U.S. Rep Brendan Boyle waves to the crowd Monday at the first day of the Democratic National Convention. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO
After Donald Trump received a bounce in the polls following last week’s Republican National Convention, the Democrats arrived in Philadelphia this week to extol the virtues of Hillary Clinton.
Things got off to a rocky start, with leaked emails seeming to show that the Democratic National Committee was favoring Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders during the nomination fight.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congresswoman and chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, took the fall, announcing her exit from the committee while losing any formal role at the four-day convention.
Protesters are in town, many to support Sanders, but they are being kept well away from South Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.
Opening night was a star-studded affair, with speeches by Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, first lady Michelle Obama and others.
Former President Bill Clinton was scheduled to address delegates on Tuesday ight.
Wednesday’s highlights will include speeches by President Obama, Vice President Biden and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential candidate.
Thursday’s finale will include Chelsea Clinton introducing her mother, the first woman to be nominated for president by a major party.
Here is a look at how the convention has gone so far.
U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-13th dist.) addressed the delegates on Monday ight.
Boyle, of Somerton, spoke of growing up in an Olney rowhome with his younger brother, Kevin, a state representative. His father, Francis, a native of Ireland, is a SEPTA janitor, while his late mother, Eileen, was a crossing guard.
The congressman noted he was the first in his family to go to college, attending Notre Dame.
Some Bernie Sanders supporters booed his mention of Clinton, as he praised her positions on jobs, college, wages and equal work for equal pay. He also slammed Trump.
ldquo;All Donald Trump wants to do is tell you who’s to blame, to fan the flames of anxiety and to exploit them in the most negative, divisive, dangerous ways,” he said.
Boyle joined other Democrats in underscoring the party theme that Trump focuses too much on the country’s negatives.
ldquo;Donald Trump says the American dream is dead. Why does he want to lead America when he doesn’t even believe in America? Donald Trump is wrong. This is a remarkable country,” he said.
For U.S. Rep Bob Brady (D-1st dist.), who got all three minutes on the stage on Monday ight, the theme was military service.
Striding onto the stage to the sounds of the Beatles’ Come Together, he thanked current and former members of the armed services, including prisoners of war and those missing in action, for their sacrifice for America’s freedom.
ldquo;We remember you. You are not forgotten,” he said.
Brady sponsored a bill that became law requiring that an empty chair be permanently placed at the Capitol to remember POWs and MIAs. A similar chair sits in the Pennsylvania delegation space on the floor.
The congressman called for the Wells Fargo Center audience to stand and observe a moment of silence for POWs and MIAs, then asked for applause for the armed services.
ldquo;Let’s go New York, I can’t hear you,” he shouted.
Brady also thanked delegates for their efforts “to keep Donald Trump out of the White House, someone who disrespects our POWs, like John McCain.”
State Rep. Mark Cohen is a Sanders delegate at the Democratic National Convention, but he’ll happily support Clinton in November.
Cohen said he is pleased that Clinton has reached out to supporters of the Vermont senator. He also noted her embrace of some of Sanders’ top issues: a $15 an hour minimum wage, expansion of Social Security and Medicare benefits, free tuition at public colleges and a reduction in the number of superdelegates.
Cohen said Clinton will be better for jobs and the economy, and in a shot at Trump’s well-known reality show tagline, he said she’ll be saying to Americans: “You’re hired.”
ldquo;I think Hillary is an outstanding candidate, and I think she will make an outstanding president,” he said. “I will be pleased to support her in the general election. There’s a real difference between her and Donald Trump. I will be very proud to vote for her.”
Cohen, first elected in 1974, was defeated in the primary by Jared Solomon. He will leave office at the end of the year.
He has said that in 2017, he’ll run for judge, perhaps the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, Philadelphia Municipal Court or — most likely — the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court bench.
Mayor Jim Kenney welcomed delegates and others to Philadelphia in a Monday ight address at the Wells Fargo Center.
“Philadelphia is the city that makes history. And, we’re ready to do it again, when this convention nominates the first woman president of the United States,” he said.
Kenney ripped speakers at the Republican National Convention who vowed to “take their country back” this November. He said he was angry that “all our immigrant brothers and sisters” had to hear ugly things said in Cleveland.
