“Michelle Obama rarely mentions Mitt Romney by name. But everything she says during this presidential campaign is meant to draw a contrast between her husband and his Republican challenger,” the AP writes. “The first lady will make her case to millions of Americans on Tuesday when she headlines the first night of the Democratic Party’s national convention, where two days later her husband will accept the party’s presidential nomination for a second time. Her high-profile appearance underscores her key role in his re-election bid: chief defender of his character and leader in efforts to validate the direction he is taking the country. Once the reluctant political spouse, she has embraced that mission to sell her husband anew throughout the summer while raising money for the campaign and speaking at rallies in battleground states.”
The New York Times’ Jodi Kantor: “Behind the scenes, Mrs. Obama’s advocacy for her husband can be so forceful that speechwriters have had to tone it down over the years for public presentation, aides say. But despite the scathing critiques of Republicans that she had been known to deliver in private, her advisers believe that she is most potent when she does not appear overtly political and that she comes across best as a gracious noncombatant in the red-and-blue wars. So at the convention, they say, she will try to present herself as a caring, wifely figure and appear above the partisan fray.”
“The First Lady has come a long way since her convention address in Denver four years ago, when she was tasked with convincing a reluctant public that she was more than some of her brow-furrowing words,” the New York Daily News writes.
San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro delivers the keynote speech tonight. First Read previewedwhat he might say Aug. 1.
“Henry Cisneros. Antonio Villaraigosa. Bill Richardson,” the Daily Beast’s Romano writes. “It’s a safe bet that Julian Castro, the San Antonio mayor and rising Latino star set to deliver the keynote address Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, remembers these names well. Once upon a time, each of them—Cisneros, Villaraigosa, Richardson—was touted in Beltway circles as a future leader of the Democratic Party: the Hispanic politician who would finally become a national favorite by tapping into the vast (and growing) power of the Spanish-speaking electorate while displaying the kind of crossover appeal that often eludes lesser talents. Maybe one of them would even become the first Latino president. And then they flamed out. … So as Castro, 37, prepares to step into the spotlight in Charlotte, an opportunity that observers are already likening to Obama’s turn at the 2004 convention, it’s worth asking whether he can avoid the Curse of Next Big Latino Democrat—and follow a path more like the president’s instead.”
Politico: “Since becoming San Antonio’s mayor in 2009, Julian Castro has soared into prominence as one of the nation’s young Hispanic leaders. He is repeatedly mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate for Texas governor or even president, talk that will likely escalate after his Tuesday night prime-time address in Charlotte, N.C.”
But this is the part some conservatives are focused on: “Some would say the mayor has had a swift and charmed ascent. But his mother, whose own political activism on behalf of Hispanics when her boys were young drew hate mail and, she says, the attention of the Justice Department, knows her sons' rise is evidence of Hispanics' growing and long overdue political power,” FOX News Latino writes. “ ‘They called us militant, but our way of doing things was through political ends,’ Rosie Castro said of her fight for Mexican-American rights in the 1970s. ‘Not through guns, not through overthrowing the government, but through the political process.’”
NBC Latino: “As Latinos take center stage tonight – San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will be the first Hispanic to give the keynote address at the Democratic convention – Latino Democrats say the stakes are high.”
Jordan Fabian: “Castro’s personal background shares distinct similarities with that of the president. A single mother raised him and he took advantage of affirmative action admissions policies to attend the nation’s top institutions of higher education. Castro graduated from Stanford University before earning a law degree from Harvard, the same law school that the president attended. The Castros grew up in San Antonio’s west side, a relatively poor neighborhood that remains heavily Latino. Their father, activist Jesse Guzman, and their mother, a schoolteacher, separated when the kids were just eight years old. Rosie Castro raised her two children with the help of her mother, a Mexican immigrant who dropped out of elementary school and worked as a maid, a cook, and a babysitter.”
The AP’s Oreskes on Obama’s challenge this week: “There are a lot of very angry people in the country, out of work or living on less. But anger is not the dominant political sentiment among the voters likely to swing this presidential election. It is, instead, disappointment… A key part of Obama’s central argument is that, without him, these last four years would have been worse. There is considerable evidence this is true. … But it’s a hard sell to compare what a report says and what palpably is
He also notes that Obama has higher stakes in his convention than Romney did: “[I]t is precisely because the country knows so much about Obama that he has the higher hill to climb. That’s the downside of being the incumbent. It will take more than Joe Biden’s bumper sticker for Obama to assuage two very different groups of disappointed voters — liberals who wish Obama had done more and swing voters who wish what he had done had worked more.”
“Former employees of companies owned by Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, will speak at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this week, according to an Obama campaign official,” the Boston Globe writes, adding, “The Obama campaign official said the speakers will offer personal testimonies that resemble those featured in campaign ads, in which laid-off workers have talked about losing jobs at Bain-owned companies.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund says it’s holding a “Women are Watching” rally during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this afternoon as part of its campaign to educate voters about what’s at stake for women and women’s health this election. The lineup includes: Planned Parenthood Action Fund President, Cecile Richards, Mayor Cory Booker, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, and Georgetown Law Center graduate and women's health activist, Sandra Fluke.