In primary season, Gwen Graham stumping the state — and looking ahead to ’18?

Two generations of Grahams at this summer's Democratic National Convention
Two generations of Grahams at this summer’s Democratic National Convention

With primary day capturing much of the state’s political focus Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham appears already looking ahead to the Florida governor’s race two years from now.

Graham, a Tallahassee Democrat who chose not to seek re-election in her redrawn congressional district, spent the day on the algae-plagued St. Lucie River. She was joined by her father, former governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, along with area activists and scientists for a water-testing work day.

Graham last month asked Gov. Rick Scott to call a special session of the Legislature to tackle the algae bloom. He didn’t.

Graham plans to cross the state Wednesday for an appearance with state Rep. Amanda Murphy, D-New Port Richey, and take part in a campaign phone bank. Murphy wasn’t challenged for the Democratic nomination in her district, but faces Republican Amber Mariano in the November election.

Graham plans to spend primary night at U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy’s expected victory party  in Palm Beach Gardens. She also joined the Democratic U.S. Senate contender earlier Tuesday in Miami Gardens.

On Thursday, she’s set to be in Tampa and Gainesville, for appearances with U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, and Rod Smith, the former Democratic state senator making a comeback bid this fall.

These Republicans just told an arena full of Democrats they’re voting for Clinton

Former Reagan Administration official Doug Elmets delivers remarks on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Getty Images)
Former Reagan Administration official Doug Elmets delivers remarks on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Getty Images)

Two speakers at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night brought a different perspective to the proceedings: that of Republicans.

Doug Elmets, a former official in Ronald Reagan’s administration, told the crowd that speaking before them was a shock not because of “the momentous nature of this event. … It’s a shock because, unlike many of you, I’m a Republican.”

He was joined on-stage by Jennifer Pierotti Lim, director of health policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and co-founder of Republican Women for Hillary. Both said they plan to vote for Hillary Clinton, not Republican candidate Donald Trump.

The pair’s appearance at the Democratic convention is a counter to Republicans’ convention last week, where Clinton often was referred to as being too far left to have broad appeal.

Elmets said he cast his first vote 40 years ago, “voting Republican that day like I would time and time again.”

He drew loud cheers from the crowd when he said, “I’m here tonight to say I knew Ronald Reagan, I worked for Ronald Reagan. Donald Trump, you are no Ronald Reagan.”

Elmets compared Reagan and Trump, saying that where Reagan called for a wall to be torn down, Trump wants to build one.

“I shudder to think where he might lead our great nation,” Elmets said. “Fortunately, I don’t believe he’ll get that chance.”

Lim said that until this year, she’s campaigned exclusively for Republicans.

This year, though, she said she’s voting for Clinton.

“Trump’s loathsome comments about women and our appearances are too many to repeat and too crass to repeat,” Lim said.

She called on Republicans to join her in voting for Clinton.

“Because we’re not just Democrats and Republicans. We’re Americans,” she said.




Florida delegates warned to stay in seats on last night of convention. Here’s why.

A look inside the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia as Carole King performs on Thursday, the final night of the Democratic National Convention. Every inch of space that can be occupied on the floor, is.  (Kristina Webb / The Palm Beach Post)
A look inside the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia as Carole King performs on Thursday, the final night of the Democratic National Convention. Every inch of space that can be occupied on the floor, is. (Kristina Webb / The Palm Beach Post)

There was one message delivered to Florida’s delegates Thursday morning that they were especially warned to heed: Try not to leave your seats during the final night of the Democratic National Convention.

Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon, who is serving as whip captain for the Florida delegation, warned delegates that the fire marshal would shut down the floor at a certain point once it became too busy.

The capacity of the arena’s floor — where some delegates sit during the event, with others seated in the arena’s stands — became an issue as the convention progressed. People standing in the aisles to watch the speakers and performers stood shoulder-to-shoulder, occasionally blocking walkways and prompting the fire marshal Wednesday night to close an area of the floor to people trying to pass through.

A combination of fewer seats and more delegates made for more cramped quarters at the host site of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia than at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland the week before.

