U.S. Politics

Friday, July 29, 2016

At Clinton Coronation, Vermont Delegates See Hope for Unity

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2016 at 12:24 PM

Hillary Clinton accepts the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday night in Philadelphia. - PAUL HEINTZ
  • Paul Heintz
  • Hillary Clinton accepts the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday night in Philadelphia.
On Tuesday night, Dottie Deans stood beside Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the stands of the Wells Fargo Center and delivered most of Vermont's votes to her "beloved" presidential candidate.

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By Thursday night, the devoted Sanders supporter and Vermont Democratic Party chair was ready to embrace newly minted nominee Hillary Clinton.

"Hallelujah!" she shouted as red, white and blue balloons settled onstage, signaling the close of the Democratic National Convention. "This is a celebration. Hillary Rodham Clinton is awesome. [Vice presidential nominee] Tim Kaine was awesome. We've got something to fight for."

Vermont delegates hold hands Thursday night during the benediction at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. - PAUL HEINTZ
  • Paul Heintz
  • Vermont delegates hold hands Thursday night during the benediction at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
In the Vermont section of the Philadelphia arena, Deans and her fellow delegates reacted to Clinton's coronation with what Burlington resident Brian Pine called "mixed emotions." Still mourning the end of the Sanders campaign, they expressed optimism that Clinton had learned from it — and would carry through on the progressive commitments she had made.

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Video: Barney Frank Still Feelin' Berned

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 7:02 PM

Former Congressman Barney Frank Thursday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia - PAUL HEINTZ
  • Paul Heintz
  • Former Congressman Barney Frank Thursday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia
Former Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank has never been a fan of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Just nine months into the Vermonter's first term in Congress, his Bay State colleague dissed him in an interview with a home-state reporter.

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"Bernie alienates his natural allies," Frank told Chris Graff, then the Associated Press' Vermont bureau chief, for a September 1991 profile. "His holier-than-thou attitude — saying in a very loud voice he is smarter than everyone else and purer than everyone else — really undercuts his effectiveness."

Frank kept up the criticism over the past year as Sanders ran for president, calling him ineffectual and unelectable. And in a brief interview with Seven Days Thursday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, he wasn't ready to let it go.

"I think his approach to how you get things done is a mistake," Frank said at the Democratic National Convention. "I did think also that his criticisms of [Democratic nominee] Hillary Clinton were much too harsh and overdone." 

The former congressman gave Sanders credit for his recent embrace of Clinton's candidacy but said the senator was "running up against his own, I think, excess."

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Protests at Philly Convention Stir Memories of 1968 Chicago

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 11:37 AM

Antiwar protesters march in advance of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Antiwar protesters march in advance of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Reporting on protests this week at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia stirred my memories of participating in protests at the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968.

This time, I was an observer on assignment for Seven Days. Back then, I was a 19-year-old activist from Fairfield University in Connecticut taking part in demonstrations sponsored by Students for a Democratic Society.

Despite profound shifts in political circumstances over the past 48 years, some strong similarities are evident between the context and content of the events in Philadelphia and Chicago.

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In both cases, Democrats were meeting to choose a candidate to succeed an incumbent Democratic president — Barack Obama now, Lyndon Johnson then. The party’s establishment was determined to nominate an experienced, moderate liberal — former senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton now, former senator and sitting vice president Hubert Humphrey then.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

After Convention Star Turn, Vermont Delegate Leaves Philly in Protest

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 9:42 PM

Sen. Bernie Sanders hugs Vermont delegate Shyla Nelson Wednesday morning in Philadelphia. - PAUL HEINTZ
  • Paul Heintz
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders hugs Vermont delegate Shyla Nelson Wednesday morning in Philadelphia.
On Tuesday afternoon, Norwich resident Shyla Nelson received a call from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). 

"He said, 'I need your help. Would you be willing to nominate me for president?'" the classical singer recalled. 

Nelson, who had traveled to Philadelphia to serve as a Vermont delegate to the Democratic National Convention, obliged. Hours later, she stood onstage at the Wells Fargo Center to formally second Sanders' presidential nomination. 

"I have never felt the Bern more than I do this moment," she told thousands of cheering Democrats. "We will never stop working for a future we believe in. We will never stop fighting for the change we need. And we will never forget the man who leads us."

The next afternoon — halfway through the convention — she was on her way home to Vermont.

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Sanders Tells Vermont Delegates Trump Is 'Disgusting'

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 12:31 PM

Sen. Bernie Sanders addresses northern New England delegates to the Democratic National Convention Wednesday morning in Philadelphia.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders addresses northern New England delegates to the Democratic National Convention Wednesday morning in Philadelphia.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) lit into Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump Wednesday morning in remarks to Democratic delegates from northern New England.

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"What we are dealing with now is something kind of unique — and I believe, quite honestly, the worst Republican candidate in the modern history of the United States of America," Sanders told a breakfast crowd at a Wyndham Garden Hotel near Philadelphia International Airport. "What makes him unique and extremely dangerous is he is a demagogue."

Sanders reminded the delegates from Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine that before Trump ran for president he repeatedly questioned whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States.

