Arkansans at the DNC | Arkansas Blog

Arkansans at the DNC

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Rep. James Clyburn
  • Rep. James Clyburn

After yesterday's preliminary events, the DNC kicks into full gear today. Delegations begin each day with a breakfast that provide both an opportunity for logistics of the day to be discussed and speeches to be given. The Arkansas breakfast is held at the same hotel as that of the delegation of the swing state of Virginia meaning that a lot of big names are able to drop by while visiting that delegation. This morning, House leader Rep. James Clyburn (SC), Rep. Keith Ellison (MN), and Rev. Jesse Jackson all had words for the delegation. CNN talking head Donna Brazile also stuck her head in to say hi.

Clyburn centered his remarks on the question of the last several days: "Are Americans better off than they were four years ago?" Having been in the room when Bush Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson brought congressional leaders together to warn them that the American economy was at the edge of a cliff four years ago this month, Clyburn emphasized that Obama's steady hand had kept the economy from going into free-fall. Ellison emphasized that Barack Obama's presidency would not have been possible without the foundation established by the leadership—particularly on the economy—of President Bill Clinton.

The featured speakers of the morning, however, were two Attorneys General running for Governor. Maryland AG Doug Gansle came by to voice his full-throated support for his friend and colleague, Arkansas AG Dustin McDaniel. McDaniel provided his own take on the "Are you better off?" question, but centered his remarks on Arkansas politics arguing that Arkansas Republicans "confidence" towards gaining control of the Arkansas legislature has become "hubris" and that Democrats were on their way to a victory in the fall in that battle for the legislature. The fondness of state party activists, like those representing Arkansas at the DNC, towards McDaniel is broad and deep; along with his impressive fundraising ability, his relationship with the activist base creates a steep uphill climb for primary challengers.

Delegates are spending the day in caucus meetings for different constituency groups, but the Arkansas delegation is focused on the high-profile fundraiser for the Democratic Party of Arkansas, headlined by Clinton, just before the convention itself gets rolling this evening.

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