The Washington Post

Democratic National Convention final day: 5 speakers to watch

CHARLOTTE -- The final day of the Democratic National Convention is upon us.

That means the big guns -- with apologies to Bill Clinton -- are on the speaking docket.  President Obama will be the only speaker in primetime (10 pm)  but Vice President Joe Biden as well as a number of other bold faced names from politics and pop culture will address the gathering.

Below are our five picks of the speakers to watch. Some are obvious. Some are less so (we hope).

WATCH: Live video from the Democratic National Convention

* President Obama (10 pm hour): Given that Obama launched his career as a national political figure eight years ago on the strength of his ability to give a big speech at a Democratic National Convention, there's a very high likelihood that his speech will be good. The question is not whether Obama will expertly deliver a well-written speech then but rather what direction rhetorically and content-wise he chooses to take it.  Does he stay at 50,000 feet in terms of oratory, projecting a big vision with few specifics? Does he rebut Republican attacks against him? Does he even say Mitt Romney's name?  How much health care and economic stimulus talk is in the speech?  And, how does his speech fare when it is (inevitably) compared to his 2004 keynote address at the Democratic National Convention and his 2008 acceptance speech at the DNC?

* Vice President Biden (9 pm hour):  We expect nothing less than a full-frontal assault on Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan from the vice president tonight. Remember that Biden has been in the political game for a very long time -- elected to the Senate at 29, two presidential bids under his belt -- and knows what is expected of the vice president.  The question for Biden is how much -- if at all -- he goes off script (or, more accurately, off TelePrompTer). If the Obama people have anything to say about it, Biden will read his speech word for word from the Prompter. But, Biden bristles under overmanagement -- kind of like Bill Clinton -- and might try to break free a bit. Remember that while Biden gets lots of grief for some of his unscripted moments, it's in those unscripted riffs that he is sometimes at his best too.

* Charlie Crist (8 pm hour): Republicans had their party-switcher at last week’s convention in former congressman Artur Davis (Ala.). And tonight, Democrats have theirs: former Florida governor Charlie Crist. Crist was riding high as the Republican governor of a swing state just three years ago; then Marco Rubio came along. Long story short: Crist has now lined up with the Democrats and endorsed Obama last week. Many see this as Crist’s next big step toward another run for governor in 2014 -- under the Democratic banner this time. His reception tonight will say a lot about whether his new party would embrace that.

* Rep. Tammy Baldwin (6 pm hour): We noted in advance of Wednesday’s speeches that Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.) might be the most high-profile gay person on stage this week. His speech got bumped to tonight, where he will share the stage with another gay member of Congress, Baldwin. While Frank was the first member of Congress to marry his partner, Baldwin is trying to become the first openly gay senator and is currently engaged in one of the top races in the country against former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson (R). Does she play up her sexual orientation while speaking to the party base, or does she go the safer route?

* Hollywood (7 pm and 8 pm): The GOP’s brief flirtation with putting Hollywood on its convention stage went poorly last week, with Clint Eastwood fumbling through an odd form of sketch comedy involving an empty chair. But that hasn’t stopped Democrats from embracing their own Hollywood supporters. Tonight’s speakers will include Eva Longoria (an Obama campaign official), Scarlett Johansson and Kerry Washington – with the latter two appearing on-stage together. We’re guessing whatever they say will be heavily scripted and props will not be involved. (Note: Natalie Portman, who was reported set to appear, is not on the schedule.)

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The Democrats debated Thursday night. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Chris Cillizza on the Democratic debate...
On Clinton: She poked a series of holes in Sanders's health-care proposal and broadly cast him as someone who talks a big game but simply can't hope to achieve his goals.

On Sanders: If the challenge was to show that he could be a candidate for people other than those who already love him, he didn't make much progress toward that goal. But he did come across as more well-versed on foreign policy than in debates past.
The PBS debate in 3 minutes
Quoted
We are in vigorous agreement here.
Hillary Clinton, during the PBS Democratic debate, a night in which she and Sanders shared many of the same positions on issues
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the polls as he faces rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz heading into the S.C. GOP primary on Feb. 20.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
Fact Checker
Trump’s claim that his border wall would cost $8 billion
The billionaire's claim is highly dubious. Based on the costs of the Israeli security barrier (which is mostly fence) and the cost of the relatively simple fence already along the U.S.-Mexico border, an $8 billion price tag is simply not credible.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
Most Read

politics

the-fix

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.