Where the Wells Fargo Center, the DNC’s host, has about 19,600 seats, the Quicken Loans Arena had about 21,000 seats. And where the Republicans had about 2,500 delegates, the Democrats had close to 4,800. That doesn’t include guests, media, volunteers and security personnel.

The size of the convention stage may have played a factor as well, as several people observed that the stage for the DNC seems to be built out more than the RNC’s stage.

Gannon cautioned Florida delegates that if they left to go to the bathroom, they may not be able to get back to their seats, especially later in the night as more press and guests made their way to the floor to see presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak.

“Don’t drink a lot of water,” Gannon said. “That’s my advice.”

Adorable photo of Miami delegate, son tweeted by Hillary Clinton

Bernard Jennings, Rosie Soroka and their son Ethan look at the balloons set to drop onto delegates at the end of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday in Philadelphia. (Kristina Webb / The Palm Beach Post)
Miami delegate Bernard Jennings, Rosie Soroka and their son Ethan look at the balloons set to drop onto delegates at the end of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday in Philadelphia. (Kristina Webb / The Palm Beach Post)

Bernard Jennings, a Democratic delegate from Miami, didn’t realize he and his son had become Internet famous until his daughter told him about the photo.

The black-and-white image, taken the first night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, shows Jennings and his 16-month-old son Ethan with a Hillary Clinton campaign sign that read “Love trumps hate.” One of Ethan’s little hands is gripping one side of the sign as Jennings holds the other side.

The caption on the photo, which Clinton’s campaign shared on her Twitter and Instagram accounts, says, “Let’s make sure our future is in the right hands.”

Jennings said his daughter, Imani, sent him the photo and said, “Dad, you’re on Instagram!”

Ethan, whose mother, Rosie Soroka, also is attending the convention, has been great so far, Jennings said: “People love him.”

Jennings is a first-time delegate and former executive director for the Democratic Party in Miami-Dade County.

“It’s a good experience for (Ethan) to meet people, build up his courage” Jennings said. With a grin, he added, “And learn about the democratic process.”




Ted Deutch to speak during Democratic National Convention tonight

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, will speak tonight during the final session of the Democratic National Convention.

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch speaks to Florida's Democratic delegates on Wednesday morning. (Kristina Webb / The Palm Beach Post)
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch speaks to Florida’s Democratic delegates on Wednesday morning. (Kristina Webb / The Palm Beach Post)

Deutch, whose campaign estimated he could speak as early as 4:30 p.m., said he plans to talk about several topics including early voting and his family.

The speech will be about “the importance of this campaign to me as a son and a father,” he said, adding that this is the first year his twin daughters, 20 years old, and his son, 18, will be able to vote.

Deutch said the chance to speak on the final night of the convention is “an amazing opportunity,” and that when Hillary Clinton’s campaign called to ask if he would participate, “It was an easy yes.”

Deutch is running for re-election in Florida’s recently redrawn District 22, which includes Highland Beach, Boca Raton, Margate and Fort Lauderdale.

Jesse Jackson gives surprise speech to Florida Democrats

The Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks to media before talking to Florida delegates the morning of the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (George Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)
The Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks to media before talking to Florida delegates the morning of the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (George Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

For the third time this week, a surprise guest dropped in on Florida’s Democratic delegates as they held their breakfast speakers series.

Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders came to urge unity within the party.

Wednesday, vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine asked the delegates to stand with presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

And Thursday, the Rev. Jesse Jackson urged delegates to get out into their communities, to urge people to register to vote and defeat Republican presdential nominee Donald Trump — although Jackson said he’s trying not to say Trump’s name, “because I want to keep him from being so famous.”

Jackson told the crowd, “We can win the Southern states if we fight back.”

He said increasing voter registration would be key to a win, and cited low voter registration numbers among African Americans.

But those low numbers, he said, are “not as much suppression, as it is surrender.”

Addressing the Republican campaign, Jackson said, “I have my own suspicions about some of the things that happened during this convention.

“The attempts to disrupt, undermine, undercut. Playing footsie with Putin is a pretty dangerous proposition,” Jackson said, referencing the alleged hacking by Russians of the Democratic National Committee’s servers.

