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  • Webb Blog

    Convention thoughts from Tom Webb

    Sunday, August 01, 2004

    Some party perspectives 

    On the final day of the convention, I asked several prominent DFLers how they thought the week had gone. Some of their thoughts.

    U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., was impressed by a range of things in Boston, "from the unity, which is genuine, and the intensity of support for the ticket, and the sense of hopefulness about the campaign."

    Dayton said that earlier in the year, Democrats worried that "whoever the nominee was would be savaged by the Bush campaign _ which has happened _ and would not have the resources or the organizational acumen and the party unity to be able to weather that, and to forge his own identity and candidacy. That hasn't happened. He (Kerry) endured $80 million of negative attack advertising, and he's ahead in the polls nationally."

    So as Kerry leaves Boston, Dayton said, "I think he's in a tremendously good position, and I think the tactics of the Republicans, throughout the past couple of months, in the unprecedented barrage of 75 percent to 80 percent negative ads for an incumbent president -- and even this week in this attempt to try to twist everything that's said here in our convention -- to me smacks of real desperation on the part of the Bush reelect committee and the Republican Party."

    "I'm going to urge that our party let the Republicans have their convention in New York without that kind of organized attack," Dayton said.

    U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-St. Paul, was struck by the "energy, commitment and hope" among Democrats in Boston.

    She also noted, "What I'm sensing is people are waking up to the reality that that democracy isn't something you can take for granted." She cited ongoing efforts to purge voter rolls, change election laws, intimidate voters, and various campaign dirty tricks.

    Tom Webb

    Tom Webb is the Washington correspondent for the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press. He can be reached at

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