“Whether our families came to this country in 1776 or 1976 or 2016, this country belongs to all of us,” he said.
The mayor also spoke of how Philadelphia became the first major city to pass a soda tax that will fund pre-kindergarten and community schools and renovate parks, recreation centers and libraries.
Katie McGinty, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, said she is excited and honored to be addressing the convention on Thursday.
McGinty is challenging Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
“This year’s Democratic National Convention is particularly special for me since it is taking place in my hometown of Philadelphia, a city that represents the values that make our country great: diversity, equality, hard work and caring for each other. I look forward to highlighting the clear choice facing voters in this election between the Democratic vision of expanding opportunity and bringing people together versus the divisive, anti-middle-class policies championed by the Trump-Toomey ticket.”
Meanwhile McGinty, a Rhawnhurst native who attended Resurrection of Our Lord Grammar School, St. Hubert High School and St. Joseph’s University, faced harsh criticism for calling Sen. Toomey an “a — hole, dammit.” She leveled the slur at a Mondaynews conference hosted by some unions on the issue of the minimum wage.
Republican Party of Pennsylvania communications director Megan Sweeney said, “Katie McGinty’s desperation is showing. Katie McGinty’s campaign is a mess, so she’s resorting to low-brow shock tactics to try to gain some attention. Katie McGinty’s desperation is leading her to embarrass herself in front of the state and national media. Katie McGinty can call people names, but Pat Toomey will remain focused on fighting for Pennsylvanians.”
Ian Prior, a spokesman for the Senate Leadership Fund super PAC, said, “Katie McGinty showed absolutely zero class in using profanity to insult Sen. Pat Toomey on the campaign trail. McGinty should immediately apologize for such a display of crude behavior completely unbecoming of someone running for the U.S. Senate.”
Hillary for Pennsylvania has opened five convention offices across Philadelphia, including ones at 4426 Frankford Ave. and 8568 Bustleton Ave. in Castor Gardens.
The other offices are in Germantown, North Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Convention Center. (The convention center office will close on Thursday.)
Delegates and supporters are invited to visit, make calls to Pennsylvanians and pick up voter registration packets. The Clinton campaign hopes to register 3 million new voters nationwide before the election.
The offices are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Clinton and running mate Kaine will hold a public rally on Independence Mall on Friday, the day after she formally accepts the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. They will be joined by former President Clinton.
The rally will start at 12:30 p.m. Gates open to the public at 10 a.m.
Following the rally, the Democratic ticket will embark on a three-day, jobs-focused bus tour across Pennsylvania and Ohio. The tour will include public events in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Youngstown and Columbus.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 said it is insulted by the exclusion of police widows and family members at the Democratic National Convention and with Hillary Clinton’s choice of speakers.
On Tuesday ight, scheduled speakers were to include the mothers of Eric Garner, Dontre Hamilton, Michael Brown and Sandra Bland. Bland hung herself in a Texas jail cell, while the others died in confrontations with police. No charges were filed in any of the cases.
The FOP said president John McNesby and members were “shocked and saddened” by the planned choice of speakers.
The union said in a statement that, “The Fraternal Order of Police is insulted, and will not soon forget, that the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton are excluding the widows and other family members of police officers killed in the line of duty who were victims of explicit, and not implied racism, and ‘being on duty in blue.’ It is sad that to win an election, Mrs. Clinton must pander to the interests of people who do not know all the facts, while the men and women they seek to destroy are outside protecting the political institutions of this country. Mrs. Clinton, you should be ashamed of yourself, if that is possible.”
Les Neri, president of the state Fraternal Order of Police, said, “The 40,000 members of the Pennsylvania FOP State Lodge stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Philadelphia FOP Lodge 5 and share their shock and disgust. This unnecessary and pandering move by the Democratic national party is exactly what the country does not need. People are already questioning the role of law enforcement without being tossed into the political crosshairs in the hopes of simply winning an election. Now, more than ever, we need to rally around our brave men and women in uniform instead of look for ways to tear them apart.” ••
U.S. Rep Bob Brady speaks Monday at the Democratic National Convention. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO
A supporter of Bernie Sanders shows her displeasure with how she believes the system was rigged against her candidate. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO