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All smiles during the president's speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Courtesy of Fred Hoffman
Have you ever been someplace you just don't want to leave? That's how I felt today in two places - first, St. Peter's Church in Charlotte, where Sister Simone Campbell and her Nuns on the Bus held forth on social justice this morning. . .and then tonight at the Time Warner Arena, where the Democrats wrapped up their 47th national convention with such emotion and excitement it was palpable. Both were such compelling programs, with phenomenal presenters and amazing fellow participants, that I just wanted them to go on and on. - - - THURSDAY MORNING, after our state delegation breakfast briefing, I hopped on the bus to pop in on the Nuns on the Bus event in the downtown parish hall. I sheepishly approached Sister Simone, thanked her for her service and melted. It was like meeting Mother Teresa or Father Solanus - true, humble holy people filled with the spirit and called to serve the least of these. Sister captivated the convention attendees were her remarks last night at the plenary session, and today's was a very nun-like "follow up" discussions with homework - - - THEN, FOR SIX HOURS WE SAT at the final session of the convention without moving (you couldn't or you'd lose your seat) crying, laughing, dancing, cheering and absorbing. There was too much to cover it all in depth, but the high points to me including the performances by Marc Anthony, the Foo Fighters, Mary J. Blige, and especially James Taylor. . .the halting recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by American hero Gabby Giffords, who was nearly murdered by a right-wing nut. . .the calm but perceptive remarks of Caroline Kennedy . . .the passionate speeches by three of my heroes, Congress members Barney Frank, John Lewis and Tammy Baldwin. . .the amazingly wise foreign policy lesson by John Kerry. . .the tribute to the late Geraldine Ferraro. . .and the case against the GOP by former Florida Republican governor Charley Crist, who talked about how his party has left him - and how the GOP is abandoning seniors. - - - THE BIG THREE SPEECHES, for me, were delivered by our own former governor Jennifer Granholm, VP Joe Biden and, of course, The President. Jennifer was amazing! She electrified the house and had them on their feet cheering USA USA USA as she told the auto rescue story. I was so proud of her, and told her so later. . . . Following intros by his wife and son, Biden delivered the speech of his life. He talked about the President's character and leadership, using the auto rescue and the Bin Laden mission as case studies to tell the story. "He has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart and a spine of steel," the VP said. . . .And, as a wrap-up, you could have a better speech on substance and style than President Obama's. It was prose and poetry unusual at a political gathering. Its thesis was that this election is an opportunity for voters to make a choice, and that choice is clearer than any time in recent years. It was powerful, and it had us up and down dozens of times with cheers and sign-waving (got several reports you saw me...and I even made the jumbo screen with my maize-and-blue Michigan shirt!). - - - IT WAS TOO BAD that the planned outdoor football stadium session had to be nixed because of bad weather and that so many (50,000 plus) who had tickets were unable to experience tonight's program in person. The campaign reported thousands of local watch-parties, and several of them were even shown on the screen between speeches. But the bottom line is that tonight's closing event was magical - and, based on the emails, posts and tweets I was getting through the evening, I think some of what I experienced was captured by those watching in every corner of America.. . .After the session, uptown Charlotte was hopping with activities everywhere. I am sure the town has never experienced such a late night rush before. . . Tomorrow, folks like me will be heading home tired but truly energized!