“Somehow, there is something is in the air,” he said. “It is nothing but the old Jefferson Davis Democrats. … They’re changing their forms, but they did not change character.”




4 key moments from President Obama’s Democratic convention speech

President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton acknowledge the crowd on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton acknowledge the crowd on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

In a headlining speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, President Barack Obama urged voters to elect Hillary Clinton as president, saying she will continue fighting for the same things for which he fought in office.

And in a surprise move, Clinton joined Obama onstage briefly after his speech, hugging him and walking off-stage together.

Obama, who was preceded by speeches from Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, said that “even in the middle of crisis, she listens to people, and keeps her cool, and treats everybody with respect.”

Here are the top five moments from Obama’s speech:

1. The president’s speech continued on several key themes of the week.

Calling on one theme from President Bill Clinton’s Tuesday night speech, Obama said Hillary Clinton “never, ever quits.”

He also frequently used the phrase “stronger together,” Clinton’s campaign slogan.

2. He touted Clinton’s experience, saying that “with confidence, there has never been a man or a woman — not me, not Bill, nobody — more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.”

3. He took several digs at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Obama said he knows several businesspeople who have found success “without leaving a trail of lawsuits and unpaid workers and people who feel like they got cheated.”

He added, “Does anyone really believe that a guy who’s spent 70 years on this Earth showing no regard for working people is suddenly going to be your champion? Your voice?”

Later in his speech, Obama ripped Trump’s “make America great again” slogan, saying, “America is already great. America is already strong.”

4. He not-so-subtly name-dropped one of his books. 

Toward the end of his speech, Obama snuck in a reference to his book “The Audacity of Hope.”

“I will ask you to carry (Clinton) the same way you carried me,” Obama said. “Because you’re who I was talking about 12 years ago when I talked about hope. It’s you who have fueled my dogged faith in our future, even when the odds are great, even when the road is long. Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope.”

Read Obama’s full prepared remarks:

Hello, America.

Twelve years ago tonight, I addressed this convention for the very first time.

You met my two little girls, Malia and Sasha – now two amazing young women who just fill me with pride. You fell for my brilliant wife and partner Michelle, who’s made me a better father and a better man; who’s gone on to inspire our nation as First Lady; and who somehow hasn’t aged a day.

I know the same can’t be said for me. My girls remind me all the time. Wow, you’ve changed so much, daddy.

And it’s true – I was so young that first time in Boston. Maybe a little nervous addressing such a big crowd. But I was filled with faith; faith in America – the generous, bighearted, hopeful country that made my story – indeed, all of our stories – possible.

A lot’s happened over the years. And while this nation has been tested by war and recession and all manner of challenge – I stand before you again tonight, after almost two terms as your President, to tell you I am even more optimistic about the future of America.

How could I not be – after all we’ve achieved together?

After the worst recession in 80 years, we’ve fought our way back. We’ve seen deficits come down, 401(k)s recover, an auto industry set new records, unemployment reach eight-year lows, and our businesses create 15 million new jobs.

After a century of trying, we declared that health care in America is not a privilege for a few, but a right for everybody. After decades of talk, we finally began to wean ourselves off foreign oil, and doubled our production of clean energy.

We brought more of our troops home to their families, and delivered justice to Osama bin Laden. Through diplomacy, we shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program, opened up a new chapter with the people of Cuba, and brought nearly 200 nations together around a climate agreement that could save this planet for our kids.

We put policies in place to help students with loans; protect consumers from fraud; and cut veteran homelessness almost in half. And through countless acts of quiet courage, America learned that love has no limits, and marriage equality is now a reality across the land.

By so many measures, our country is stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started.

And through every victory and every setback, I’ve insisted that change is never easy, and never quick; that we wouldn’t meet all of our challenges in one term, or one presidency, or even in one lifetime.

