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Surprise GOP Speaker at Dem Convention: Jim Leach

On the last day of campaigning before the 2002 midterm elections, President Bush visited Cedar Rapids, Iowa to show his support for Republican candidates and was joined by Iowa Rep. Jim Leach. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

UPDATED 7:41 p.m. ET: The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) and the Obama for America campaign have confirmed that former Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) will speak Monday, the opening night of the convention, themed "One Nation." But Leach won't be the only Republican to address the convention: Fairbanks Alaska Mayor Jim Whitaker will take to the podium Tuesday evening to offer his take on "Renewing America's Promise."


DENVER -- Just as the Republican Convention will showcase Sen. Joe Lieberman, Democrats have found their own former party rival to deliver a prime-time speech here at the Democratic National Convention: Jim Leach, the former GOP congressman from Iowa who has endorsed Barack Obama for president.

Leach is scheduled to speak at 10 p.m. ET Monday, the opening night of the convention, according to a copy of the official lineup of convention speakers obtained by The Sleuth. He's sandwiched somewhere between Michelle Obama's brother, Craig Robinson, and Caroline Kennedy, who will be delivering a tribute to her ailing uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who has brain cancer.

Leach, 65, made a surprise announcement on Aug. 12 that he was crossing party lines to endorse Obama, saying, "This is simply not a time for politics as usual." On that day, he and former GOP senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, among others, announced the formation of Republicans for Obama.

The Democratic National Convention hasn't yet announced that the former Republican congressman will be speaking from the podium and he he isn't yet listed on the public schedule.

Leach, a moderate who was first elected to the House in 1976, served for three decades until he was defeated by a Democrat in 2006.

His prominent role could be a bit of a sore subject with the Clinton crowd. During the Clinton administration, Leach, who was then chairman of the House Banking Committee, launched an investigation into President and Mrs. Clinton's investment in the Whitewater land deal.

At least Leach won't be speaking on the same night as Sen. Clinton. She is scheduled to speak at the convention late Tuesday night, while her husband, Bill Clinton, is slated to give his address Wednesday at 9:30 pm ET.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  August 24, 2008; 2:33 PM ET
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Whoa. For a minute there, I thought you meant Robin Leach to speak up for McCain's houses on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous at the GOP Convention. Thanks for clearing that up.

Posted by: Mary | August 24, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I'll be surprised if more Republicans don't cross party lines. In fact, I suspect some major defections from the Republican ranks as the parties are realigned following this election cycle. Firstly, the hardhitting, take no enemies style of politics in the Republican camp are too back alleyish for moderate Republicans. Also, the code words and personal attacks on Obama will make some in the Party of Lincoln repudiate the Republican Party and switch to the more inclusive Democratic Party.

Posted by: Earl C | August 24, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I am fascinated by Susan Eisenhower's role in marshalling Republican support for Obama. In a way it makes sense that her efforts are paying off on Monday night, the same night that Caroline Kennedy is speaking, although in her case via Representive Leach. Two women representing two important families in recent American history.

Here in Virginia, I do see strong cross-over interest from Republicans in the Democratic ticket.

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | August 24, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

The only reason Lieberman is speaking at the GOP conventions is because he has to...He is the new VP for the GOP...

Posted by: kralford | August 24, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

ObAMA = OsAMA = ELITIST & a terrorist = God Damn America supporter / Terrorist supporter / criminal supporter (REZKO)
Biden = BInlaDEN = EGOTIST

Vote for McCain in November

Registered Democrat for McCain :)

Posted by: AsBee | August 24, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Why don't these people just change parties? Lieberman can become a Repub, Hagel and Leach Dems.

Posted by: Neesy08 | August 24, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse


Largely because we old school Republicans resent the fact that the GOP has been hijacked by a bunch of post-LBJ Dixiecrats and we'd prefer you took them back. Frankly, we're pissed as hell that Nixon let the Klansmen in to begin with and would love it someone told them to go home.

Posted by: Cornhusker | August 24, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

The Republican Party has been taken over by the rightwing fringe and the moderate Republicans have no where to go but the Democratic Party. Most Republicans don't like the spend and charge to the next generation and that has become the Republican Party MO. Putting that burden on the country and the kids shows a lack of morals. It devalues the dollar and hurts middle America or what is left of it.

Posted by: Scott | August 24, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm almost sorry I voted against him now...

