August 27th, 2008
08:30 AM ET

Heavy weather for both conventions

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/27/art.3split.jpg]

David M. Reisner
AC360° Digital Producer

Their 2008 convention has hardly given Democrats time to relax and enjoy the festivities. The Obama campaign has spent two days swatting off attack ads, making nice with the Clintons and their delegates… and, oh yeah, retooling the party’s message with all eyes on Denver.

It’s been a mixed success. Barack Obama's choice of Sen. Joseph Biden for vice president has not given him any bump in national polls. In fact, a Gallup poll this week shows McCain now leading over Obama 46 to 44 percent, marking the first time since June that Obama has trailed. And the McCain camp is not holding back.

McCain has been trying to knock Obama and the Democrats off message during commercial breaks with a new ad using Hillary Clinton’s own words (and her 3am ad) against Obama. You can bet we’ll see the same with Biden’s critiques of Obama earlier this year.

Clinton’s speech last night was the biggest firecracker in the Democrats' box so far. She aimed to calm the nerves of a divided party and deflate McCain attempts to crash the party.

Obama has a lot of "healthy pressure," as David Gergen put it, to perform in the wake of her speech. Even if Obama’s "closing curtain" speech, as James Carville put it, ignites the party, the McCain camp has the water bucket ready to try dowsing the Democrats' fire, planning his own VP announcement Friday morning…and the Republican National Convention next week.

So it just might pay to go last this time…

But life isn't so simple. On Friday, all eyes might turn to McCain and the Republican convention. OR... they might turn to Hurricane Gustav.

Last night, as Hillary hit the message of unity, Hurricane Gustav hit Haiti. The storm is expected to strengthen as it enters the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. And then we might very well have a storm that could hit the New Orleans region on the 3rd anniversary of Katrina, just as the GOP convention gets started.

With oil prices already sky high, and worries that Gustav could threaten oil refineries in the Gulf, not to mention broadcast coverage of the convention, the last thing a Republican candidate needs is a 3rd anniversary reminder of how the current Republican administration botched its handling of such a disaster. Heaven forbid we see it happen again.

Maybe it won’t pay to go last after all…

Filed under: David M. Reisner • Raw Politics • T1
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Julie San Diego, CA

    Hopefully we've learned a thing or two since Katrina.

    Living in an area where we get wildfires, earthquakes, and even the occasional tsunami evacuation warning, you really come to appreciate it when state and local governments have their act together. It's been nearly a year since approximately one million people in southern California got the call to evacuate or standby to evacuate because of our wildfires. I'm still amazed at the coordination and response. I'm a transplant so it's not just hometown pride talking.

    If the people that make the decisions regarding National Guard troops, Red Cross aid workers and supplies, and logistics involved in evacuation are doing their jobs right now, we can hope for a better outcome with Gustav than we saw with Katrina.

    America is going to be watching very closely. Sharon, I agree with your comment about all of us needing to be ready to volunteer if necessary, but the function of government is to perform these basic functions that ensure the welfare of the people so that society doesn't have to rely exclusively on the charity of others. This is why we pay our taxes, this is what differentiates us from Third World countries.

    Bodies shouldn't be floating in the streets.

    If Nagin and company don't do their jobs this time, heads need to roll.

    August 27, 2008 at 11:56 pm |
  2. Patricia

    Hmmmmm.... the storm may be a message from a Higher Power. Better listen up, Republican Religous Right. It just might be your God speaking!

    I have said it over and over again. When all you can do is attack the person instead of the message..... YOU have NO message! The only message John McCain has is four more years of the same old same old Bush BS. I don't think we can survive four more years of Republican policies!

    Barack Obama is the man to be Presidtent and the man to take us out of this mess the republicans have gotten us into.... again. Reagan left us a huge national debt. Clinton cleaned up his mess. Now Obama will have to clean up the Bush mess! But he can do it! And he has the whole Democratic party to help him!!!! Go, Obama!!!

    August 27, 2008 at 10:11 pm |
  3. Sharon from Indy

    As a volunteer who worked several times for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, let's hope this is not a "big" hurricane. I don't know if the Gulf Coast could survive another major hit. With the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina only days away, let's remember how many died and how many lives were changed forever. I could care less about what political convention is going on.

    America, be ready if the Gulf Coast and New Orleans needs us again to help in recovery. The reputation of the Bush Administration has proven to be unreliable.

    We can't take any chances. Be ready to go and be ready to volunteer!

    August 27, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  4. Eugenia - San Francisco

    Thanks for the blog, David.
    Some of your comments I said to my husband last night.

    August 27, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  5. JC- Los Angeles

    Obama may be facing the biggest storm of his political career; his desire to hold his acceptance speech in a stadium and his inability to unify his party prior to the convention may wash away his hopes of the presidency.