So tonight, I’m here to tell you that yes, we still have more work to do. More work to do for every American still in need of a good job or a raise, paid leave or a decent retirement; for every child who needs a sturdier ladder out of poverty or a world-class education; for everyone who hasn’t yet felt the progress of these past seven and a half years. We need to keep making our streets safer and our criminal justice system fairer; our homeland more secure, and our world more peaceful and sustainable for the next generation. We’re not done perfecting our union, or living up to our founding creed – that all of us are created equal and free in the eyes of God.

That work involves a big choice this November. Fair to say, this is not your typical election. It’s not just a choice between parties or policies; the usual debates between left and right. This is a more fundamental choice – about who we are as a people, and whether we stay true to this great American experiment in self-government.

Look, we Democrats have always had plenty of differences with the Republican Party, and there’s nothing wrong with that; it’s precisely this contest of ideas that pushes our country forward.

But what we heard in Cleveland last week wasn’t particularly Republican – and it sure wasn’t conservative. What we heard was a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other, and turn away from the rest of the world. There were no serious solutions to pressing problems – just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate.

And that is not the America I know.

The America I know is full of courage, and optimism, and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous. Sure, we have real anxieties – about paying the bills, protecting our kids, caring for a sick parent. We get frustrated with political gridlock, worry about racial divisions; are shocked and saddened by the madness of Orlando or Nice. There are pockets of America that never recovered from factory closures; men who took pride in hard work and providing for their families who now feel forgotten; parents who wonder whether their kids will have the same opportunities we had.

All that is real. We’re challenged to do better; to be better. But as I’ve traveled this country, through all fifty states; as I’ve rejoiced with you and mourned with you, what I’ve also seen, more than anything, is what is right with America. I see people working hard and starting businesses; people teaching kids and serving our country. I see engineers inventing stuff, and doctors coming up with new cures. I see a younger generation full of energy and new ideas, not constrained by what is, ready to seize what ought to be.

Most of all, I see Americans of every party, every background, every faith who believe that we are stronger together – black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American; young and old; gay, straight, men, women, folks with disabilities, all pledging allegiance, under the same proud flag, to this big, bold country that we love.

That’s the America I know. And there is only one candidate in this race who believes in that future, and has devoted her life to it; a mother and grandmother who’d do anything to help our children thrive; a leader with real plans to break down barriers, blast through glass ceilings, and widen the circle of opportunity to every single American – the next President of the United States, Hillary Clinton.

Now, eight years ago, Hillary and I were rivals for the Democratic nomination. We battled for a year and a half. Let me tell you, it was tough, because Hillary’s tough. Every time I thought I might have that race won, Hillary just came back stronger.

But after it was all over, I asked Hillary to join my team. She was a little surprised, but ultimately said yes – because she knew that what was at stake was bigger than either of us. And for four years, I had a front-row seat to her intelligence, her judgment, and her discipline. I came to realize that her unbelievable work ethic wasn’t for praise or attention – that she was in this for everyone who needs a champion. I understood that after all these years, she has never forgotten just who she’s fighting for.

Hillary’s still got the tenacity she had as a young woman working at the Children’s Defense Fund, going door to door to ultimately make sure kids with disabilities could get a quality education.

She’s still got the heart she showed as our First Lady, working with Congress to help push through a Children’s Health Insurance Program that to this day protects millions of kids.

She’s still seared with the memory of every American she met who lost loved ones on 9/11, which is why, as a Senator from New York, she fought so hard for funding to help first responders; why, as Secretary of State, she sat with me in the Situation Room and forcefully argued in favor of the mission that took out bin Laden.

You know, nothing truly prepares you for the demands of the Oval Office. Until you’ve sat at that desk, you don’t know what it’s like to manage a global crisis, or send young people to war. But Hillary’s been in the room; she’s been part of those decisions. She knows what’s at stake in the decisions our government makes for the working family, the senior citizen, the small business owner, the soldier, and the veteran. Even in the middle of crisis, she listens to people, and keeps her cool, and treats everybody with respect. And no matter how daunting the odds; no matter how much people try to knock her down, she never, ever quits.

That’s the Hillary I know. That’s the Hillary I’ve come to admire. And that’s why I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America.

