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Election 2000
Democratic National Convention
The Clintons
The Clinton's at the Democratic National Convention.
Photo by Josh Barlow/ ©NPR 2000
Convention News:

Democrats Boast
of Progress and Prosperity

audio buttonListen for NPR special convention analysis.

Los Angeles, Aug. 14 -- Democrats opened their national convention in a fighting mood on Monday and quickly swung back at Republican charges that the country has lacked leadership in the past eight years with their party in charge of the White House.

Boasting of a strong economy, low unemployment, and other signs of unprecedented prosperity, Democrats took credit for the good times and said that the surest way to continue down that golden road is to elect Al Gore for president.

Clinton Lists Achievements of Democrats Capping of the opening day of their four-day convention in Los Angeles, President Bill Clinton stepped into the spotlight Monday night to echo those sentiments and reject Republican claims that his two-term administration has been a period of missed opportunities.

"To those who say the progress of the last eight years was an accident, that we just coasted along, let's be clear," he told a cheering crowd. "America's success was not a matter of chance. It was a matter of choice."

He also took time to share the glory with Vice President Al Gore. "We've worked closely together for eight years now. In the most difficult days of the last years, when we faced the toughest issues -- of war and peace, of taking on powerful special interests -- he was always there," Clinton said. "I can tell you personally, he is one strong leader."

The vice president, now barnstorming through battleground states of the Midwest with his handpicked running mate, Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. Gore is expected to arrive at the downtown Staples Center on Thursday, the final night of the convention, when he gives his acceptance speech to nearly 5,000 delegates and alternates along with 15,000 members of the news media.

Clinton's appearance in many ways symbolized the passing of the torch to Gore and a farewell to his party as president. audio buttonHear NPR's Mara Liasson report for All Things Considered on Clinton and his complicated political legacy that is marked with triumph and scandal.

audio buttonOr listen to Clinton's full 45-minute sppech.

On Monday, a parade of Democrats boasted of historic achievements: the longest peacetime economic boom in the nation's history; the lowest unemployment; the highest level of home ownership; dramatic drops in crime; and stronger gun laws. All these things, Democrats said, took place with the help of Clinton and Gore at the helm.

At one point, the Senate's six Democratic Senators spoke from the convention floor to recite a record of increased environmental protection, better water and air quality, more funding for local law enforcement, a balanced budget and other accomplishments.

"We had our chance, we led, we led," said Sen. Barbara Boxer of California.

Cops in LA
Hillary Clinton addresses Democratic Convention.
Photo by Josh Barlow/ ©NPR 2000
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton also added her endorsement to Gore before introducing her husband saying Gore and his vice presidential running mate Joseph Lieberman would make sure that "no child is left behind and we made great progress in the last eight years."

Referring to her 1996 book, It Takes a Village, she said, "It takes all of us -- teachers, workers, business owners, community leaders and people of faith. You know, I still believe it takes a village. And it certainly takes Al Gore and Joe Lieberman."

audio buttonHear Hillary Clinton's full speech.

Gore on the Campaign Trail
During a campaign stop in Cleveland on Sunday, Gore pledged to expand the Children's Health Insurance Program to provide coverage to all children. He then traveled on Monday to Independence, Missouri, where he talked with a group of seniors about Social Security and Medicare.

Democrats hope that substance-rich rhetoric from Gore and convention speakers will draw a sharp audio buttoncontrast to the Republican convention last week in Philadelphia, which they say was all a smoke-and-mirrors game of appearances. Listen as NPR's Anthony Brooks reports for All Things Considered.

audio buttonThen hear All Things Considered host Linda Wertheimer interview a group of suburban women of Ohio about the presidential candidates -- George W. Bush and Al Gore. Middle class working women with children are considered a key part of the so-called swing vote, while Ohio remains up-for-grabs in the coming election.

Cops in LA
LAPD prepare for protesters outside of the Staples Center.
Photo by Josh Barlow/ ©NPR 2000
Demonstrations Result in Arrests
While Clinton spoke on Monday night, Police clashed with thousands of protesters gathered for a concert just outside the convention center. The confrontation broke up after officers fired pepper-spray balls. Thousands had gathered for a concert in a protest area near the convention center.

The clash followed several demonstrations earlier in the day held as Democrats began their convention. Some marched through the streets dressed in pig costumes to protest the influence of corporations in American politics as they called for reforming the nation's campaign finance laws.

audio button Hear NPR's Aaron Schachter report for All Things Considered about how not all of these marchers fit the familiar media stereotype.

Paying the Bills and the 'Green' Question
The federal government gives each of the major parties more than $13 million to pay for convention costs, but local host committees raise most of the money. Large corporations and a few wealthy people stepped up to the plate, givingaudio button the L.A. host committee $48 million in cash and services. Listen as NPR's Ina Jaffe reports for Morning Edition on the money behind the convention.

Democrats are taking pride in their efforts to use alternative energy sources and recycled and biodegradable materials at their convention. audio button Hear All Things Considered host Noah Adams offer a brief note on claims by the Democratic National Convention Committee that this is the first "green power" political convention. Your Turn
What are your thoughts on the conventions, the candidates, and the campaigns? Check out our discussion area.


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