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The Kennedys at Convention
Convention News:

Lieberman Moves into Limelight; Kennedys Revive 'New Frontier'

Los Angeles, August 16, 2000 -- Vice President Al Gore arrived in Los Angeles today as Democrats readied to hear the vice president's handpicked running mate, Sen. Joe Lieberman, deliver his accptance speech tonight.

Lieberman, a two-term senator from Connecticut, won a huge ovation from the Staples Center crowd Tuesday night after he entered the hall to take his place with the delegation from his home state.

Gore to Arrive Today
Gore is due to join the Democratic National Convention tonight in time to hear his 27-year-old daughter, Karenna Gore Schiff, deliver what's being billed as a "deeply personal" speech about the role family plays in her father's life.

For his part, Lieberman calls his podium time tonight an "exciting opportunity" to introduce himself to the American people -- and to express his own personal feelings about Al Gore.

Lieberman Mends Fences with Blacks
Gore's ground-breaking choice of an Orthodox Jew to fill out the Democratic ticket has won wide praise from party leaders. But some of his past political stances -- most notably with regard to affirmative action -- have raised questions with some African-Americans in the Democratic Party.

Rep. Maxine Waters of California was among those who were concerned that Lieberman had expressed support for California proposition 209, the 1996 measure that outlawed preferential treatment in education and employment based on race or gender. Lieberman has also been criticized for supporting voucher programs that would aid students to attend private schools, which some Democrats oppose in fear that it would weaken funding for public school systems.

Lieberman, who was an early participant in the civil rights marches of the 1960's, met with Waters and members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Tuesday and explained his positions.

He said his views on affirmative action have been misunderstood.

"I have supported affirmative action, I do support affirmative action, and I will support affirmative action because history and current reality make it necessary," he said.

Waters said she is now satisfied that Lieberman would never support a voucher system that would drain money from public schools.

audio buttonListen to a report from NPR's Cheryl Corley for Morning Edition on racial diversity in the Democratic Party and how the nomination of Joseph Lieberman raises some questions among African American leaders.

Nevertheless, one ethnic group views, Lieberman is having a positive impact on Jewish delegates in Los Angeles. Jewish men are visible on the convention floor wearing the traditional skull caps called yarmulkes.

audio button Hear Andy Bowers' report for Morning Edition

Remembering the 'New Frontier'
Last night, Democrats turned to the legacy of John F. Kennedy with hopes of fueling enthusiasm for Al Gore's uphill battle in the coming presidential election. During one high point of the evening, members of the Kennedy family stepped to the stage to invoke the former president's ideals and words that helped lead to a the party's victory 40 years ago.

JFK's only surviving child, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, spoke of the "New Frontier," a central theme in her father's 1960 acceptance speech after he received the Democratic nomination in Los Angeles.

"I know that my father's spirit lives on," she said. "We are the New Frontier. And now, when many of us are doing so well, it is time once again to ask more of ourselves. Al Gore understands that we need a strong economy, but we also need a prosperity of kindness and decency."

audio button Hear Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg's entire speech.

Schlossberg then introduced Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, youngest brother of the former president, who said the nation's prosperity presented an opportunity to provide comprehensive health care to all. "Let there be no mistake about it. There is a profoundly deep difference between the Democratic and Republican nominees on this issue -- this life and death issue -- of health care for all Americans."

audio button Hear Ted Kennedy's entire speech.

'Fighting Words'
Similar thoughts were echoed by a parade of speakers, who took a more partisan tone on the second day of their convention and looked to pump the crowd with fighting words.

audio buttonHear NPR's Melissa Block report for Morning Editionon the second day of events in Los Angeles.

Earlier in the day, delegates overwhelmingly approved the party's platform. The document calls for boosting education and health care funding, saving Social Security and erasing the national debt in 12 years. It also seeks to provide prescription drugs under Medicare, calls for some tax cuts, and supports abortion rights. It rejects school vouchers and the partial privatization of Social Security.

Keynote speaker, Rep. Harold Ford Jr., the youngest member of Congress, said that the party's goals and a Gore victory in November would ignite enthusiasm among the nation's youngest voters, while the Republican gains would only sour their interest in politics.

"I recognize that I stand here tonight because of the brave men and women, many no older than I am today, who fought and stood and often times sat down to create that perfect union," the 30-year-old Memphis congressman said. "But I also stand here representing a new generation."

audio button Hear the entire speech of Rep. Harold Ford Jr.

Bill Bradley, who launched an unsuccessful presidential bid against Gore in last winter's primaries, enthusiastically threw his support to the vice president and then took jabs at rival Republican candidate George W. Bush's campaign mantra: "compassionate conservatism."

"We're not conservative with our compassion," said the former New Jersey Senator. "Our country needs a Democratic president, a Democratic Congress and more important, a Democratic conscience."

audio button Hear Bill Bradley's entire speech.

Jesse Jackson
Rev. Jesse Jackson at the podium
Copyright © 2000
Rev. Jesse Jackson celebrated the ethnic, gender and economic diversity in the party and then took aim at Bush as well because the Texas governor refused to oppose South Carolina's use of the Confederate battle flag. "He stood with Jefferson Davis and chose the Confederate flag over the American flag," Jackson said. "He refused to offer leadership on hate crimes legislation and wants to give the surplus back to the richest 20 percent to buy more yachts."

audio button Hear Rev. Jesse Jackson's entire speech to the convention.

'Passing of the Torch'
Earlier Tuesday, President Clinton joined Al Gore on the campaign trail in Michigan to lavish praise on the vice president for playing a key role in the achievements of his two-term administration.

Clinton and Gore
Clinton joins Gore in Michigan.
Copyright © 2000
Reuters Limited
"Every good thing that has happened that came out of our administration in the last eight years, Al Gore was at the heart of it," Clinton said. He added that if voters want to sustain the prosperity that much of that nation has enjoyed in recent years, then Al Gore should be their choice for president in November.

audio button Listen as NPR's Anthony Brooks report for Morning Edition from Monroe, Mich.

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