle Discovery, which is currently being prepared for a flight later this year. When asked about the upcoming presidential race, Senator Nelson pointed to a recently released Research 2000 poll that showed Kerry with a five point lead in Florida. He also hinted that northern Florida would be seeing quite a bit of John Edwards during the campaign.

Daytime Schedule

10:30am at Bunker Hill – “A Salute to Those Who Served and Sacraficed” Featuring Max Cleland, Tom Daschle, Nancy Pelosi, Wesley Clark, Daniel Inouye, Charles Rangel, and Jack Valenti

12:00pm at various sites – Caucus meetings

11:45am at UMass McCormack Institute of Politics – Press Conference following Democratic Governors National Policy Forum