And, by the way, in case you were wondering about her judgment, look at her choice of running mate. Tim Kaine is as good a man, as humble and committed a public servant, as anyone I know. He will be a great Vice President, and he’ll make Hillary a better President. Just like my dear friend and brother Joe Biden has made me a better President.

Now, Hillary has real plans to address the concerns she’s heard from you on the campaign trail. She’s got specific ideas to invest in new jobs, to help workers share in their company’s profits, to help put kids in preschool, and put students through college without taking on a ton of debt. That’s what leaders do.

And then there’s Donald Trump. He’s not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either. He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who’ve achieved success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated.

Does anyone really believe that a guy who’s spent his 70 years on this Earth showing no regard for working people is suddenly going to be your champion? Your voice? If so, you should vote for him. But if you’re someone who’s truly concerned about paying your bills, and seeing the economy grow, and creating more opportunity for everybody, then the choice isn’t even close. If you want someone with a lifelong track record of fighting for higher wages, better benefits, a fairer tax code, a bigger voice for workers, and stronger regulations on Wall Street, then you should vote for Hillary Clinton.

And if you’re concerned about who’s going to keep you and your family safe in a dangerous world – well, the choice is even clearer. Hillary Clinton is respected around the world not just by leaders, but by the people they serve. She’s worked closely with our intelligence teams, our diplomats, our military. And she has the judgment, the experience, and the temperament to meet the threat from terrorism. It’s not new to her. Our troops have pounded ISIL without mercy, taking out leaders, taking back territory. I know Hillary won’t relent until ISIL is destroyed. She’ll finish the job – and she’ll do it without resorting to torture, or banning entire religions from entering our country. She is fit to be the next Commander-in-Chief.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump calls our military a disaster. Apparently, he doesn’t know the men and women who make up the strongest fighting force the world has ever known. He suggests America is weak. He must not hear the billions of men, women, and children, from the Baltics to Burma, who still look to America to be the light of freedom, dignity, and human rights. He cozies up to Putin, praises Saddam Hussein, and tells the NATO allies that stood by our side after 9/11 that they have to pay up if they want our protection. Well, America’s promises do not come with a price tag. We meet our commitments. And that’s one reason why almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago.

America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump.

In fact, it doesn’t depend on any one person. And that, in the end, may be the biggest difference in this election – the meaning of our democracy.

Ronald Reagan called America “a shining city on a hill.” Donald Trump calls it “a divided crime scene” that only he can fix. It doesn’t matter to him that illegal immigration and the crime rate are as low as they’ve been in decades, because he’s not offering any real solutions to those issues. He’s just offering slogans, and he’s offering fear. He’s betting that if he scares enough people, he might score just enough votes to win this election.

That is another bet that Donald Trump will lose. Because he’s selling the American people short. We are not a fragile or frightful people. Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order. We don’t look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago; We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that together, We, the People, can form a more perfect union.

That’s who we are. That’s our birthright – the capacity to shape our own destiny. That’s what drove patriots to choose revolution over tyranny and our GIs to liberate a continent. It’s what gave women the courage to reach for the ballot, and marchers to cross a bridge in Selma, and workers to organize and fight for better wages.

America has never been about what one person says he’ll do for us. It’s always been about what can be achieved by us, together, through the hard, slow, sometimes frustrating, but ultimately enduring work of self-government.

And that’s what Hillary Clinton understands. She knows that this is a big, diverse country, and that most issues are rarely black and white. That even when you’re 100 percent right, getting things done requires compromise. That democracy doesn’t work if we constantly demonize each other. She knows that for progress to happen, we have to listen to each other, see ourselves in each other, fight for our principles but also fight to find common ground, no matter how elusive that may seem.

Hillary knows we can work through racial divides in this country when we realize the worry black parents feel when their son leaves the house isn’t so different than what a brave cop’s family feels when he puts on the blue and goes to work; that we can honor police and treat every community fairly. She knows that acknowledging problems that have festered for decades isn’t making race relations worse – it’s creating the possibility for people of good will to join and make things better.

Hillary knows we can insist on a lawful and orderly immigration system while still seeing striving students and their toiling parents as loving families, not criminals or rapists; families that came here for the same reasons our forebears came – to work, and study, and make a better life, in a place where we can talk and worship and love as we please. She knows their dream is quintessentially American, and the American Dream is something no wall will ever contain.