    So far the democratic convention has done nothing to show undecided Independents like myself why we should cast our vote for a neophyte like Obama.

    Hillary's speech, Ted kennedy's speech and the pending speech of Bill Clinton could prove too much for the nuanced Obama to overcome.

    Personally, I feel that Obama should have been at the convention all four days showing the American people that he has the leadership skills to lead our nation.

    August 27, 2008 at 1:27 pm |
  6. Vegas

    Weather is right... it started raining on Obama's parade once he was off teleprompter...

    Obama has no vision... only zest for power by any means availiable...

    Screams change with no ideas... without the ideas they are empty promise... create jobs by taxing buisness... yea... that will work...

    Bye Bye Obama... move to Europe... You're more popular there...

    August 27, 2008 at 11:36 am |
  7. Edward From Cali

    CNN's coverage of the convention I have to say has been misplaced and misfocused. Rather than highlighting the excellent message of unity from Hillary and the hope inspiring vision for America from Barack Obama, they want to discuss the so-called "dissension" among the Democrats. Leave it to corporate media to highlight and focus, and nit pick on the negative and MANUFACTURE "controversy" in order to maintain ratings, pay the bills and satisfy all those corporate backers who primarily are part of the economic elite that have great interest in keeping Obama out of the White House. SHE GAVE A SPEECH SAYING TO BACK BARACK... who do you believe America, corporate media or your lying eyes?

    August 27, 2008 at 10:49 am |
  8. Cynthia

    In the end polls don't matter – the bottom line is who will win the Presidency. I'm sure when it is all said and done people will vote what is in their best interest and for Democrats Senator McCain is not in their best interest.

    August 27, 2008 at 10:47 am |
  9. Marie Mtl, Can.

    CNN gives McCain too much free ad. I don't understand what's the point. This is the DNC convention . What's wrong with you CNN or perhaps meaby perhaps you are preparing to do the same at the RNC against McCain with democrats ad, at the same time. Let's see if your boss is objective...

    August 27, 2008 at 10:40 am |
  10. Midwesterner

    Whoever thinks McCain will win needs to get their crystal ball fixed.

    August 27, 2008 at 10:36 am |
  11. Midwesterner

    Have you been to college lately McCain. They are teaching the concept of team!

    August 27, 2008 at 10:33 am |
  12. Pat

    Hillary's speech was more than a class act it was a speech based on her core beliefs and values, her loyalty to her party, her concern and compassion for Americans and her love for her Nation and it's people.

    Hillary inspires, ignites and moves people forward for a cause she believes in, Equality and Prosperity for All. She has always been and will always be a hard act to follow. She can stand shoulder to shoulder with the Best of Men and has proven that time and time again. Although we have regrets that she will not be our Next Leader we can find comfort in knowing she will still be with us, fighting for us and ensuring that the voices of all Americans are heard and their needs are met. Hillary will always be a Champion and a Leader!

    August 27, 2008 at 10:30 am |
  13. Sharon

    McCain does Out shine Obama.

    He is bringing some of the truth out in the open, many people did not know.

    He is wise and more mature than obama, more knowledgeable and would make a Great President.

    While Obama is busy with the popularity contest and giving pep rallies. With his main interest in Himself, his image and his stardom. He is not to worried about the Country or the People or the issues an Adult should be concerned about.

    Who ever came up with the Theme "One World" should be fired. That is an Muslim group of radicals name, a Muslim organization and a Muslim media.

    Little wee coincidence?

    Just like how he confuses the 57 States with the 57 Islam nations.

    Little wee coincidence?

    August 27, 2008 at 10:27 am |
  14. Annie Kate

    I thought Hillary was quite sincere in her magnificent speech last night. She was gracious to Michelle and Biden and went far further in her endorsement than any previous loser has. Hillary knows that in the big picture if the Democrats don't win or don't suceed in the White House it will not only be bad for Obama or McCain but for every one in America. Her speech went over so well that even the Obama supporters were giving her an ovation when it was over. I am looking forward now to hearing Bill Clinton speak tonight and Obama speak Thursday night.

    I hope Gustav stays away from New Orleans and really away from any land. It would be nice if it just fizzled out over the ocean or took a wrong turn and went to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to die there once it hits the cooler waters up north. If Gustav does strike the Gulf coast again I hope the GOP has FEMA and anything else that will be needed ready with a well organized plan and structure in which to operate.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 27, 2008 at 10:22 am |
  15. Gladys

    Once again, Obama has 'two fights' on his hands. After this week no more focus should be put on the Clintons, but all of the focus should be put on fighting McCain.

    Just as easily as Obama has fallen behind, he can move ahead in 2 months. It's a difference of 2 percentage points, not 20.

