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Monday, Aug. 27 at 11:15 a.m. ET

Election 2008: Local Democratic Delegates

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Jeffrey D. Richardson, Katina Rojas Joy and Chrisi West
D.C., Maryland and Virginia Democratic Delegates
Wednesday, August 27, 2008; 11:15 AM

Democratic delegates Jeffrey D. Richardson of the District, Katina Rojas Joy of Maryland and Chrisi West of Virginia will be online live from the Democratic National Convention in Denver on Monday, Aug. 27 at 11:15 a.m. ET to discuss their experiences here and take your questions. Each of them also is blogging for The Post during the convention; you can read their posts by clicking on their names above.

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Submit your questions and comments before or during the discussion.

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Katina Rojas Joy: Good morning, Katina here, having a blast in Denver, any questions out there?

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Harrisburg, Pa.: If there is a roll call vote, do you believe delegates should vote as they were elected -- i.e. pledged to a particular candidate -- or do should delegates pledged to Clinton and other candidates vote for Obama?

Katina Rojas Joy: A true party loyalist should vote with the party, independent of the candidate

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Chrisi West: Hi everyone! It's great to be here!

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Baltimore: Did any of you come into the convention as Hillary or Edwards delegates, and are you feeling pressure to change before the roll call?

Katina Rojas Joy: No, always Obama.

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Jeffrey D. Richardson: Hello Washingtonpost.com readers. This is Jeffrey D. Richardson blogging live and taking questions from Denver.

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Baltimore: The speeches I've seen excerpts of had some terrific one-liners, so far. What are your favorite quotes from the convention to date?

Katina Rojas Joy: Hill's no way, no how No McCain and Bush/McCain twin cities both the same. Xavier Becerra "si se puede".

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Native Californian: There's a hilarious list online of all the swag in each California delegate's gift bag. What are some of the most, um, interesting items you've gotten in your gift bag?

Katina Rojas Joy: I have gotten nothing :(

Chrisi West: I actually got several sticks of chapstick, which I thought was random. We got a cool notebook made of sugarcane paper, too. That was probably the coolest thing in my "swag bag".

Jeffrey D. Richardson: There are breather mints everywhere. I guess they figure we are doing so much eating and talking that we will need them.

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Prince George's County, Md.: Katina, what can Obama do to reach out to Latino voters without frightening those white voters who feel afraid of Latinos?

Katina Rojas Joy: Exactly what he is doing now. He has run an extremely successful Spanish language print and radio campaign. Also, it behooves all of the Latino elected officials to go back to their districts and convey his messages. Barack, has the support of the Latino community, now it is up to the community to reach and teach others. Tune in to Radio El Zol 99.1 tomorrow morning, for a convention update.

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Washington: What messages have you felt were most compelling during the convention thus far? Many of us loyal Democrats are looking for "red meat" attacks on McCain and Republicans. But I felt Mark Warner's speech, even though Warner is not a dynamic speaker, was a very compelling message to independent voters concerned about the future of the economy. Have you felt the Democrats need to be more "Democratic," or are they doing a good job of appealing to moderates in the convention so far?

Katina Rojas Joy: Poverty. A young Hispanic woman who addressed the issue last night. Health care and caring for a sibling with special needs has caused stress and anxiety as noted by her tone and speech. How do the $10 per hour wage earners forge ahead?

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Fairfax County, Va.: I'm curious about the generational reactions to some of Monday and Tuesday night. Some of you three are too young to have followed Ted Kennedy's earlier career -- or certainly President Kennedy's. Do you think the Kennedy speech felt different for you than for the older delegates? To take the opposite example, did Mark Warner connect more with the under-45 post-Boomer delegates with his focus on the economic race for the future, hybrids, broadband for rural towns, etc.? Or is age irrelevant to how people are reacting? Please enlighten us!

Jeffrey D. Richardson: I do think that my reaction to Senator Kennedy's speech is definitely different than some older members of my delegation, but I can say that the energy in the hall and the overall love and respect for Senator Kennedy from the Democratic Party as a whole, definitely came through. I may not have had the direct knowledge of President Kennedy and Senator Kennedy's early career, but I was moved.

Chrisi West: I'm sure it probably felt different for the younger delegates, but only because we didn't experience these issues first-hand. Watching the video of Senator Kennedy's life, I was moved to tears, even though I wasn't a part of that age in history. I think our generation is probably a little more idealistic than past generations, so perhaps we appreciate Sen. Kennedy's contributions in a different light now.

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One-liners: I'm not a Hillary supporter, but even I thought her "sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits" line was a funny bit of self-deprecation.

Jeffrey D. Richardson: I definitely agree. I thought that Senator Clinton connected last night very well and showed a bit of her humorous side that many haven't had the opportunity see. She can be witty and funny and that's is a part of why her supporters love her.

