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PostPartisan: August 24, 2008 - August 30, 2008

McCain's Faith in the Surge

In terms of immediate impact, John McCain's vice-presidential pick was a great success: We're all talking about Sarah Palin today instead of Barack Obama's acceptance speech, delivered before a crowd of 84,000. It's hard, though, to forget the scene...

By Eugene Robinson  | August 29, 2008; 5:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (433)
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The Palin Puzzle

McCain had been steadily gaining on Obama (before the inevitable convention bounce) and had the race in a dead heat in a year in which the generic Democrat is running ten points ahead of the generic Republican. He had...

By Charles Krauthammer  | August 29, 2008; 4:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1335)
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Working-Class Heroine?

What Sarah Palin brings to the Republican ticket looks, at first glance, to be almost entirely an identity-politics appeal to the very constituencies that John McCain needs to win. She’s a woman -- who in her remarks at the...

By Harold Meyerson  | August 29, 2008; 1:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (126)
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Sarah Who?

A Republican friend of mine in New York is very pleased with Sen. John McCain's selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate. Surprised, I asked why. "She has more experience than Obama," he said, "but...

By Jonathan Capehart  | August 29, 2008; 12:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (368)
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Where's the Music?

“There’ve been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long But now I think I’m able to carry on It’s been a long time coming But I know a change is going to come.” Sam Cooke, the great...

By Richard Cohen  | August 29, 2008; 10:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
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Which America Will Prevail: Old or New?

I’m within three years of John McCain’s age. He celebrates his 72nd birthday on Friday. My own birthday is Sept. 20. But age, I demurely say, has nothing to do with where we fit on the calendar. The presidency...

By Colbert King  | August 28, 2008; 11:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (84)
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Lost in Translation

"Hillary Clinton shows forced enthusiasm for Barack Obama." That, loosely translated, was the headline this morning on one of Poland's leading newspapers. It was accompanied by one of those insane photographs of Hillary, grinning madly, looking as if it...

By Anne Applebaum  | August 28, 2008; 5:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
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The Roads That Got Us Here

Joe Nathan and Isla Mae Kindred lived in a simple, two-story, four-bedroom house in Severn, N.C. Mr. Kindred hauled peanuts for the local peanut company. Mrs. Kindred worked in the town's peanut factory. And when work slowed in the...

By Jonathan Capehart  | August 28, 2008; 2:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
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Divided in Denver?

Contentious? I know from divided Democrats. I was at Chicago in ’68. I saw Ted Kennedy begrudgingly shake Jimmy Carter’s hand in ’80. I was even at the Democrats' National Midterm Convention in Memphis in ’78, when liberal forces...

By Harold Meyerson  | August 28, 2008; 1:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
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A Little Less Doubtful About Biden

I admit to being among those who doubted Barack Obama's decision to pick Joe Biden as his running mate. It may still be only a matter of time before the Delaware senator's notorious motormouth emits a gaffe that hurts...

By Charles Lane  | August 28, 2008; 10:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (104)
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Biden's Window Onto America, Our Window Into Biden

Michelle Obama was fine and Hillary Clinton was good and John Kerry was forceful and Bill Clinton was terrific, but Joe Biden… Biden brought a tear to my eye. It came, of course, when he talked about his mother,...

By Richard Cohen  | August 28, 2008; 10:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (67)
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Unmoved by the Billfest

Excuse me for not joining in the Billfest, but let me point out a few things about the former president's speech. First and foremost, 20 minutes of good behavior don't make up for weeks of churlishness. Yes, Bill Clinton...

By Ruth Marcus  | August 27, 2008; 11:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (166)
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Clinton's Bridge to Barack Obama

I knew from the moment I met Bill Clinton in 1987 that he would be president some day. This was a common experience among people who met Clinton in the late 1970s and 1980s. And all the talent that...

By E.J. Dionne  | August 27, 2008; 9:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (78)
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You Go, Bill!

William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd president of the United States, just made the most compelling case for why Sen. Barack Obama, the man who defeated his wife for the Democratic nomination, should become the 44th. It wasn't self-indulgent. It wasn't...

By Jonathan Capehart  | August 27, 2008; 9:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (368)
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The Clinton Welcome: The Genius of Flags

Whoever thought of having delegates and alternates wave American flags in welcoming Bill Clinton deserves a big raise. A sea of flags is a great, patriotic sight. And it allowed the crowd to unite and to give Clinton a...