Posted by: Ken from Iowa | August 24, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

How much support do you think McCain will actually get once the moralists in the GOP get through their thick skulls that he's an adulterer, a criminal who got off scot-free, and a priviledged old man from a priviledged family whose sole claim to fame (besides his flipflopping in order to get votes) was that he made his life as a POW easier by telling his captors that he was the son of a Navy admiral? His subliminal adverstising by wearing a Navy baseball cap is going to backfire, too. Get the story that too many seem to have forgotten...and learn more about how his CURRENT heiress-wife cut off her own sister from the millions she inherited but can't share:

Posted by: Dean | August 24, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

An empty suit Obama can attract anyone after a President who can't command the English language for 8 years, just by speaking in very vauge terms and not giving any specifics. With McCain and Obama, it makes me wonder, is this really the best we can do? It's digusting and disheartening...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

For those, who are Clinton Supporters, GROW UP!

Posted by: Unknown | August 24, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

In a move to clean house ideologically, the GOP has apparently traded Hagel, Leach & Shays to the Dems for Lieberman and a Pretend-o-crat to be named later. Btw, could Joementum become the first person to run for VP for both major parties?

Posted by: Good riddance! | August 24, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Yeah right. There are some Republicans who have just had lobotomies who may switch. Other than them, I don't know of anyone who would want a rookie president who plans to take profits from corporations, to disarm our military, to appease our terrorist enemies, to continue the democrat stonewall against drilling for our own known oil reserves, and promoting perverse sexual behavior as well as killing unborn babies. All that in addition to his ties to radical hate mongers and muslims. Oh yeah, then there are the two nitwits you mentioned, Leach and Chaffee, neither of whom are real Republicans.

Posted by: LarryG62 | August 24, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

The GOP lost the National Security Conservative vote after George Bush and his commie GOP buddies tucked tail and ran from Afghanistan when they had a chance to get Bin Laden. The military on the ground do not forget that kind of FUBAR REMF from the likes of Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush.

After a needless war in Iraq.

NO Link to Al-Qaeda
NO Link to 9/11
That kinda grates on the military.

After outing a US NOC agent Valerie Wilson (nee Plame); you reading this “Traitor Bob”?
That really gets soldiers hackles up.

After no body armor and no Humvee or Truck armor and most of all after a cockroach and rat infested Walter Reed and STILL nobody talking about the real problems of PTSD!

And after the abiding shame of the US nation dragged through the putrefaction of state sponsored torture. Soldiers do not not take lightly to the Flag being dragged through the mud by some commie GOP.

The GOP lost the Fiscal Conservative vote after 8 years of NeoConMen philosophy of BORROW AND SPEND, SPEND, SPEND! with which they have INFECTED US businesses and the very citizens of America! The very same sick ideology of DEBT Cheney glorified with his: "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter."Pronouncement.

George Bush and his commie cronies have already left the USA with a TAX DEBT BILL of 9.5 trillion; the equivalent of a second mortgage on every US family, 30,000 dollars for every Man Woman and Child in the USA. And it is expected to reach 10 trillion by the end of the year.

TEN Trillion Dollars of Republicommie back taxes! PLUS INTEREST!

Ten Trillion Dollars that the US TAX payer has been left the bill for!

After PORK SUBSIDIES for the likes of Halliburton, Blackwater and KBR and all those other Republicommie companies that went to Iraq to suck on the US TAX TIT.

After NO BID contracts for Halliburton surely America's biggest ever social security cheque for hard up billionaires who run their own companies into the ground.

After Enron, Abramoff, Tom Delay, Tom Anderson, John G. Rowland, George Ryan, Tom Noe and yes Ted Stevens etc. and the philosophy of flimflam that pervades this Administration.

And After infecting US business with BORROW AND SPEND, SPEND, SPEND! Until US business is bought up by Commie China and under the Sharia Law of Sovereign Wealth Funds.

The GOP lost the Main Street Conservative vote after the Dollar Depreciation Policy, 130 Dollar Oil, Stocks through the floor, Banks going bust, foreclosures, halving the value of your 401K and pensions, raiding the Social Security and Medicaid savings account and after the NeoConMen asked for a blank cheque for Fannie and Freddy.

The DEBT of predatory lending practices.
The DEBT of maxed out credit cards.
The DEBT of rising mortgage interest rates.
The DEBT that created sub-prime.

The DEBT that destroys US companies.

And by infecting America with the NeoConMen's BORROW AND SPEND SPEND SPEND philosophy DEBT on cars, houses, furniture, college, and even your credit card for the groceries,

Shop till you drop! DEBT!

Another THIRTEEN TRILLION dollars of Personal and Business DEBT!


The GOP lost the Christian Conservative vote after Katrina, Abu Ghraib, Mark Foley and when Christians realised the Bush Faith-Based and Community Initiatives program was just a Con.

