Update 11:02 p.m. Bernie Sanders got his prime-time slot at the Democratic National Convention and after about 10 minutes of fairly standard stump speech, he got to the point that mattered the most.
“Any objective observer will conclude that – based on her ideas and her leadership – Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States,” Sanders said.
If there were boos in the room from his supporters, they were drowned out by cheers.
“In these stressful times for our country, this election must be about bringing our people together, not dividing us up,” he said.
Finally, however, he addressed the division in the room.
“It is no secret that Hillary Clinton and I disagree on a number of issues,” Sanders said. “That’s what this campaign has been about. That’s what democracy is about. But I am happy to tell you that at the Democratic Platform Committee there was a significant coming together between the two campaigns and we produced, by far, the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.
“Among many other strong provisions, the Democratic Party now calls for breaking up the major financial institutions on Wall Street and the passage of a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act. It also calls for strong opposition to job-killing free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“Our job now is to see that platform implemented by a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House and a Hillary Clinton presidency – and I am going to do everything I can to make that happen.”
Update 10:43 p.m.: On a night when Bernie Sanders supporters couldn’t be laughed over by a comedian or sung across a bridge between the two, first lady Michelle Obama blazed a path toward Hillary Clinton on Monday – first by appealing to the mom’s in the audience.
“Who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives,” the wife of President Barack Obama said on the first night of the Democratic National Convention.
Her 15-minute speech roused the crowd and put a smile on the face of former President Bill Clinton, who was in the crowd.
Even the first lady herself got a little choked up by enormity of the situation.
“And daughters now take for granted that women can be president of the United States,” she said.
Update 10:27 p.m.: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is one of the closers in tonight’s line-up of the Democratic National Convention, and it’s clear she’ll attempt to enhance her role as Donald Trump’s nemesis. From her speech:
“Trump thinks he can win votes by fanning the flames of fear and hatred. By turning neighbor against neighbor. By persuading you that the real problem in America is your fellow Americans – people who don’t look like you, or don’t talk like you, or don’t worship like you…
That’s Donald Trump’s America. An America of fear and hate. An America where we all break apart. Whites against Blacks and Latinos. Christians against Muslims and Jews. Straight against gay. Everyone against immigrants. Race, religion, heritage, gender – the more factions the better.,,,
“But ask yourself this. When white workers in Ohio are pitted against black workers in North Carolina, or Latino workers in Florida – who really benefits?”
Update 9:46 p.m.: Franken came back on stage not long after, accompanied this time by comedian Sarah Silverman, who acknowledged to spending the past year “feeling the Bern,” but that she “put some cream on it” and it was fine.
Sanders, she said, “has already succeeded in so many ways.”
The crowd, of course, cheered wildly. But she began to lose them when she said, “Hillary is our democratic nominee and I will proudly vote with her. I will vote for Hillary with gusto and continue to be inspired and moved to action by the example set by Bernie.”
As many in the crowd began to chant “Bernie! Bernie!” Silverman rolled her eyes and looked down into the crowd.
“To the Bernie or bust people: You’re being ridiculous,” she said. The crowd erupted. Most of the reaction was supportive but a vocal minority continued to make their opinions known. Until they were drowned out again or just gave up.
Franken and Silverman then gave a lengthy set-up to introduce singer Paul Simon and the crowd was united again.
Update 8:51 p.m.: U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota has been careful to largely shed his Saturday Night Live comedian past since joining the U.S. Senate. It was back in play Monday night. You can read his full remarks here.
“I’m Al Franken: Minnesotan, senator and world-renowned expert on right-wing megalomaniacs: Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and now Donald Trump,” Franken, who once wrote a book called “Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat Idiot,” said.
Franken went on Monday: “A little about my qualifications. I got my doctorate in megalomania studies from Trump University. Sure I had to empty out my 401(k) and take out a reverse mortgage on my house to pay the tuition. But Mr. Trump, or rather, some people who said they’d once met him, convinced me it was worth it.
“A frankly, as a proud alum of Trump U, I think we may be ‘mis-underststimating’ Donald Trump. Sure, he’s scammed a lot of people. But did you know that Trump University’s School fo Ripping People Off is ranked second in the nation? Right behind Brernide Madoff Unifersity? That’s no mean feat.”
Halfway through, however, Franken went back into serious mode.
“I think rather than voting for someone who’s never done anything for anyone other than himself, maybe we should go with the candidate who’s spent her entire life working to get important things done for the American people,” he said.
Update at 8:26 p.m.: When former Atlanta Hawks center Jason Collins became the first openly gay professional athlete in the U.S., it was no secret to Hillary Clinton. The retired NBA player said Monday at the Democratic National Convention that he confided in them that he was gay long before he broke the news to the world.
Before I came out on the cover of Sports Illustrated, I came out privately to the Clinton family. I’ve known their family for almost 20 years and I knew that they would accept me for who I was, and that they would help pave a path for others to do the same. I am forever thankful for their words of wisdom back then and their unconditional support.
He added: “They knew that my sexual orientation made no difference in my ability to play basketball, just as someone’s gender makes no difference in his or her ability’s to lead our nation.”
Update 8:18 p.m.: Something appears to be missing the past few hours at the Democratic convention. The ‘boo birds’ have fallen off dramatically since about 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. That’s not an accident.
Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry, a Bernie Sanders delegate said the senator’s call to supporters to be polite has had an effect. And where it hasn’t, his supporters are sometimes taking care of things.
Terry said he had “remind North Dakota Bernie delegates that Senator Sanders said not to boo. They haven’t booed since.”