By E.J. Dionne  | August 27, 2008; 9:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (157)
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Bill Clinton: 1992 and Tonight

I was curious about how what Bill Clinton said when he accepted the 1992 Democratic nomination might compare to what he says tonight -- and to what Barack Obama will say tomorrow. A few lines: "The thing that makes...

By E.J. Dionne  | August 27, 2008; 8:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
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A Roll Call Even Hollywood Couldn't Top

Ever since the demise of smoke-filled rooms at national political conventions of the past -- where deals were worked out behind the scenes -- most viewers skip roll call votes for the nomination, passing up ministerial events where the...

By Colbert King  | August 27, 2008; 7:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (99)
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Why Bill Is Mad

"There are things that I wish I'd urged her to do. Things I wish I'd said. Things I wish I hadn't said. But I am not a racist." --Bill Clinton to Kate Snow of ABC News on Aug. 4....

By Jonathan Capehart  | August 27, 2008; 5:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (84)
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Casey Sr. Was Not Muzzled on Abortion

Thanks for your reply, Mike, but it's just not true that Casey was denied a speaking spot because of his views on abortion. I won't go through all the detail at this point, but readers can check the Media...

By E.J. Dionne  | August 27, 2008; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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Casey vs. Casey

In response to E.J.: Gov. Robert Casey was prevented from speaking at the 1992 Democratic convention precisely because he wanted to defend the unborn. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. was allowed to speak at the 2008 convention and chose not...

By Michael Gerson  | August 27, 2008; 3:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
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Russia Makes Trouble for the Democrats' Narrative

I wouldn't say that the words "Ossetia" and "Abkhazia" are on every delegate's lips out here, but Russia's aggression has spotlighted some interesting divisions within the Democratic Party -- and even the Obama team itself -- on foreign policy....

By Fred Hiatt  | August 27, 2008; 2:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
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Bob Casey's Speech Mattered

For 16 years, Republicans seeking the votes of right-to-lifers have made a huge deal about the fact that the late Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey, a strong abortion opponent, was not invited to speak at the 1992 Democratic National Convention...

By E.J. Dionne  | August 27, 2008; 1:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
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The Most Surprising Convention Speech

Few here in Denver paid much attention to Mark Warner’s keynote speech last night. That’s only natural -- we all know who the real headliner was. Hillary Clinton’s speech has already been analyzed, commentated and blogged within an inch...

By Eugene Robinson  | August 27, 2008; 1:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
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Has He Lost His Mind?

“Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's big speech on Thursday night will be delivered from an elaborate columned stage resembling a miniature Greek temple. The stage, similar to structures used for rock concerts, has been set up at the 50-yard-line,...

By Charles Krauthammer  | August 27, 2008; 11:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1302)
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Did Hillary Convince Hillary?

"Barack Obama est Mon Candidat." (Barack Obama is my candidate.) That much of Hillary Clinton's speech made it onto Le Monde's Web site this morning, and presumably penetrated the French public's awareness as well. With the speech too late...

By Anne Applebaum  | August 27, 2008; 10:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (110)
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More Notes From Last Night

Many Democrats seemed disappointed with Mark Warner's low-key keynote. I found it refreshing – a bit of DLC thinking at an ADA convention. Warner praised entrepreneurship. He mentioned "safe neighborhoods." He talked of the need to "rebuild the military"...

By Michael Gerson  | August 27, 2008; 9:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
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Not Much of an Endorsement

I was somehow watching a very different speech from the one my colleagues saw last night. Yes, I agree that Hillary Clinton was forceful and effective. She is a much-improved speaker compared with the beginning of her campaign (when...

By Michael Gerson  | August 27, 2008; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
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When You Can't Say Something Nice

Here’s an item for Guinness World Records: After what seemed like 1,001 Democratic primary debates, and all the time she spent with him in Senate meetings and caucuses and fundraisers and the Green Rooms of countless television studios, Hillary...

By Richard Cohen  | August 27, 2008; 8:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (283)
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The Obama Camp Can Exhale

Whatever concerns may have been lurking within Barack Obama's campaign about Hillary Clinton's appearance on the convention stage were quickly dispelled minutes into her speech last night in Denver. Barack Obama, simply stated, could not have asked for anything...