The Republicommies called evangelicals: "boorish" "ridiculous" "goofy" "nuts" according to David Kuo, a conservative Christian, former assistant to President Bush and Deputy Director of Bush's Faith-Based and Community Initiatives program, in his book Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction.

As David Kuo points out NeoConMen are "cynically hijacking the faith-based initiatives idea for electoral gain," ignoring issues such as poverty, and limiting faith-based grants to organizations that are "politically friendly to the administration." For those who became part of the Republicommie NeoConMen team 8 billion dollars was promised but only about 21 million was ever paid out.

The main people the Republicommies gave money to? You guessed it they were people like Rev. Ted Haggard there to run the Republicommie owned church. Of course he was more interested in paying 200 dollars a go by cash in envelopes to give a gay rent boy oral sex and snort methamphetamine.


Everyone can see the Republican party ain't conservative any more, time somebody dug a hole and buried the GOP's stinking slimy commie corpse!

What patriotic American would vote for this commie GOP?

Do you want the commie GOP to continue to dammage America?

Are you a commie GOP suporter?

Posted by: walker1 | August 24, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Dean, McCain was exonorated by in the investigation into the Keating 5. And how exactly did he make it easier for himself as a POW? He was tortured for years and was told he could go home, but said no which made it worse. NOT better.

Posted by: Bryan | August 24, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

My thanks to Jim Leach for his support of Obama. I do hope we see him at the Democratic convention. As a former resident of his old congressional district, I especially respect the honorable campaign he ran in 2006, when he lost to Dave Loebsack. Welcome, from this life-long Democrat and enthusiastic Obama supporter.

Posted by: Julie | August 24, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Academic political hacks liven up any convention. They speak so well. But I bet he cannot get out the bops! Obama needs people who can get out the Bops!

Posted by: acarponzo | August 24, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

If Mccain wins I believe the Gop will be all but dead I just pray they don't sink the rest of us with them. How can Mcmierda argue the congress went on vacation when he has missed almost every vote for the past two years

Posted by: graniteguy | August 24, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

"ObAMA = OsAMA = ELITIST & a terrorist = God Damn America supporter / Terrorist supporter / criminal supporter (REZKO)
Biden = BInlaDEN = EGOTIST
Vote for McCain in November
Registered Democrat for McCain :)
Posted by: AsBee | August 24, 2008 4:08 PM"

My, my, aren't we full of vitriol and spite. Did it take you long to work up that little play on words that you used, or did it come in a hate email from someone?

Obama/Biden 2008

Posted by: Kris Moore | August 24, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

If there are so many crossing over from GOP to vote for Obama, then we should see polls suggest 70% for Obama. And even your own poll says it is close to a dead heat, with Obama less than 50%. Who are we kidding? Obama is an arrogant, self-absorbing, pompous person with no real substance. No, despite WP's best efforts, Obama is not going to win. Democrats just screwed up, by electing him on an election they should be winning solid.

Posted by: Ronnie | August 24, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

karl rove: do you think you'll have ground hog days in the basement of the capitol?

same day over and over and over and over and over and over..................

Posted by: jeff | August 25, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Bryan, McCain was deeply connected to Keating (far more than any of the four others) and met with federal prosecutors TWICE on his behalf. Considering all the stink you guys try to raise about Obama and Rezko-- a connection that involved zero illegal or unethical activity-- I would think you guys would have thicker skin and stronger spines.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 2:08 AM | Report abuse

karl rove knows a thing or two about federal regulators.

Posted by: jeff | August 25, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse


McCain was not exonerated for his conduct with the Keating 5. He was reprimanded for his exercise of poor judgment.

As for AsBee (or should it be "Has Been"??????) and all of the rest of the PUMA folks, if you think you are going to improve the country by spewing hate and voting for McCain then you are sicker than I thought. Grow up.

Posted by: Former McCain Constituent | August 25, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

John McCain's campaign in a nutshell: Noun...verb...POW. Yes, we all respect him for spending 5 1/2 years in the Hanoi Hilton, but enough is enough. If his campaign is using his years as a POW to excuse him not knowing how many houses he and Blondie own, what does that say? His mind isn't right? Is this a man we want in the White House? There's a lot more to being commander-in-chief than having worn the uniform 40 years ago.

Posted by: Blancmange | August 25, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

... and the Democrats have been taken over by liberal zealots. Expect to see more Blue Dog Dems head right with such a socialist - er, I mean leftist - ticket.

Posted by: Hoq | August 25, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I don't know who Puma is but with the trash "it" came up with is one poor excuse to called a voter. Its people like you McCain can have because you make about as much sense as he does.