"It was about undermining the legitimacy of the first African American president in the history of our country — that he should not be president because he is African American," the senator said. "And that is disgusting. And that is the kind of person that we are running against."

Sanders made his remarks the morning after delegates to the Democratic National Convention — with an assist from Vermont — named former secretary of state Hillary Clinton their presidential nominee.

"As of yesterday, I guess, officially our campaign ended," Sanders noted during the breakfast. 

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With Assist From Sanders, Clinton Claims Democratic Nomination

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 11:41 AM

Sen. Bernie Sanders Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention - PAUL HEINTZ
  • Paul Heintz
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention
This story was first published July 26, 2016.

In a bid to unify a fractured Democratic Party, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday motioned for rival Hillary Clinton to be named its presidential nominee.

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The dramatic gesture formalized Clinton’s status as the first woman to win the nomination of a major American political party. It reframed Sanders as a team player for a party he had yet to join. And it began the reconciliation required after a long and divisive primary.

The senator from Vermont made his motion at the end of a state-by-state roll call inside Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center. One by one, party activists and elected officials from Alabama to Wyoming delivered their delegate counts — with a bit of local color.

One delegation, from the group Democrats Abroad, turned over its microphone to Sanders’ older brother, Larry, who has lived for decades in the United Kingdom.

“I want to read, before this convention, the names of our parents: Eli Sanders and Dorothy Glassberg Sanders,” he said with tears in his eyes. “They did not have easy lives and they died young. They would be immensely proud of their son and his accomplishments.”

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Bernie Sanders Appeals for Unity in Democratic Convention Address

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 1:36 AM

Sen. Bernie Sanders addresses the Democratic National Convention Monday night in Philadelphia. - PAUL HEINTZ
  • Paul Heintz
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders addresses the Democratic National Convention Monday night in Philadelphia.
In a valedictory speech Monday night at the Democratic National Convention, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) urged his most passionate supporters to close ranks behind presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. 

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"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 told a capacity crowd at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. "The choice is not even close."

It was a message some Sanderistas still weren't ready to hear. Throughout the first night of the Democratic Party confab — even during their candidate's primetime address — a small number of them jeered Clinton whenever her name was uttered. 

Sanders acknowledged their heartache and confessed that he shared it.

"I understand that many people here in this convention hall and around the country are disappointed about the final results of the nominating process," he said. "I think it's fair to say that no one is more disappointed than I. But to all of our supporters, here and around the country, I hope you take enormous pride in the historical accomplishments we have achieved."

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Sanders Backers From Vermont Join Protests at the Philly Convention

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 12:13 AM

Connor Garrett, 9, of Hamden, Conn., taking part in a march on Monday. - KEVIN J. KELLEY
  • Kevin J. Kelley
  • Connor Garrett, 9, of Hamden, Conn., taking part in a march on Monday.
Vermonters were among roughly 3,000 Bernie Sanders supporters who shouted and strutted their way down Broad Street in Philadelphia in a pair of marches on a miserably hot and humid Monday afternoon. Their destination was Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, where a second day of angry protests against Hillary Clinton’s nomination would end amid thunder, lightning and lashing rain. 
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“I wanted to be a witness to this, to be a part of this history,” said Erin Stillson-Wolf, explaining why she, her husband and their two children, ages 3 and 10, had traveled to Philly from Jonesville, Vt., in a camper van.  Bernie Sanders had inspired her to “spread some hope,” the 30-year-old mom added.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Video: Sanders Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver on Democratic Divisions

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 6:11 PM

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As he waited for a ride to Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center on Monday afternoon, Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, took a moment to discuss the start of the Democratic National Convention.

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At a rally an hour earlier, Sanders delegates had booed the senator when he uttered presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's name. But Weaver said he didn't expect the episode to repeat itself  when the convention formally began.

"There were a lot of other people besides our delegates in the room today, so it was not clear to me who it was that was doing it," Weaver said of the booing. "But I expect all of our delegates to handle themselves with decorum inside the Wells Fargo Center."

Asked whether he worried Sanders supporters would refrain from supporting Clinton, the Highgate and St. Albans native said, "No, I think people in the end will realize the danger that [Republican nominee] Donald Trump poses."

Watch the video here: 


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Sanders Delegates Boo Hillary Clinton at Philadelphia Rally

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 3:32 PM

Sen. Bernie Sanders addresses delegates Monday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. - PAUL HEINTZ
  • Paul Heintz
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders addresses delegates Monday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
At a raucous rally Monday in Philadelphia, hundreds of delegates to the Democratic National Convention booed their party's presumptive nominee.

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The moment of disunity came as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) gave a pre-convention pep talk to an electrified crowd of delegates at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. After celebrating the successes of his insurgent presidential campaign, the senator from Vermont turned his attention to the general election.

"We have got to defeat Donald Trump!" he shouted. "And we have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine!"

The crowd erupted in a chorus of boos that lasted for close to a minute. Sanders raised his right arm in an effort to quiet his most fervent supporters.

"Brothers and sisters," he started. "Brothers and sisters, this is — this is the real world that we live in. Trump is a bully and a demagogue."

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