Obama campaign: DNC to focus on middle class
September 3rd, 2012
04:16 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama campaign: DNC to focus on middle class

Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN) - With the Democratic National Convention falling one week after the Republican gathering, Democrats hope to have the "final word" by focusing on the middle class–a message lost during the GOP event, according to a senior Obama campaign official Monday.

"Unlike last week, where you didn't hear one tangible idea...We're going to run on our ideas. We're going to tout and trumpet our ideas," the official told CNN reporters covering the convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

The official argued the two main takeaways from the GOP convention in Tampa, Florida were Paul Ryan's controversial speech–in which several independent fact checkers criticized two of Ryan's claims–and the unusual skit actor Clint Eastwood performed with an empty chair.

"The advantage of going second is you get the last word," the official said, adding that they don't need to "tweak" any of their messaging based off of last week's convention.

Asked if the president would be laying out any new plans or policies during his Thursday night speech, the official did not confirm whether or not viewers can expect to hear anything new.

"Let's wait for the president's speech," the official said.

But they can expect to hear a lot of talk about the middle class during this week's event. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden make it a big theme in their campaign trail speeches, saying the president's policies aim to build the middle class from "the middle out" rather than the "top-down."

The week will weave in a few main narratives, the official added. One is called "American Heroes," featuring people who have overcome obstacles. "Progress for People" will include those who represent some of the administration's decisions, including the repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the directive to stop deporting certain people who were brought to the country illegally when they were young. Those who fall in the "Stronger Together" category will represent people who have made "real, tangible differences," the official said.

Asked if the president's Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, will come up frequently during convention speeches, the official said they don't need to say his name to drum up opposition against the GOP.

"I don't want to say you're not going to hear his name," the official said. "(But) you don't have to say 'Mitt Romney' to lay out a choice that voters face of whether to move forward or to go back."

Former President Bill Clinton will deliver the nominating address Wednesday night prior to Obama's speech. While the two presidents have had tension in the past–especially when Clinton's wife, Hillary, faced Obama in a bitter Democratic primary in 2008–Clinton has served as a top surrogate for the president this year.

The Obama campaign, however, said they have not yet seen Clinton's speech but added the campaign has a "good working relationship" with the 42nd president and they're "not worried" about his remarks on stage.

Earlier Monday, convention organizers gave more details at a press conference about the week and revealed information about the youngest and oldest delegates. DNC Secretary Alice Germond said this year's event includes 100 more Hispanic and Latino delegates than in 2008.

The youngest delegate is 17-year-old Samuel Gray of Iowa, while the oldest delegate, Elzena Johnson, of Mississippi was born in 1914.

– CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. T'sah From Virginia

    All the Democrats need to do is call out all of the lies the Republicans told – That will get the so-called "rebuttal" team in action to TRY and rebut the lies they told in the first place – And the more they do that, they more they are once again LYING!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward and YES, We Know You Built That – We ALL Did!!!

    September 3, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. rla

    TOO LITTLE TOO LATE! Romney in a landslide

    September 3, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. hal

    Yeah....figure out how to tax us up the ying-yang!!

    September 3, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. TheTraveler

    A democracy cannot function without a strong middle class. Period.
    Quoting Author Ronald M. Glassman: "One of the basic theories of politics, put forth by Aristotle centuries ago, is the theory of the middle class and its causal link with democracy. According to Aristotle, a large, prosperous middle class may mediate between rich and poor, creating the structural foundation upon which democratic political processes may operate."
    Right now, as we work our way out of recession and rebuild our economy, there is some tough going, but we are moving forward. Recessions can take years to recover from, and this last one was huge. It stands to reason that it will take longer than just a paltry 4 years to gain back what we lost in jobs and benefits for all Americans. But I firmly believe the Republicans, should they "win the day" and Mitt Romney were elected President, would halt what forward progress we've made and in effect, reverse it. The effect would be devastating to the Middle Class. We're just starting see the light at the end of tunnel, and we don't need it to be another train.

    September 3, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. carol814

    They wouldn't know the (middle class) if they walked right past them because they are way to high and mighty.

    September 3, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. carol814

    They wouldn't know the (middle class) if they walked right past them and sadly that is a fact.

    September 3, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. myviewis

    We don't have to hear the Democrats' ideas, they have been able to carry out their ideas for the past 4 years and haven't done so and they had a Democratic Congress thru 2011, Republicans took Congress in November 2011 (not even 1 year). So why so much talk and no action??? They are still within time to carry out their ideas. Why do we have to wait for them to be re-elected to carry out any ideas???? 4 more years is not going to do it. Time we move on to someone else. Romney!!!!!!

    September 3, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Never in history have I known any political party to use a WMD against the Middle Class and the most vulunerable citizens of our country just because they want to make a President a one termer and that's exactly what these Republicans have done. Now they want to finish us off with Paul Ryans WMD Budget Plan by dismantling medicare and ultimately social security to be sold on Wall Street to the highest bidder.

    September 3, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. Middleclass commonsense

    Independent voters will see the truth through the hype, half-truths and outright exagerrations at the Democrat convention: Obama's economic policies have failed and resulted in an anemic McJobs recovery. Even his self-proclaimed successes like the bailout of GM/Chrysler, are failures under closer scrutiny. When a President fails to perform as he promised or by any benchmarks, he must be fired. and not given four more years to fail again. New leadership needs to be hired.