Posted by: Ralph | August 25, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I love these boards because it really shows the difference between political camps. There are some intelligent posts by people who appear fluent in English, and then there are the conservative illiterates with irrational and almost incomprehensible arguments. Progressive literates and conservative morons. That pretty much sums it up.

Posted by: sigh | August 25, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

karl rove: i heard your college republican buddy-ralph reed- lost his bid for lieutenant governorship of georgia. why karl?

Posted by: jeff | August 25, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

P - party
U - undermining association of
M - morons &
A - aggrieved Clintonistas

Posted by: Chuck S. | August 25, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I can assure all of you that a much larger number of Democrats will be pulling the lever for McCain than GOP members for Obama. There is large percentage of Democrats(30%+) that is fairly conservative and is turned off by the extreme liberal past of Obama and his campaign. McCain will seem like a safe and stable choice for them.

Posted by: Ruppert Jenkins | August 25, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Gee, if Blancmange can refer to Cindy McCain as "Blondie", in an obviously disparaging way, does that give us in the GOP the right to refer to Michelle O. as Ugly Horseface Dum*Ba*ss? Especially since Cindy is mute during the campaign while Michelle makes herself a fair target daily by campaigning and making speeches?

Posted by: Ruppert J | August 25, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

You Americans are nuts. Pure and simple. There are so many things I could say, I don't know what to choose.

McCain is kinda creepy. Old geezer who thinks he's still the military man of old, constantly slandering his opponent, all with that self-indulgent, joyless smile that so freaks me out. This is all opinion, but I had to get it out of my system.

Yeah, I support Obama, even though I can't vote. He's a fresh breeze, a true leader. Someone people will follow. Like some wise person said: "I don't want a president as smart as me. I want someone smarter!!"

Sadly there are idiots who fear his blackness, his "Muslim" name. You're the idiots who will ruin the election. You, not George W Bush, have destroyed the US image in the world's eyes.

On a final note: why the hell would Obama be a worse president because of his young age and "inexperience"? Don't be fooled: McCain has no more experience being president than Obama does.

Posted by: Fred | August 25, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Well put, fred.....Honestly, the mccain atacks are too personal.... i can see the good in the rpublican party, but they arent in mccain's corner.....and true, we want a smart president.....mccain has NO experience of the white house, so he isn't any mroe experieced than, ppl need to wake up and see who is sincere

I just registered to vote not too long ago, and i think .... i'll vote for Obama

Posted by: Super SOnic 3 | August 25, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

ha ha, looks like Americans are coming together as Americans and not elephants and donkeys. On the other hand if we don't and our trillion dollar deficit continues to grow, we will all be called China,_______America. The blank is for all the other countries whom we owe money to. We need to get real.

Posted by: Lynette | August 25, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

The GOP base is not even warming up to mccain (of course, i could be wrong) and even though it's still early in the game, this just proves to show how we see our candidates to-date. i know i will get burned for this, but i think mccain is a warmonger. i get the impression that he doesn't care to what happens to our troops in the middle east and the other parts of the world. Furthermore, the Presidential campaign TV ads is getting a little nasty, if you happen to see the "McCain's New TV Ad on Obama's 'Celebrity' like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and The Democratic TV Ad on McCain: Are We Better Off?" videos being clash in Well, sooner or later you knew it had to start! The media is begging for it and the people want to see some fight in their candidates. So here ya go...and I am sure this is only the beginning. So, if I'm going to ask this question, which one is more believable?

Posted by: Cathy McTavish | August 25, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Jim Leach's speech was phenomenal. I am independent, and not gaga over McCain or Obama, but definitely leaning towards Obama now. If you did not see the whole speech (only PBS showed the whole thing live) please check it out online... It is a must.

Posted by: Max | August 25, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I am an Arizona Republican and I definately will be voting for Obama. McCain has abandoned all of his ideals and constantly answers every question he is given with, "I was a POW". That mantra gets very old and is no excuse for not remembering how to answer a question so he uses that dodge. And in case no one has noticed, McCain's past is sprinked with explatives and hateful comments about his wife's virtue, (C***). Saying this about his present wife that he married after dumping his disabled first wife who supported him the entire itme he was a POW. The Keating 5 was no small matter at all. I live in Arizona and it was never a small matter. Those 5 Pols got paid very well to lobby for that guy, Keating and their lobbying cost the tax payer large amounts to prop us that S & L company. McCain is my Senator and as a Republican I wrote in his name twice in the last two elections. Having lived in Texas, I could never vote for Bush. But sad to say, McCain's age seems to make him totally lose control of his temper, then his language and is even unable to think straight. Obama for President for this Republican and for our orginazion, Arizona Republicans for Obama

Posted by: Mari | August 26, 2008 4:21 AM | Report abuse

Everywhere you go, morale in this country has hit rock bottom. Since the Bush gang stole the Presidency in 2000 it's been nothing but bad news. 9/11 and the questionable circumstances surrounding that day, a war based on lies, heinous torture and the loss of respect for America throughout the world, attacking of people who don't agree with Bush Co. for spiteful political reasons, secretly spying of Americans without due cause, growing fear of the government, econmomy going to the dogs led by foreclosurers and bankruptcies, fuel and food prices going through the roof, destruction of hard-won environmental regulations, colony collapse disorder, and on and on and on.