By Colbert King  | August 27, 2008; 8:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
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Hillary the Happy Warrior

Hillary Clinton hit all her marks tonight, and all Barack Obama’s marks, too. She attacked McCain, affirmed Obama and burnished her own reputation with both her own supporters and Obama’s. It was a happy warrior speech; gone was the...

By Harold Meyerson  | August 26, 2008; 11:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (67)
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Hillary's Pitch-Perfect Toast

Hillary Clinton knew that every adjective, every nuance, every aspect of her body language would be scrutinized tonight for evidence of less-than-full-throated support of Barack Obama. She didn’t betray any unhappiness -- and it was silly, actually, for anyone...

By Ruth Marcus  | August 26, 2008; 11:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (172)
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James Carville, Are You Happy Yet?

James Carville, the Democratic uber consultant and Clinton loyalist, was not happy on the first night of the Democratic Convention. "The way they planned it tonight was supposed to be sort of the personal -- Michelle Obama will talk...

By E.J. Dionne  | August 26, 2008; 10:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (97)
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Richard Cohen Made Me Blog

I wasn’t planning to blog about Michelle Obama’s speech, but Cohen has pushed me into it. Richard, I think you’ve gotten it totally wrong. What was charming about Michelle Obama’s speech, and the adorable family tableau that followed, was...

By Ruth Marcus  | August 26, 2008; 9:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
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Progressives: No Longer Playing Defense

One of the intriguing things about this year’s Democratic convention is that it seems Democrats in general, and progressives and liberals in particular, are far less defensive than they were in the past. From 1988-2004, and particularly during the...

By E.J. Dionne  | August 26, 2008; 7:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
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The New Democrats

The Democratic Party earned its reputation as the Mommy Party for a reason. No societal problem was so big that a federal government program couldn't solve it. Anybody remember the New Deal? Great Society, anyone? But there's a new...

By Jonathan Capehart  | August 26, 2008; 6:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
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Making Progress on Race

As Barack Obama's lead over John McCain dwindles, his supporters are struggling to explain why the soon-to-be Democratic nominee is not running away with the race when so many factors -- struggling economy, unpopular Republican incumbent -- point toward...

By Charles Lane  | August 26, 2008; 5:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (79)
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Teddy's Moment

Coda to night one. It will be remembered for only one thing: Teddy Kennedy's gallant appearance and wonderfully unpredisposing, even joyful speech. The most moving moment was the most subtle. He made many references to his earlier memorable speeches....

By Charles Krauthammer  | August 26, 2008; 5:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
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Michelle's Speech? In Europe It Registered As a Curiosity

I confess: I cheated. Instead of waiting for the foreign coverage, I woke up at 4 a.m. last night to watch Michelle Obama speak live, then stumbled back to bed, woke up in the morning and wasn't sure if...

By Anne Applebaum  | August 26, 2008; 3:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (91)
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Michelle Obama's Sad Transformation

The transformation of Michelle Obama from a bracingly proud contemporary woman -- mother, wife, career woman -- into a prime time Betty Crocker was sad to see. This is not to say that she was not up to the...

By Richard Cohen  | August 26, 2008; 1:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (345)
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Michelle Obama Owned Her Moment

I confess that when Michelle Obama was speaking last night, I wasn’t thinking about the political impact her words might have on white, left-handed working-class registered independents in the lower Rust Belt (or was it the upper Rust Belt...

By Eugene Robinson  | August 26, 2008; 12:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (500)
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Any Democrats Left in Washington?

To those Democratic National Committee workers stuck here in the nation’s capital, Denver is to Washington what the playing field is to the locker room. Or so it would seem. The action appears to be out West. Since I’m...

By Colbert King  | August 26, 2008; 1:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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John Foster Dulles Supports Barack Obama

We will be hearing a lot in the next few months about Barack Obama’s ignorance or naivete or general left-wing wimpiness on foreign policy. But yesterday, I got reassurance about Obama from a source who will be hard to...

By  | August 26, 2008; 12:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
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Observations of a Kid From Massachusetts

When it was time for Ted Kennedy to speak tonight, I had to make my way across the crush of the convention floor to hear him with the Massachusetts delegation. I’m not a kid anymore, alas, but I still...

By E.J. Dionne  | August 25, 2008; 10:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
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Different Praise for Ted Kennedy

Let me add some unbidden (and probably unwelcome) praise for Ted Kennedy to Harold Meyerson's post. Though it may not be featured in the Ken Burns video tonight, the last lion of liberalism is the main reason for passage...