    September 3, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. Marie MD

    All the rethugs spoke about last night was the President this, the President that and the twit actually got a few laughs and he just stodd there like the imbecile he is as if t say wow they are really laughing (NOT).
    Except for lies and half truths from everyone (shame on you Rice who was part of #43's posse) I didn't hear one single solution or plan or how they are going to do anything to help the middle class, the poor or seniors.
    Then again, they just don't care about the middle class, the poor or seniors!

    September 3, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  11. ug

    What "official" is that...no names as usual the made up man like harriett Ried was talking about a few weeks ago about Romney paying taxes for 10 years which is a lie...you lib puppets really are sick in the head...Vote Romney.

    September 3, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  12. mikemcconnachie

    I'm sorry, but the foreclosure mess has destroyed too many millions of middle class lives. Constant unemployment, and for those over aged 50, the future is bleak.

    I blame the super-rich corporate culture, the financiers who used derivatives to bet against everyone (even their own best clients), and I blame the Obama administration and our elected morons in Congress for the waste of the middle class.

    Vote for you Mr. Obama? No way.

    Vote for Mr. Romney? I may, but it will be with gritted teeth. I simply am voting for the candidate who is most likely to put all of us back to work.

    September 3, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  13. mikemcconnachie

    The middle class has been the sacrificial lamb in this financial meltdown. I trust no one, not the current electeds, not Obama, and not Romney.

    But my vote has to go to Romney, as nervous as that makes me, since Obama has proved himself to be a failure at protecting the middle class, and creating necessary jobs. When Obama wasted so much time over the medical healthcare fiasco, instead of focusing on the most important task of rebuilding our failed economy, I gritted my teeth, and angrily watched the massive amount of time wasted on something that simply wasn't the priority.

    It's the economy, stupid.

    September 3, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  14. HTMC

    Trying to be independent here, but it is very difficult. All of the people working at Sports Authority, or Staples and for that matter working for most businesses are members of the middle class. Jobs are created by smart business people, people who take risk, people who have talent and want to go the extra mile. Often these people sacrifice family and friends for their businesses and their businesses create jobs. The government does not create jobs, people do....Obama believes in Equality and not Equal Rights! He thinks everyone should be the same....In Jack Welch's book he talks about 20%, 70%, 10%. He says 20% of the people are extra milers, they are driven, work is their life, they are leaders....they take risks. 70% of the people are great workers, they have a skill, or talent, but there is more to their lives than work, they want balance, they are reliable and within the range of 70% there are some who do more and some who do less. And then there are the 10% the ones who should be replaced, the ones who expect a handout, and they are the ones who Welch says should be replaced....these are the ones Obama champions. Sure there are those who are ill or who have handicaps who need help, but not 47% of the population. Let the 10% who live the American dream continue to invest in their businesses and create jobs....and let's get some pride and drive into the 10%...what they really need is a kick in the butt....not a handout from "Robama Hood"

    September 3, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  15. NameMarieCA

    The President is the defender of the middle class against the dollar-coated republicans.

    September 3, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. zod

    What, NOW they're going to focus on the middle class? Now? That is pathetic.

    September 3, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. Debby

    What after 3 years they are just starting to focus on the middleclass shameful.

    September 3, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. Terry Berg

    So what about the Democrat lies? Let's focus on Obama's broken promises. Is Gitmo closed as he promised it would be? Did he create or raise taxes on corporations that outsource our jobs as he suggested on the 2008 campaign trail? Has Obama done anything that has improved our economy? Has he created jobs? What about our face to the rest of the world. Are we as respected globally as we were before Obama? Please, take a look at your president before criticizing our would be republican president. You voted in a junior Senator from Illinois to be your commander-in-cheif. You took a chance. That's ok... but now, take a look at what his lack of experience has brought us. Absolutely nothing but more government spending.

    September 3, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. megin

    After 4 years now they're going to focus on the middle class? why not do that during the time he had majority. oh! cause he needs the forgotten middle class to reelect him... then they will be forgotten again..

    September 3, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  20. jay parker

    Romney – CHANGE
    This time, its for real!

    September 3, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  21. Gurgyl

    This election is RICH v/s AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS. Period.

    September 3, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. ted

    Oh Speeky da English now huh?
    He was just playin' Yall, he had the middle class back the whole time. You should have seen your faces.
    Hey, Hey, Obama, get me a beer.

    September 3, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. Jim F

    What's astonishing to me is the lack of knowledge voters have on a variety of issues. As an example, I continue to hear how Obama saved GM simply because they are still in operation; yet incredibly the US is selling back the GM stock given them for the bailout at 1/2 the value of the bailout price; who do you think eats this loss? That's right you and I; I'm not saying Romney is the solution, but clearly after 4 years is evident Obama is not.

    September 3, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  24. TheTraveler

    I travel all over this county, hence my handle, and I see plenty of "Help Wanted" signs, new construction going up, road and interstate construction in all states, and more besides. I talk with my clients and find that quite a few of them could use more help and would hire it, if they could find qualified people. for example, just the trucking industry alone has around 200,000 driving jobs could be filled right now! Google it. So where are the people to fill these jobs?
    I'll give you part of the answer. Companies and corporations don't pay decent wages, no retirement and no health care benefits are what a lot of folks are saying. It's hard to live on minimum wage when you're only working 20 hours a week so the employer doesn't have to provide healthcare for example. Welfare pays more and still provides healthcare ...
    So reform just isn't the domain of politics. We need the manufacturing and retail sectors to pitch in as well ...

    September 3, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  25. myviewis

    NameMarieCA

    The President is the defender of the middle class against the dollar-coated republicans.
    -------------------

    You mean Obama is going to be the defender because he should hasn't been these 4 years.

    September 3, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
1 2