News

Democrats Open Convention With Calls for Party Unity

Multimedia

Audio

Democrats have launched their presidential nominating convention, portraying their candidate Barack Obama as a man of faith and American values.  Party leaders are hoping the gathering will inspire unity and heal wounds from a contentious primary season.  VOA Correspondent Meredith Buel has details from the convention being held in Denver, Colorado.

Democratic delegates erupted on the floor of their convention as the candidate's wife, Michelle Obama, arrived.

Her goal on the opening night of the convention was to give millions of Americans watching on television an opportunity to meet a family that, for many, is largely unknown.

"I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president," she said.

Democrats hope Barack Obama will make history as the first African-American president of the United States.

Michele Obama says she and her husband come from similar working-class backgrounds and were raised with the same values of hard work and treating people with dignity and respect.

"Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values and pass them on to the next generation," she said.  "Because we want our children and all children in this nation, to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them."

Senator Obama is not in Denver, but made an appearance via satellite to greet the delegates and say hello to his two daughters and congratulate his wife on her speech.

"Now you know why I asked her out so many times even though she said 'no,'" he said.  "You want a persistent president."

An emotional highlight to the convention's first night was a tribute to U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, an early Obama supporter who was diagnosed several months ago with brain cancer.

The senator is the last surviving brother of the late President John F. Kennedy and a Democratic Party icon who has served more than four decades in the U.S. Congress.

He told the cheering delegates the time has come to pass the torch of leadership to a new generation.

"I have come here tonight to stand with you, to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals and to elect Barack Obama president of the United States," he said.

In addition to introducing Obama, another critical task for the Democrats is to unite their party after a marathon primary season between him and Senator Hillary Clinton.

Polls show a significant number of Clinton supporters, still upset that she lost the nomination and was not selected as Obama's running mate, may vote for Republican candidate John McCain in November.

Senator Clinton is urging her supporters to back Obama and will address the convention on Tuesday.

Clinton delegate Joe Ellen Litz still has a strong emotional attachment to her candidate, but says she will vote for Obama in the November election.

"What he can do is be, wow, open and honest and I guess I would like to use the word sensitive to the feelings of all of the people who supported Hillary," she said.

The Democrats will formally nominate Obama Thursday and he is scheduled to accept during a speech to at least 75,000 people at an outdoor sports stadium.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs