First Lady Shines:

One of the most eagerly anticipated speeches at the 2012 Democratic National Convention belonged to Michelle Obama, who did not disappoint during her address Tuesday night. The first lady delivered what was essentially an affectionate love letter to her husband during the prime-time speech. “I didn’t think it was possible, but today I love my husband more than I did four years ago. Even more than I did 23 years ago, when we first met,” she said. Obama also scored when she tried to connect with female voters during the address, capitalizing on a group that has been largely marginalized by Republicans. She said the president “believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care. … That’s what my husband stands for.” (Read more)

Castro’s Keynote: San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro used his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention to criticize GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan. Castro argued that the Romney-Ryan budget plan would “dismantle” the middle class by cutting funding for things such as Medicare, education and job training. He also hit at Romney for being a flip-flopper, particularly on the health care issue.

“When it comes to expanding access to good health care, Mitt Romney … actually Mitt Romney said, ‘yes,’ and now he says, ‘no,’ ” he said. Castro, the first Hispanic convention keynote speaker and a major rising star in the Democratic Party, also touched on his own background and discussed the American dream. “The American dream is not a sprint, or even a marathon, but a relay,” he said. “Our families don’t always cross the finish line in the span of one generation. But each generation passes on to the next the fruits of their labor. My grandmother never owned a house. She cleaned other people’s houses so she could afford to rent her own. But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.” (Read more)

Kennedy Video Tribute: The 2012 Democratic National Convention featured a very touching tribute to former Sen. Ted Kennedy, who died in 2009. The video also featured some not-so-subtle digs at Mitt Romney, who ran against Kennedy in the 1994 Massachusetts Senate race (as the video notes, Romney lost to Kennedy 58 to 41 percent). Among the gems: Romney espousing a pro-choice opposition that stands in stark contrast to his current views on abortion and is well to the left of the GOP’s official party platform. The video shows Romney saying, “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that law and the right of a woman to make that choice.” (Read more)

Reid Hits Romney on Taxes: The convention represented yet another opportunity for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to hammer Mitt Romney for not releasing his tax returns. You may recall that Reid caused a stir this summer when he claimed that Romney paid no taxes the past decade. “Never in modern American history has a presidential candidate tried so hard to hide himself from the people he hopes to serve,” Reid said during his evening speech at the Democratic National Convention. “When you look at the one tax return he has released, it’s obvious why. It’s obvious why there’s only been one. We learned that he pays a lower tax rate than middle-class families. We learned he chose Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Islands tax shelters over American institutions. And we can only imagine what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the American people a dozen years of tax returns — like his father did.” (Read more)

Strickland Unloads:: One of the harshest criticisms against Romney came during former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s fiery speech. Strickland bashed Romney every chance he got, calling the GOP presidential nominee an “outsourcing pioneer” and telling the crowd that “if Mitt was Santa Claus, he’d fire the reindeer and outsource the elves.” He also had some of the best one-liners of the night, including this gem about the Republican’s wealth: “Mitt Romney has so little economic patriotism that even his money needs a passport. It summers on the beaches of the Cayman Islands and winters on the slopes of the Swiss Alps.” (Read more)

Booker Energizes Crowd: Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker helped fire up the crowd Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention with a well-received speech. According to NBC News, Booker so far is the “Democratic convention’s most ubiquitous and energetic politician.” In addition to his speech, Booker has also appeared at rallies and addressed state delegations. (Read more)

Duckworth Talks Military: Illinois congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth, a military veteran who lost both of her legs during the war in Iraq, took a shot at Mitt Romney for not mentioning American troops or the Afghanistan War during his Republican National Convention acceptance speech last week. Said Duckworth: “He chose to criticize President Obama instead of even uttering the word ‘Afghanistan.’ Barack Obama will never ignore our troops. He will fight for them.” The Democratic congressional candidate is embroiled in a heated contest with Joe Walsh, who criticized her for talking about her military record too much. (Read more)

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