Biden’s Tennessee Connection
When Joe Biden started running for a Senate seat in 1972, few people thought the young man from Delaware had a chance, writes Michael Cass, but a well-placed Tennessee couple tagged him early as an up-and-comer.
“I was 29 years old, running for the United States Senate against a guy with an 81 percent favorable rating, a year where Richard Nixon won my state by over 65 percent of the vote, and I was an Irish Catholic in a state that (had) never elected one,” Biden told Tennessee Democrats in a speech two years ago, recounting a story that got scant media attention at the time.
Biden pulled off a stunning, 3,162-vote upset with a mix of youthful vigor, skillful campaigning, energized volunteers and smart advertising — fueled by tens of thousands of dollars that a prominent Tennessee couple raised for his campaign.
Actress Ashley Judd put her high-wattage star power to use in the political arena on Tuesday by imploring Tennessee’s delegates to the Democratic National Convention to share personal stories of how their lives have improved under President Barack Obama, reports Michael Collins.
Judd said Tennesseans have a rich history and tradition as storytellers that could be used to help the Obama administration make its case for another four years.
“With all of the obfuscation of the facts, with all of the distortions, we have to take the truth and the honesty and the accomplishments back,” the actress said to rousing applause.
Judd, who lives in Williamson County, is one of Tennessee’s 98 delegates and alternates to the national convention, which opened on Tuesday.
The actress was the guest speaker and star attraction at a Tennessee delegation breakfast Tuesday morning. She’ll also have another starring role tonight: She has been chosen to announce the state’s roll call vote from the convention floor when Democrats officially nominate Obama for a second term.
U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville blasted Davidson County’s recent election problems Wednesday while urging his fellow Tennessee delegates to the Democratic National Convention to work hard to register voters between now and the Oct. 8 deadline, reports The Tennessean.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, folks,” Cooper said at the delegation’s breakfast. “We have got to get our folks registered.”
The congressman said recruiting Democrats to vote for President Barack Obama in November is especially critical in light of Davidson County’s “outrageous” situation. Some voters, including Sheriff Daron Hall, have said they were given Republican ballots by default after poll workers failed to ask them their party preference during the Aug. 2 primary. The county was using new electronic poll books in 60 of 160 precincts.
“This is unbelievable, that anything could be programmed like this to take voters and make them Republican,” Cooper said. “This isn’t like defaulting to R. This is like defrauding folks of their normal rights.
“The implications of this are something. If you treat the sheriff this way, you’ll treat anybody this way.”
Rogero Says Stimulus Worked
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero has a message for those who argue President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus did nothing to improve the economy, reports the News Sentinel.
“It did create jobs,” she said. “Things are better.”
Rogero, who arrived in Charlotte on Wednesday for the Democratic National Convention, said the federal stimulus money that Knoxville received has helped fuel a wave of new business and development.
Before she became mayor, Rogero worked for four years as Knoxville’s community development director and held the job when the federal dollars from the 2009 stimulus started flowing down to cities and other communities.
“I saw firsthand as community development director how those stimulus dollars helped to keep money flowing and people employed during tough times,” she said.
Wharton Gets Award
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton received Wednesday night the Democratic Municipal Officials’ Susan Burgess Award for his work in education, according to Bart Sullivan.
Susan Burgess was a Charlotte City Council member and a founding member of the 5,000-member organization. Former Little Rock Mayor Lottie H. Shackelford and Burgess’ daughter, Gillian, were among those who spoke at the cocktail reception held at Emeril’s Eatery before the second day of the Democratic National Convention.
Wharton was introduced to the throng, who were eating such delicacies at lamb lollipops and shrimp pizzas, by Los Angeles City Councilman and mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti.
Wharton pointed to Memphis City Councilman Myron Lowery and recalled Lowery had given him a “chewing out on all three Memphis TV stations” the day his recognition arrived in the mail. Lowery is on the board of directors of the group that had considered six nominations.
“Surely we fight,” said Wharton, “but that’s what makes us strong.”