Terry said he raised the issue “nicely but firmly” after listening to a “small cluster of North Dakota ‘Bernie or bust'” people boo for two hours.
Update 6:47 p.m.: Interim Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile and other DNC leaders apologized Monday to Bernie Sanders, his supporters, and what Brazile said was “the entire Democratic Party” for the email scandal that waylaid former chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Update at 6:35 p.m. House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams got a rousing applause for her forceful defense of Hillary Clinton, declaring her to be a leader for a “new American majority.”
The Georgia Democrat told the delegates about her hardscrabble upbringing in Mississippi in a family that was “hit time and again by economic insecurity that was too often driven by racism, sexism and the ills that come with being born in the wrong Zip code.”
“No matter how little we may have had, there was always someone with less,” said Abrams, long considered a potential candidate for higher office in Georgia. “And it was our job to serve that person. To know that even the most powerful among us, the strongest among us, did not rise up alone.”
Then Abrams launched into her case for Clinton, who she said “understands that government at all levels is a profound expression of our shared values … of our aspirations not our fears.”
Said Abrams, invoking some of her party’s fights in Georgia:
“I’m here today as part of a new American majority, one that has the courage to work together rather than tear our nation apart. We are the architects of solutions to help families raise healthy children and make a living wage rather than crippling our economic future and pushing dangerous policies that deny Medicaid expansion and reproductive choice. We fight for more because that is who we are.”
Update 5:59 p.m.: Democrats might be split on a lot this week, but boy howdy did they like that platform. When it finally came up for a voice vote the delegates were very loud in shouting their approval. You might not see such unity again this week.
Update 5:45 p.m.: Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin just presented the party’s proposed platform. Co-chair of the committee that drafted the document over the past several months.
Franklin called the work that went into the platform the “most open and transparency process in our party’s history, we drafted the the progressive platform ever. It’s a bold vision for working families, social justice and the continuing prosperity and security of our country and it’s reflective of our party as Democrats, the party of inclusion.”
It didn’t start the way it was supposed to, but the Democratic National Convention is now officially under way.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and not Debbie Wasserman Schultz, dropped the hammer shortly after 4 p.m. to gavel in the convention.
Wasserman Schultz, as you surely know by now, was waylaid by a scandal over hacked Democratic National Committee emails that shows no sign of easing.
Democratic Party officials hoped that by having Rawlings-Blake lead the opening will keep the focus tonight on First Lady Michelle Obama. They’re probably hoping that focus is thereby less on Bernie Sanders, who also speaks tonight.
And don’t forget, Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, speaks at 6 p.m.
Update 5:45 p.m.: Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin just presented the party’s proposed platform. She is the co-chair of the committee that drafted the document over the past several months.
Update 5:22 p.m.: House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, takes the stage at the Democratic National Convention at 6 p.m. Here are five things to know about Abrams.
Update 5:10 p.m.: Bernie Sanders has personally texted requests that supporters not disrupt the convention with protests, according to reports.
“I ask you as a personal courtesy to me to not engage in any kind of protests on the floor,” Sanders texted supporters at 3:21 p.m.
Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, speaks at 6 p.m. Abrams is one of presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton’s top Georgia supporters.
Rawlings-Blake is DNC secretary.
Update 1:50 p.m.: Embattled outgoing DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz won’t gavel the convention to order this afternoon as initially planned, the Sun Sentinel reported.
The longtime Florida congresswoman, who faces a primary challenge, told the newspaper that the decision was in the interest of starting the four-day confab “on a high note.”
She told the Sentinel:
“I stepped down the other day because I wanted to make sure that having brought us to this momentous day and to Philadelphia and planned the convention that is going to be the best one that we’ve ever had in our party’s history that this needs to be all about making sure that everyone knows that Hillary Clinton would make the best president.”
Update 1:30 p.m.: In what was a remarkable scene just now, Sanders was booed by his own fervent supporters for saying the following: “And we have go to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.” The crowd went nuts, some opposed to the booing shouted “With respect!” but Sanders just calmly waited. Soon enough, the crowd moved back to him: “We want Bernie! We want Bernie!”
Update 1:18 p.m.: Bernie Sanders was given a hero’s welcome before a thousand supporters in a ballroom at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, hours before the start of the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Sanders touted his victories at both the ballot box and in convention negotiations but has not addressed the controversy surrounding the hacked DNC emails.
Original post — 12:50 p.m. — The first few hours of the DNC have been dramatic.
First, outgoing DNC chairwoman and longtime congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was booed by Bernie Sanders supporters and fellow Floridians, a sign her tenure may not last until even the end of the week, her initial plan.
Meanwhile, the FBI announced Monday it was launching a probe to determine the “nature and scope” of the DNC hack that led to the release of the 20,000 or so emails that got Wasserman Schultz in trouble in the first place.
“A compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously, and the FBI will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace,” the agency said in a statement.
The Clinton campaign and some cyber security experts suggested over the weekend that the hack originated with the Kremlin, but the former walked back that rhetoric today.
“I think (Clinton), like all of us, we are reading the same reporting that you all are saying and we are reading what the experts are saying,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told reporters.
The hacked emails — which suggested that top DNC officials, including Wasserman Schultz, were opposing Bernie Sanders’ campaign and, at times, discussing ways to damage his run — have put in jeopardy the party’s carefully-crafted attempts at unifying following a divisive primary season.
Mook insisted Monday morning that the convention would be a display of unity.
“This is going to be a big contrast to what we saw in Cleveland last week,” he said.