Chrisi West: That was definitely one of the best one-liners of the night. I thought Senator Clinton's speech was fantastic, and will go a long way to helping to bring the remaining Clinton delegates over to supporting Senator Obama if they weren't already. It's just another reason why her supporters love her and connect with her on a personal level.

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washingtonpost.com: Katina has to take off now, but we'd like to thank her for participating, and thank you all for your questions for her.

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Denver: Hi. I work a little up 16th street from where you are. From the outside looking in, it seems that the protests and general confusion have been well-managed, and there has been relatively little disruption. Is that the case?

Chrisi West: That is definitely the case from what I see on the ground. After the convention recessed last night we passed a few protesters but everyone was respectful and controlled - just stating their views. And there's definitely nothing wrong with that!

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Enough already: So, what are you hearing around the convention from Clinton supporters who are still "bitter"? I am sick of them, but I'm wondering if the press is playing up the conflict to help create a sense of drama.

Chrisi West: I think the press is definitely playing a major part in keeping the "divided party" issue alive. I have yet to meet a single Clinton delegate who isn't supporting Senator Obama in November. (And they all loved Michelle's speech on Monday, too!) The issues at stake for the Democratic party are too great, and I think we all realize that. The few who end up on TV are not at all representative of what I've seen at all.

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Silver Spring, Md.: I loved the Montana governor's speech. Did you? Why wasn't it covered in today's post?

Chrisi West: I thought Governor Schweitzer's speech was great! It really got the delegates and guests fired up, and gave us a chance to laugh, too. I actually haven't seen the Post this morning, but I'm sure Senator Clinton's amazing speech last night probably stole the show. Hopefully they'll pick up on Gov. Schweitzer in another article online today.

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Maryland: Mr. Richardson, I heard Eleanor Holmes Norton's speech from my car radio and I really was taken aback. All the other speakers I've heard talked about the future direction of the U.S. and why people should vote for Barack Obama. She talked about nothing except voting rights for the District itself, and to my ear her emotional effect sounded unattractive and manipulative. And I support voting rights for the District! Maybe I turned on the radio too late -- did I miss anything in the earlier part of her speech?

Jeffrey D. Richardson: TO be honest, as Vice Chair of the Party I spent yesterday working very hard to get DC residents who are here in Denver into the hall to see Eleanor Holmes Norton's speech and missed the beginning. What I can say is that the District has very few opportunities to discuss our lack of representation on a national stage that we must seize the opportunity when it arrives and with a short amount of time to make your case, sometimes other things get cut. Eleanor definitely made the District her priority for this speech and for that we should thank her.

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Boston: How many people are actually paying attention to the first couple hours of speeches? On TV, it sounds like a cocktail party -- and reaction to the speeches seems delayed.

Chrisi West: I think most of the people in the hall for the early speeches are there to see the speakers and be a part of the convention (I know that's why I go so early). That said, I can't speak for everyone, and there is a lot of milling around for the first few hours. We also have MSM outlets broadcasting on the floor right next to our delegations sometimes, and that can be pretty distracting, although fun at the same time.

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Fairfax County, Va.: Thanks so much for representing us! Yay Chrisi! Have you had a chance to talk with some of the Clinton delegates from Virginia? What's that like for you? What is their mood, and how well are Virginia Democrats coming together? I'm really excited about the keynote speaker being Mark Warner and our battleground status this year, and hope this is building the delegation's excitement, too.

Chrisi West: I'm having so much fun right now and meeting a lot of great people! All of the Clinton delegates in VA have been fantastic. It's really been about party unity this week, I think. And I enjoyed Mark Warner's speech last night. The entire delegation went crazy when he got to the podium!

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Richmond, Va.: Do the delegates have any frustration that the mainstream media has used so many conservative and Republican strategists to frame the Democratic convention? It seems sometimes like they are poking fun at your party.

Chrisi West: When we have a chance to look at a TV I think it's a little frustrating to see the issues framed a certain way. It's hard to control those debates though from the delegate-side of things, so we try to concentrate on what's actually happening on the floor rather than how some MSM outlets are framing things.

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Washington: For all of you: What's been your favorite moment so far?

Jeffrey D. Richardson: With out a doubt, Michelle Obama's speech Monday night. I am so excited about the possibility of having Michelle Obama in the White House. While many are still dealing with their feeling of loss over Senator Clinton not getting the nomination, I am happy to say that we do have an amazing woman on the ticket and that is Michelle Obama.

Chrisi West: I'd have to say Michelle Obama's speech was my favorite moment so far. She really showed who she was both as a mother and wife, and also as a potential first lady. Her ability to unite women to the Democratic cause is paralleled only by Senator Clinton in her ability to bring together delegates from all sides. Michelle is an amazing role model for women all over the world, and I was excited to see her in person, finally! I can see why Barack calls her his "rock".

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Jeffrey D. Richardson: Thanks for following our experience here in Denver. Keep checking the blog for more from inside the convention.

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Chrisi West: Thanks for following our adventures in Denver. Hopefully I'll see you all on the campaign trail!

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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