Mark Warner's Prospects In Va. Give Dems Hope Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner is the keynote speaker at the Democratic convention Tuesday. He is running for the U.S. Senate seat from Virginia this year, and his success in the polls suggests the state may be leaning Democratic.

Mark Warner's Prospects In Va. Give Dems Hope

Mark Warner's Prospects In Va. Give Dems Hope

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Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner stands on stage Aug. 24, before the start of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner will deliver the keynote speech on Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention — in the same time slot that vaulted Barack Obama onto the national stage in 2004.

"I don't have the same style or rhetoric," Warner tells NPR's Michele Norris, as he prepares for the big night.

"But I have a good story to tell. I've got a story that talks about Virginia and how we actually got Democrats and Republicans to work together; how we brought real results to rural communities; how we realized that in a 21st century economy, a lot of these issues do not break down along traditional partisan lines," he says.

Warner — a onetime presidential prospect himself — is now running for the open Senate seat in Virginia. Incumbent 81-year-old Sen. John Warner is retiring after serving five consecutive terms. Warner says winning this seat (and putting his three teenage daughters through high school) are his main concerns — as well as bringing a more centrist approach to governing.

"The only thing I am aspiring to right now is to have the people of Virginia hire me to be a senator," he says. "I think my value-add would be to put together what I am calling the radical centrists — a bipartisan group of senators that could maybe say no to the political extremes on both sides."

"You've got to have a stronger center," he adds. "That means you've got to look at each issue and realize that if it's a good idea, you shouldn't care about where it originated."