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« AK: Berk, Young Lead | Blog Home Page | Strategy Memo: Rock Out »

DNC Narrows The Field

Did the Democratic National Committee just acknowledge that Hillary Clinton has no chance to become vice president? In announcing themes for each of the four nights of the party's late August gathering in Denver, the party tapped Clinton to deliver the keynote address on the second night, while the vice presidential pick will make his or her acceptance speech on the third night, Wednesday.

Two different people on two different nights, writes Politicker's James Pindell, necessarily means Clinton is out of the sweepstakes. Sure, we already knew that, but it's still funny that the DNC would make the announcement.

Potential First Lady Michelle Obama will give her speech to the convention on Monday night, while Barack Obama will accept the presidential nomination in a speech at Invesco Field on Thursday, the final night of the convention.

Clinton delivering the keynote speech again highlights the tightness of the Democratic race. Usually, the keynote is reserved for a party's rising star, not someone long established as a political force in her own right. But with Clinton supporters still making noise about wanting respect in Denver, anything less than the top speaking gig would have further incited intra-party riots.

Those who give major addresses to the convention have gone on to take a shot at higher offices themselves. Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton gave a long-winded (thirty-two minute) speech on the 1988 convention's opening night. Then-Indiana Governor Evan Bayh, who Clinton himself said would likely be president some day, keynoted the 1996 convention. Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford addressed the 2000 convention in the keynote role six years before he ran, though unsuccessfully, for Senate.

In 2004, a convention speech even launched a future presidential bid, as Obama himself delivered a rousing address that many credit with vaulting him to the top of national Democrats' minds. So it is somehow ironic that, four years later, it will be a party elder, rather than the new generation, delivering the highlighted speech of the convention.