    Some things had to be put in order during this convention between Clinton and her supporters. By the way Clinton's speech was received last night – it was worth it.

    After this I'm hoping it'll be full speed ahead against McCain. The emphasis needs to be put on how Mccain and 'all' of his years of experience, supporting Bush 95% of the time and advocating the continuation of Bush tax cuts, will cause us to continue on the negative path we are on.

    I don't have kids. I won't see a tax credit. Like many Americans without children, I am invisible. I am not in McCain's plan.

    August 27, 2008 at 10:02 am |
  16. karen lai

    Dear A nderson, All this Election stuff, None of these canadates do laundry shop at the grocery clean the bath rooms at home worry about there kids being ill cuting the lawn . how can the y promise so much that will never come to pass?I cant support any one .
    And iam not the only one who feels this way .
    the real american people are very worried about the country .
    We are never heard in these times.
    Thanks for reading my letter
    karen Lai Bryan Texas

    August 27, 2008 at 9:59 am |
  17. Alex

    After listening to Hillary Clinton's speech last night, it is ever so much more apparent that the Democrats selected the wrong person as their Presidential candidate to run against John McCain. It is also apparent that the leadership of the Democratic Party is capable and continues shows they are their own worst enemy. That speech and the lingering doubts about Obama, could now become the factors that will put John McCain into the White House. As dymanic a speaker that Barack Obama is, he simply doesn't possess, at this time, that leadership quality that Hillary showed the world last night.

    August 27, 2008 at 9:55 am |
  18. Nancy Isbill

    I am a liberal die hard democrat, I will not be voting in Novemeber. Barack might be very smart, he may be a good speaker.

    He is not a leader, he does not want to win, if he did he would have picked Hillar for VP and that ticket would have won by a land slide.

    Why would he pick anyone else when we need a new leader in Washington. He is yet to tell us the "WHY' he by passed her. That he should do.

    I love Joe Biden, in any other year I would wont him for VP or President, this year the Dems needed to win. Now I say,


    Nancy Isbill,
    Democrat in Alabama

    August 27, 2008 at 9:45 am |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    No way, no how, no McCain. Today is August 27 and 20 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq this month.

    August 27, 2008 at 9:26 am |
  20. Michael Gardner

    *Barak Keep the Focus on Your Vision, America's Vision, Democrats Vision*********

    ‘We the people’, a powerful phrase that helped shape the nation of America.

    Barack, is one Man, a Man with a strong vision, the same vision as many men women and children, Democrats and Americans in general, as many men with a vision, it takes a team of visionaries to work to execute the vision.

    Its not over for Hillary, Hillary is a very important part of the Democratic team, Hillary shares the same Vision for America, and Naturally will be a part of ‘shaping’ the country united as part of Government of Barak Obama’s Vision team.

    The teams that delivered on the Vision of Clinton, the Vision of Kennedy, and so many other Democratic presidents , so many democratic parties before this current team, will see the same pulling as a team.

    The Virginia Govenor Warner, made significant changes , with a Vision and a Team,

    Barak Obama is here because of a Vision, not alone but with a Team, a team that has successfully excuted his Vision, As the team expands, there will be innovation and execution to continue making the visions a reality… Barak Obama, will lead as a Visionary and a Vision filled Team.

    Green energy, is simpler that going to the moon, lets make it happen.

    Hilary’s contrast on Harriet Tubman, is so symbolic, globally, individually, and ‘group collectively’ , just keep going.
    Barak, the dogs will be barking, but keepo going,
    Hillary, and women, are still not where they are supposed to be , but keep going,
    Blacks and Latino’s are not where they need to be , but keep going,
    America, is not where it neds to be on the world stage, but collectively, you must keep going.

    Well done Barak, God Speed.

    Go Barak Go

    Michael Gardner
    Barack Supporter , from Canada..

    August 27, 2008 at 9:07 am |
  21. Cindy

    I find it extremely funny that McCain is now leading Obama in th polls! Wasn't this election supposed to be a free "Gimme" for the Dems? HMMM...what happened? I can tell you! People can see through the rhetoric and talk with no substance. Just like Hillary's speech last night. She said what she had to to keep everyone happy and to keep her place in the Dem party.She may say she backs Obama but people can see through that lie! The nastiness that went on between them is still there. That was obvious by Michelle's facial expressions while Hillary was talking. I bet you anything Hillary still believes with out a shadow of a doubt that Obama is not experienced enough like she has said many times.

    McCain is right to keep hounding Obama. Everything in his ads are the truth. Though some of them poke fun at him behind all of that is a modicum of truth.

    I think the polls will still go in McCain's favor even after the Dem convention and Rep convention. John is the one that has WAY more experience which is what we need now. Like Biden said himself...the presidency is not a place for on the job training!


    August 27, 2008 at 8:49 am |