It can be frustrating, this business of democracy. Trust me, I know. Hillary knows, too. When the other side refuses to compromise, progress can stall. Supporters can grow impatient, and worry that you’re not trying hard enough; that you’ve maybe sold out.

But I promise you, when we keep at it; when we change enough minds; when we deliver enough votes, then progress does happen. Just ask the twenty million more people who have health care today. Just ask the Marine who proudly serves his country without hiding the husband he loves. Democracy works, but we gotta want it – not just during an election year, but all the days in between.

So if you agree that there’s too much inequality in our economy, and too much money in our politics, we all need to be as vocal and as organized and as persistent as Bernie Sanders’ supporters have been. We all need to get out and vote for Democrats up and down the ticket, and then hold them accountable until they get the job done.

If you want more justice in the justice system, then we’ve all got to vote – not just for a President, but for mayors, and sheriffs, and state’s attorneys, and state legislators. And we’ve got to work with police and protesters until laws and practices are changed.

If you want to fight climate change, we’ve got to engage not only young people on college campuses, but reach out to the coal miner who’s worried about taking care of his family, the single mom worried about gas prices.

If you want to protect our kids and our cops from gun violence, we’ve got to get the vast majority of Americans, including gun owners, who agree on background checks to be just as vocal and determined as the gun lobby that blocks change through every funeral we hold. That’s how change will happen.

Look, Hillary’s got her share of critics. She’s been caricatured by the right and by some folks on the left; accused of everything you can imagine – and some things you can’t. But she knows that’s what happens when you’re under a microscope for 40 years. She knows she’s made mistakes, just like I have; just like we all do. That’s what happens when we try. That’s what happens when you’re the kind of citizen Teddy Roosevelt once described – not the timid souls who criticize from the sidelines, but someone “who is actually in the arena…who strives valiantly; who errs…[but] who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement.”

Hillary Clinton is that woman in the arena. She’s been there for us – even if we haven’t always noticed. And if you’re serious about our democracy, you can’t afford to stay home just because she might not align with you on every issue. You’ve got to get in the arena with her, because democracy isn’t a spectator sport. America isn’t about “yes he will.” It’s about “yes we can.” And we’re going to carry Hillary to victory this fall, because that’s what the moment demands.

You know, there’s been a lot of talk in this campaign about what America’s lost – people who tell us that our way of life is being undermined by pernicious changes and dark forces beyond our control. They tell voters there’s a “real America” out there that must be restored. This isn’t an idea that started with Donald Trump. It’s been peddled by politicians for a long time – probably from the start of our Republic.

And it’s got me thinking about the story I told you twelve years ago tonight, about my Kansas grandparents and the things they taught me when I was growing up. They came from the heartland; their ancestors began settling there about 200 years ago. They were Scotch-Irish mostly, farmers, teachers, ranch hands, pharmacists, oil rig workers. Hardy, small town folks. Some were Democrats, but a lot of them were Republicans. My grandparents explained that they didn’t like show-offs. They didn’t admire braggarts or bullies. They didn’t respect mean-spiritedness, or folks who were always looking for shortcuts in life. Instead, they valued traits like honesty and hard work. Kindness and courtesy. Humility; responsibility; helping each other out.

That’s what they believed in. True things. Things that last. The things we try to teach our kids.

And what my grandparents understood was that these values weren’t limited to Kansas. They weren’t limited to small towns. These values could travel to Hawaii; even the other side of the world, where my mother would end up working to help poor women get a better life. They knew these values weren’t reserved for one race; they could be passed down to a half-Kenyan grandson, or a half-Asian granddaughter; in fact, they were the same values Michelle’s parents, the descendants of slaves, taught their own kids living in a bungalow on the South Side of Chicago. They knew these values were exactly what drew immigrants here, and they believed that the children of those immigrants were just as American as their own, whether they wore a cowboy hat or a yarmulke; a baseball cap or a hijab.