By Michael Gerson  | August 25, 2008; 9:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
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Clinton Holdouts, Messing Up All the Unity

Democrats have a problem. Here they are at the start of their convention, and efforts are still underway to soothe the festering anger and resentment of supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. First, those supporters were upset that she...

By Jonathan Capehart  | August 25, 2008; 6:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
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Obama's Task

What's astonishing about this convention is that we are coming into it with the race a dead heat. This is impossible. Every political wind is blowing the Democrats’ way. But the Democrats managed to nominate the weakest of their...

By Charles Krauthammer  | August 25, 2008; 6:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (186)
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What to Expect From Tonight's Kennedy Catharsis

This is my third convention for Kennedy catharsis. When I was an 18-year-old staffer for Eugene McCarthy, I got into the convention hall for one evening of the Democrats’ 1968 Chicago convention – the night a film memorializing Robert...

By Harold Meyerson  | August 25, 2008; 5:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
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The Convention by Telephone

For all of those readers out there who can't empathize with the ennui so many reporters feel about political conventions (Mike Kinsley has just described himself as "one of the thousands of journalists, all chasing the same story") I...

By Anne Applebaum  | August 25, 2008; 5:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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Goodbye, Harlem

As the Democratic National Convention gets underway today, I can't help but think that Harlem will cease to be the capital of Black America. No, it's not the official capital. But for decades it has been an emotional focal...

By Jonathan Capehart  | August 25, 2008; 3:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
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Live From Denver

Washington Post opinion editor Fred Hiatt was online today to answer questions about the 2008 election, the conventions and the launch of PostPartisan. Want to know what he thinks about Obama's position on Iraq? Whether a candidate's appearance matters? The...

By Fred Hiatt  | August 25, 2008; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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Obama's Organ Transplant

I spent the weekend frantically asking everyone I met if they knew of anyone in their entire life who had ever voted for president on the basis of who the vice presidential candidate was. After a while, I started...

By Richard Cohen  | August 25, 2008; 10:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
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A Republican in a Democratic Town

There are Obamacons (Conservatives for Obama) and Obamacans (Republicans for Obama). Some people are both. But tonight, I ran into a leading member of the second tribe who is definitely not part of the first. On Monday, former Iowa...

By E.J. Dionne  | August 25, 2008; 1:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
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Remembering Why I Don't Do Conventions

The last time I went to a national party convention was 1992, and I vowed never to go to another. But when Tina Brown asked me to “do” the conventions for her soon-to-start web site, I suddenly couldn’t remember...

By Michael Kinsley  | August 25, 2008; 12:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
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Change v. Convention

Any political convention has its share of contradictions, and this one in Denver is no exception. Speakers include Barack Obama -- and the former president who called his appeal a "fairy tale." The heads of NARAL Pro-Choice America and...

By Michael Gerson  | August 24, 2008; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
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Already a Busy Week at the Firing Range

Exactly two hours before Sen. Joe Biden was scheduled to take the stage for his unveiling as Sen. Barack Obama's running mate on the Democratic ticket, an e-mail arrived from the Republican National Committee laying out the case against...

By Colbert King  | August 24, 2008; 8:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
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Democrats Who Don't Believe in Change

The photo ops and sound bites beginning Monday night will all be designed to show Democratic unity -- Tim Kaine thinks Joe Biden was a great vice presidential choice, Hillary Clinton thinks Barack Obama is the tops, we’re all...

By Fred Hiatt  | August 24, 2008; 6:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
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The Obama Camp's Pick for McCain's No. 2

I finished up an appearance on MSNBC this morning to discover that Robert Gibbs, the amiable spokesperson for the Obama campaign, would be filling the chair after me. So, I figured I'd hang around. Not surprisingly, the chitchat was...

By Jonathan Capehart  | August 24, 2008; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
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The Action on the Edge of the Action

National political conventions are gatherings of VIP's, and every VIP expects a good hotel room. That's why media types tend to be relegated to the outskirts, or the suburbs, or the exurbs. And that's why the Cherry Creek neighborhood...

By Eugene Robinson  | August 24, 2008; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
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American Gladiators, the Season Premier

Well here it comes, the moment we've all been waiting for: The start of the national political conventions. The Democrats go first tomorrow in Denver…followed by the Republicans in St. Paul…followed by a two-month feeding frenzy in which the...

By Colbert King  | August 24, 2008; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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