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'Barack Obama Is My Candidate'
"Senator Clinton ran her presidential campaign making clear that Barack Obama is not prepared to lead as commander in chief," McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said. "Nowhere tonight did she alter that assessment. Nowhere tonight did she say that Barack Obama is ready to lead. Millions of Hillary Clinton supporters and millions of Americans remain concerned about whether Barack Obama is ready to be president."
As Democrats looked to day two of their convention, they were still debating what had happened on opening night. An ailing Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.) electrified the crowd with a speech urging the party to rally behind Obama, and the candidate's wife, Michelle, in the final speech of the night, made a powerful case that her husband's biography and values are widely shared by the American people.
But the general absence of criticism of McCain or Bush left some Democrats wondering whether they had sacrificed an opportunity to fire back at Republicans at a moment when one of the largest audiences of the campaign may be tuning in.
Obama officials defended the scripting of Monday's program as necessary to begin filling in Obama's profile but said that as the week goes forward, the GOP will receive plenty of tough criticism.
In contrast to Monday's opening program, Tuesday's speakers criticized McCain and Bush. Democrats cast McCain as a clone of the president, out of touch with the lives of ordinary Americans and an advocate of economic policies that would widen the income gap between rich and poor.
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, in whose state Obama's mother was born, called McCain a candidate who "believes in country-club economics," who would privatize Social Security, and who has supported tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.
She also mocked McCain for the number of houses that he and his wife, Cindy, own. "Barack Obama has a plan to save the dream of homeownership for families who've lost their homes or fear they can never afford one -- unlike John McCain, who has so many he can't keep track of them all," she said.
Rendell, whose unscripted remarks earlier Tuesday may have created some heartburn for the Obama team, was fully on script when he appeared onstage in Denver, attacking McCain on energy policy.
"If you look past the speeches to his record, it's clear: John McCain has never believed in renewable energy, and he won't make it part of America's future," Rendell said. "For all his talk, here's the truth: John McCain voted against establishing a national renewable-energy standard. He voted against tax incentives for renewable-energy companies. And for all his talk of drilling, he refused to endorse a bipartisan effort to expand domestic oil production because that bipartisan proposal would end tax breaks for Big Oil."
The night's speakers also included Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (Pa.), a prominent Obama supporter during the Democratic primaries. Sixteen years ago, his father, then governor of Pennsylvania, was denied a speaking slot in part because he opposed abortion rights.
"Barack Obama and I have an honest disagreement over the issue of abortion," Casey said Tuesday night. "But the fact that I'm speaking here tonight is testament to Barack's ability to show respect for the views of people who may disagree with him."
Staff writers Shailagh Murray in Denver, Anne E. Kornblut with Obama and Michael D. Shear with McCain contributed to this report.