America has changed over the years. But these values my grandparents taught me – they haven’t gone anywhere. They’re as strong as ever; still cherished by people of every party, every race, and every faith. They live on in each of us. What makes us American, what makes us patriots, is what’s in here. That’s what matters. That’s why we can take the food and music and holidays and styles of other countries, and blend it into something uniquely our own. That’s why we can attract strivers and entrepreneurs from around the globe to build new factories and create new industries here. That’s why our military can look the way it does, every shade of humanity, forged into common service. That’s why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end.

That’s America. Those bonds of affection; that common creed. We don’t fear the future; we shape it, embrace it, as one people, stronger together than we are on our own. That’s what Hillary Clinton understands – this fighter, this stateswoman, this mother and grandmother, this public servant, this patriot – that’s the America she’s fighting for.

And that’s why I have confidence, as I leave this stage tonight, that the Democratic Party is in good hands. My time in this office hasn’t fixed everything; as much as we’ve done, there’s still so much I want to do. But for all the tough lessons I’ve had to learn; for all the places I’ve fallen short; I’ve told Hillary, and I’ll tell you what’s picked me back up, every single time.

It’s been you. The American people.

It’s the letter I keep on my wall from a survivor in Ohio who twice almost lost everything to cancer, but urged me to keep fighting for health care reform, even when the battle seemed lost. Do not quit.

It’s the painting I keep in my private office, a big-eyed, green owl, made by a seven year-old girl who was taken from us in Newtown, given to me by her parents so I wouldn’t forget – a reminder of all the parents who have turned their grief into action.

It’s the small business owner in Colorado who cut most of his own salary so he wouldn’t have to lay off any of his workers in the recession – because, he said, “that wouldn’t have been in the spirit of America.”

It’s the conservative in Texas who said he disagreed with me on everything, but appreciated that, like him, I try to be a good dad.

It’s the courage of the young soldier from Arizona who nearly died on the battlefield in Afghanistan, but who’s learned to speak and walk again – and earlier this year, stepped through the door of the Oval Office on his own power, to salute and shake my hand.

It’s every American who believed we could change this country for the better, so many of you who’d never been involved in politics, who picked up phones, and hit the streets, and used the internet in amazing new ways to make change happen. You are the best organizers on the planet, and I’m so proud of all the change you’ve made possible.

Time and again, you’ve picked me up. I hope, sometimes, I picked you up, too. Tonight, I ask you to do for Hillary Clinton what you did for me. I ask you to carry her the same way you carried me. Because you’re who I was talking about twelve years ago, when I talked about hope – it’s been you who’ve fueled my dogged faith in our future, even when the odds are great; even when the road is long. Hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; the audacity of hope!

America, you have vindicated that hope these past eight years. And now I’m ready to pass the baton and do my part as a private citizen. This year, in this election, I’m asking you to join me – to reject cynicism, reject fear, to summon what’s best in us; to elect Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States, and show the world we still believe in the promise of this great nation.

Thank you for this incredible journey. Let’s keep it going. God bless the United States of America.


Orlando shooting survivors to speak at Democratic National Convention

UPDATE: See what Christine Leinonen said Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention


Two survivors of the Orlando nightclub shooting last month, along with the mother of one of the attack’s victims, will speak tonight at the Democratic National Convention.

Christine Leinonen, seen here June 12 outside of the Orlando Regional Medical Center police. 50 people are reported dead and 53 were injured. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)
Christine Leinonen, seen here June 12 outside of the Orlando Regional Medical Center, lost her son, Christopher, in the attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

Christine Leinonen’s son, Christopher, was one of the 49 people killed in the incident where a gunman from Fort Pierce stormed into the Pulse gay nightclub’s “Latin night” event.

Brandon Wolf and Jose Arraigada, two survivors of the attack, also will speak.

>>READ MORE: Coverage of the Orlando Shooting

The trio follows a lineup of speakers earlier in the week who have taken on the issue of gun violence.

Tuesday night, a group of mothers whose children were killed by gun violence or during encounters with law enforcement.

Follow The Palm Beach Post for updates from tonight’s session.


