Iowa Democratic Party’s state convention today

Upon arrival, I discover there is no power for press row.  Blogger John Deeth provided a power strip, but it only has four outlets.  I don’t have enough battery power to run indefinitely, so check back later to see what Chet Culver, Tom Harkin and other top Democrats had to say to delegates.  Culver’s on stage as I type, giving a speech about the flood, telling folks his political speech will have to wait "for another day."  (For those who’re wondering, I arrived late because I interviewed Barack Obama this morning.  Navigate to post below for details.)

UPDATE (five minutes later):  Just as I was about to power down the laptop, Brooke Borkenhagen from the Iowa Democratic Party arrived on the scene with another power strip.  I’m in business.  Harkin spoke first today. [AUDIO: 24 min MP3] .

Culver’s drawing to a close as I type, after thanking Iowa’s entire congressional delegation (that includes Republicans) and the entire Iowa General Assembly (that includes Republicans) for their steadfast support of the flood fight and flood relief effors.

Culver noted he and his wife will be in Columbus Junction later today, whereas Harkin & Congressman Bruce Braley will be in Parkersburg this afternoon.

"Go Iowa Democrats.  Let’s make 2008 a great year," Culver said in conclusion. [AUDIO: Culver’s speech runs 20 min MP3.]

Next up is former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, who backed Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House until a couple of weeks ago. [AUDIO: Vilsack’s remarks – 4 min MP3]. He began with a reference to the weather.  "The thunder and lighting has stopped.  The rain isn’t falling. The sun is shining and you might ask why. It is because today, here in Iowa, Democrats are united," Vilsack said, to applause.  "We are, in a phrase, fired up and ready to go!"  The crowd applauded, cheered and whistled.  A few stood.

"…Now let me warn those outside of this great hall who seek in this election to dividie us.  Don’t go there.  We are united and we are strong….look to your right and your left.  There are no more divisions in this party…for today we send a strong and clear message to the entire country that the eight long disastrous years of the Bush Administration are going to be replaced."  Vilsack yelled "peace, peace, peace!" as he concluded a litany of issues Vilsack said would be addressed by an Obama administration."  The crowd applauded wildly.

"That’s not what I was supposed to do," Vilsack said right after the "peace, peace, peace!" litany.  "I was supposed to introduce our next speaker.  I just got carried away." Vilsack’s now introducing Missouri Senator Jean Carnahan, the keynote speaker for the convention.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.