When I first received the assignment to cover the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, I really did not know what to expect. I was missing an overnight school field trip to Savannah, Georgia, but I knew that the convention would be equally if not more fun. My dad and I arrived in Charlotte on the morning of Tuesday, September 4, and met editors, Dante and Kristen, at the Charlotte airport. From that moment, we would all begin a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in the Queen City.
The Democratic National Convention concluded last night with President Barack Obama's speech accepting his party's nomination to run for a second term.
Tens of thousands of delegates, Democratic Party members, journalists, and volunteers packed Time Warner Cable Arena to hear the President's speech. Some arrived as early as 2 p.m., even though the speech was scheduled to begin at 10 p.m.
President Obama was introduced by First Lady Michelle Obama, and when he took the stage the crowd erupted in a deafening roar. They also waved signs that read "Forward" and "Fired Up."
"Madam Chairwoman, delegates, I accept your nomination for President of the United States," Obama said. "When you pick up that ballot to vote, you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation."
For the rest of the story, check out the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps website!
PHOTO: President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughter Sasha wave to delegates during the final session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. (REUTERS/Eric Thayer)
Dozens of people were in line, both children and adults, waiting to be granted access to the ballroom on the second floor of the convention center where the event was going to be held.
The Youth Council Meeting was going to be a two-hour meeting celebrating the importance of young people to the Democratic Party and featuring several speakers and panel discussions about President Obama's re-election campaign. Anybody under the age of 36 was considered by the council as a youth voter.
Jenae, a delegate from South Dakota in line for the Youth Council meeting, said it's important to tell young voters that the Democratic Party is the future of the country. "They make sure they stand for our future and they have a lot of policies and beliefs that are really going to build jobs for the future and keep us strong," Jenae told the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps.
Kristen, Vice President of the Young Democrats of America organization provided a similar view about young voters. "My main job is to get you excited about voting for our President again," Kristen said. "And I think they are excited about voting for our President again, as you can see by the crowds to get into the Youth Council's line."
Finally, the meeting began. Jason Rae, the Chairman of the Democratic Youth Council stood at the front of the ballroom with the other council officers, introducing speakers that addressed key campaign topics like education and how young people could help re-elect President Obama.
The event began with a video about the story of a woman who pumped up a crowd at an Obama campaign speech with what would become the party's signature phrase, "Fired up! Ready to go!"
One of the speakers was Juan Sepulveda, Director for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. A Harvard University graduate and a Rhodes scholar, he spoke about the importance of education and college and talked to the audience about the Democratic stance and platform on the issue.
"We hear all across the country just the incredible struggles and what it takes as the President said again and again and again, 'If you work hard in this country and you play by the rules and you give it your all, then you should be able to succeed, you should be able to have the American dream,'" Sepulveda said. "I know you all were fortunate to have that, and I want you to make sure everyone is fortunate enough to have that. Make sure the President is re-elected."
After Sepulveda's speech, the crowd really got excited inside the Youth Council Meeting. It would only take one small spark to ignite the audience. And that spark was Regena Thomas, the former New Jersey Secretary of State. She roused the crowd with the very same chant from the video: "Fired up! Ready to go!" The crowd went wild. It looked like the young voters in that room had decided whom they would be voting for.
Photo: Regena Thomas gets the crowd a the DNC Youth Council fired up and ready to go. (Dante A. Ciampaglia)
The 9-10 PM hour began with a video on veterans and a speech by retired Admiral John B. Nathman. He spoke about those who made the ultimate sacrifice to America and how the Obama administration plans to help veterans with education and jobs once they return. Standing behind Nathman were veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the crowd applauded, they raised sigs saying "Thank you" on them. And at the end of the Admiral's speech, there was a sea of blue "Thank you" signs directed towards America's many thousands of veterans.
Angie Flores, a student, introduced the Second Lady and teacher, Jill Biden. She took the podium and spoke about her husband Joe Biden's values, kindness, and compassion for others. She also talked about the tragic car accident that killed his first wife and his love for her and others. Then, she introduced him, Vice President Joe Biden.