Ted Deutch channels Howard Dean in speech to Florida Democrats

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch speaks to Florida's Democratic delegates on Wednesday morning. (Kristina Webb / The Palm Beach Post)
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch speaks to Florida’s Democratic delegates on Wednesday morning. (Kristina Webb / The Palm Beach Post)

For a brief moment Wednesday morning, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, channeled his inner Howard Dean as he told Florida Democratic delegates they have to “make Hillary Clinton the victor in Florida.”

Dean, a former Vermont governor and Democratic presidential candidate, spoke to the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night and reprised his “Dean scream,” where, during his 2004 campaign, in increasingly louder tones, he listed key U.S. locations, ending his speech in what has been described as a “yawp.”

Dean’s recreation Tuesday night went viral, and Deutch used the momentum in the closing of his own speech, following a similar path but with a Florida spin.

Here’s Dean’s famous quote: “It’s going to be won in Colorado. And in Iowa. And North Carolina. And Michigan. And Florida. And Pennsylvania. And then we go to the White House!”

And here is Deutch’s Florida version: “We lean in. We work hard. We knock on doors. We do it from every part of the state. We do it from Key West to Siesta Key. We do it from Apopka to Apalachicola,” Deutch said, his voice rising. “We do it from Cocoa Beach to Highland Beach, Daytona Beach to Satellite Beach, Hialeah to Lauderhill, Sarasota to Boca to Oviedo. Yeah!”

Deutch also weighed in on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, saying, “If you’re gonna nominate someone who’s that dangerous, someone who’s that divisive — if you’re gonna pick a reality TV star that you’re gonna trust the nuclear codes to, I frankly would probably be more comfortable giving them to Kim Kardashian than I would to Donald Trump.”

Deutch also spoke about:

Florida’s U.S. Senate race: Deutch said Sen. Marco Rubio, who is running for re-election, has been “missing in action. He does not deserve to get re-elected.”

He also said current Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy “will make a great United States senator.”

Gov. Rick Scott: Deutch called Scott “so divisive, much like the guy running for president.”

Toward the end of his speech, Deutch said Rick Scott’s political career should be ended “once and for all.”

Gun safety: Deutch recounted the recent 26-hour-long sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives where lawmakers tried to push for new gun safety measures in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting.

“We have to stand up,” he said. “We have to do what is necessary to fight the gun lobby.”


Bill Clinton: Hillary is ‘the best darn change-maker’

Former President Bill Clinton delivers remarks on the second day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Former President Bill Clinton delivers remarks on the second day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 26, 2016 in Philadelphia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Former President Bill Clinton called his wife, and now the Democratic Party nominee for president, Hillary “the best darn change-maker I ever met in my entire life” in his speech Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention.

He was met by a cheering crowd waving signs that read “America,” as their daughter Chelsea watched from a spot in the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

“In the spring of 1971 I met a girl,” Bill Clinton began, telling delegates and guests the story of how he met Hillary.

Read the full text of Bill Clinton’s speech here.

His speech spanned decades as he touted his wife’s accomplishments, from her work in Arkansas to bring health care to rural areas, to her efforts as New York senator to get compensation for first responders following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Following in the footsteps of First Lady Michelle Obama, who spoke at the convention Monday night, Clinton took a couple of jabs at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump — without ever saying his name.

Full coverage of the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Speaking about the military, Bill Clinton said anyone who has worked with the Armed Services wouldn’t think they are “a disaster” — a reference to comments made by Trump during a Republican debate — but rather that “they are a national treasure of all races, all religions, all walks of life.”

He also said one of the presidential candidates is “real” and the other is “made up.”

“You just have to decide which is which, my fellow Americans,” he said.

The Republicans, Clinton told the crowd, have had to “create a cartoon alternative” to counter his wife’s nomination.

“Cartoons are two-dimensional. … Life in the real world is complicated and real change in hard,” Clinton said.

Throughout his speech, Clinton continually called his wife a “change-maker.”

“You could drop her into any trouble spot, pick one, come back in a month, and somehow, some way, she will have made it better,” he said.

His wife, he added, “will make us stronger together.

“You know it because she’s spent a lot of time doing it.”