I hope that the day that illegitimate gang is gone we all celebrate. Until then there's apparently little we can do besides wait and hope that they don't make things much worse in their wake.

Posted by: Fingers Crossed | August 26, 2008 6:49 AM | Report abuse

You know, all the bad things that have happened, it seems almost Biblical in proportion. Like some Divine curse or punishment on the country for Bush.


Posted by: Fingers Crossed | August 26, 2008 6:53 AM | Report abuse

C-SPAN got six hours of our television watching time during the Democratic National Convention. During that time we switched to another channel twice, once to CNN and the other to MSNBC. Both stations had the same people on that we sometimes watch and we found their comments to be a total downer. We did not return to the programming at either CNN, nor MSNBC. Obama recommends “change” and we would suggest that your stations take the time to reevaluate your presentations of the news, for rather than presenting it, you incite the public with opinions, tone and language that panders to fear. The pitting of (news) people against each other, each wanting to have the last and most important word, not to mention continuing to get their pay check simply encourages their continuing negativity. Bravo to C-SPAN, thank you for the basic presentation of the proceedings, they were elegant and thought provoking.

Posted by: Joan | August 26, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

We watched the DNC on CSPAN last night from 5pm to 11pm. My husband and I switched to CNN once during a musical interlude and were met by the on slaught of political punditry that seems to be the actual showcase of the networks instead of the convention itdelf. We immediately switched back to CSPAN, which is were I will watch the rest of the DNC as well as the RNC. I am an Obama supporter, but I will give McCain his equal time. I wish more networks would follow the lead of CSPAN to the debate and the issues and inform themselves rather than think that we need the "washington insiders" to tell us what to think. It is insulting and annoying. Thank you CSPAN for presenting just the "facts" of the convention and allowing me to digest them in peace.

Posted by: Alicia | August 26, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Alicia, well put. I haven't actually caught any of the DNC, simply because I don't have American TV. I get most of my news by scouring Google News links and CNN and whatnot, and I too am sick of it.

No wonder Obama is accused of abandoning his "above-the-crap" stance, the media forced it out of him. You can expect nastiness from his political opponent, so I don't blame McCain on that point. The media is to blame.

Of course, McCain is a hypocrite and a base player in these campaigns, with little or no honor in his tactics, but that says volumes more about him that it does Obama.

Posted by: Fred | August 26, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

"Puma" (presumably an alias) posted this comment:

"ObAMA = OsAMA = ELITIST & a terrorist = God Damn America supporter / Terrorist supporter / criminal supporter (REZKO)
Biden = BInlaDEN = EGOTIST

Vote for McCain in November"

Is this is just garbled hate-spewing bigotry by a narcissistic partisan with impaired linguistic skills? Or, is it a warped outcry, symptomatic of danger, desperate for intervention? Mature citizens accept the social benefits of our Right to freedom of speech, but recognize the value of showing (as Michelle Obama said) "even to those with whom one disagrees." John McCain intended to benefit from it would denounce "Puma's" intemperate villification. This shows the instability of a mind, and psychological state, that uses anonymity to indulge in character assassination. Were this individual to confine himself to cheating at crossword puzzles, no one but kin should care. But, in this public forum, the attempt to demonstrate superior intellect by decoding ordinary language to reveal threatening secrets that only produces confused blather may cause an obviously troubled mind, frustrated by its own ineptitude, to up the ante. After all, the target of the cowardly attack is a public figure and the focus is excoriation based on ethnicity, race, and/or religion. Cryptographic notes, sometimes obsession with famous individuals (politicians, celebrities) typify the paranoiac--like John Hinckley, Charles Manson, the Zodiac killer, and their ilk--who erupt in criminal violence. The Washington Post has failed to act responsibly and block hate-speech; but the F. B. I. should take note of these sociopathic tendencies, delusions of grandeur, and inability to control disordered thoughts. --Prof. P. Dow (SMC)

Posted by: Prof. Philip Dow | August 26, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

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