As people waved the signs reading "Ready for Joe" and "Fired Up," Biden walked out on stage and accepted the nomination for Vice President after his son nominated him a few hours earlier. Biden talked about his loyalty to President Obama, the President's work on saving the economy and the automobile industry, and also his own dad's values and the things that he learned from his dad as a child.
"Conviction, resolve, Barack Obama, thats what saved the automobile industry!" Biden told the crowd. "He comes from the determination of American workers."
Biden also talked about his Republican opponents, Mitt Romney and Romney's running mate Joe Biden. "I've got news for Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan," Biden said. "Gentlemen, its never been a good be to bet against the American people."
Biden finished his acceptance speech with this: "The cause of change is not fully, but we are on or way," he said. "America's best days are ahead. Finish the job and re-elect President Barack Obama."
—Kid Reporter Andrew Liang
The Democratic National Convention is in its final night at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte. The 20,000 seat arena is completely packed and the section my editors, Dante and Kristen, and I are sitting in is filled. I can't even imagine how many people there would have been if the convention tonight were held according to plans in the 74,000 seat Bank of America Stadium!
The highlights so far have been performances from James Taylor and Foo Fighters. Taylor sang three songs, including "Carolina On My Mind," and even poked fun at Clint Eastwood and his empty chair joke at the Republican National Convention. Foo Fighters played two songs, "My Hero" and "Walk," and got a huge ovation.
But the most memorable moment of the night (to this point) was when Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was severly wounded in a deadly shooting last year, walked onto the DNC stage (with the help of Democtic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz) to lead the arena in the Pledge of Allegiance. Afterwards, the convention audience cheered wildly and gave her a long standing ovation. Everybody agreed that it was a great inspiration.
A lot of speakers have taken the stage, all leading up to President Obama's speech accepting his party's nomination for a second term later tonight. Stay tuned to Scholastic News for more of the Democratic National Convention's final night coverage!
—Kid Reporter Andrew Liang
In the same suite that I interviewed Andrea Mitchell, I spoke with Guthrie in between segments of the Today Show. She talked to me about covering politics, being a good journalist, and her favorite assignments. Below is my interview with her on the set of the Today Show at the Democratic National Convention.
—Kid Reporter Andrew Liang
Born the same year Warren Harding, the 29th President, took office, he is at the convention to help Barack Obama get re-elected as the 44th President of the United States.
I met Sherman on this afternoon as he entered the Time Warner Cable Arena to be interviewed by Kyra Phillips of CNN's sister channel, Headline News (HLN). Phillips had actually just scheduled an interview with me for an hour later. Seeing him come into the arena, she suggested that I also interview him. He introduced himself to me as Steven and we talked briefly on the floor of the arena.
"I never thought I would live to see the first black President elected," Sherman told me. This is the second Democratic National Convention he's been to — he was in Denver for the convention that first nominated Barack Obama for President.
He also has some words of wisdom for people who want to become delegates like he did. "Just fight for what you believe is right in your country and follow your dreams," he said.
And fight he did. He fought in World War II and today is a decorated veteran who proudly displays his medals and a hat that reads "World War II Veteran."
When asked about former President Bill Clinton's speech last night, he said, "It was just dynamite. Dynamite. That man is smart, he knows where we're going, and Obama can take us there."
He also spoke about his core values as a Democrat and as an American. "Pledge allegiance to yourself, to God, and to your country," he said. "Those are the three."
Afterwards, I took a picture with Sherman. He then asked to take another with his camera, but he has a request. "Go to the other side of me," he joked. "You're covering my medals."
The second day of the Democratic National Convention concluded with a riveting speech by former President Bill Clinton at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. Other speakers on the evening of September 5 included former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and Massachusetts Senate candidate, Elizabeth Warren.
Clinton officially nominated Barack Obama as the Democratic Presidential nominee and fiercely pledged his support to President Obama.
"I want a man who believes with no doubt that we can build a new American dream economy, driven by innovation and creativity, by education and, yes, by cooperation," Clinton said. "I want Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States. And I proudly nominate him to be the standard bearer of the Democratic Party."
Read the rest of the story on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps website!