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The Big Dog Talks

Bill Clinton formally nominated Barack Obama to be the Democratic candidate for President and praised Obama's first four years. He summarized the Republican argument as follows: "We left him a total mess, he hasn't finished cleaning it up yet, so fire him and put us back in," He said that no person, including himself, could possibly have dug out of the economic hole left by George W. Bush in 4 years. He added that if you want a "winner-take-all" country, vote Republican but if you want shared prosperity and shared responsibility, vote Democratic. Clinton spoke for a mere 50 minutes, short for him.

Clinton's speech was not overly partisan like Elizabeth Warren's (see below). He said it was important to reach out to Republicans. He approved Obama's appointing Republicans and former political rivals to the cabinet. His speech was clearly addressed to moderates and independents who liked his centrist way of governing. He deplored the idea of democracy as a blood sport.

Clinton seemed to have meant everything he said, indicating a full reconciliation with Obama, who after all, defeated his wife and himself in a nasty primary in 2008. Clinton has a good memory but apparently he concluded that it is time to bury the hatchet. Also, should Hillary Clinton change her mind and run for President in 2016--something she has repeatedly said she will not do--Bill could remind Obama in 2015 that back in 2012 when Obama needed him, he was there. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joked that it took Bill a bit longer to get over 2008 than Hillary. After all, she got a new job.

Elizabeth Warren Makes a Big Gamble

If Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren had decided to become a preacher instead of a law professor, she would have been one of the fire-and-brimstone types. The meat she threw out to the crowd was so red, it was still alive and dancing in the aisles. She said: "People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here's the painful part: They're right. The system is rigged. Look around. Oil companies guzzle down billions in subsidies. Billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries." The audience went crazy. She is the kind of populist the base wants all its leaders to be.

It was a daring speech. If she wins the Senate seat, she will immediately be in a position to be the Howard Dean of 2016, a grass roots populist with lots of support from the base. The downside from the speech is that it may not play well with moderates in the western part of Massachusetts and thus reduce her chances of winning what is a very tight Senate race.

Secret Service Investigating Alleged Theft of Romney's Tax Returns

Anonymous hackers claimed yesterday to have stolen Mitt Romney's tax returns from his accountants and said they will release them unless he pays them $1 million using bitcoins, an anonymous and untraceable Internet currency. The group said that an insider helped them get in but gave no proof that it is true. It could easily be a hoax. Nevertheless, the Secret Service is taking this seriously enough to warrant investigating.

Although the report may be a hoax, it does bring to light an important issue. If Romney is elected, it could happen during his term that somebody does hack his accountant, gets his tax returns, shows him proof of the hack, and then blackmails him. If the blackmailer asks for cash, he can pay or not, at his discretion. But what if the blackmailer wants him to sign or veto some bill, demands that a certain person be appointed to some executive or judicial position, or something else involving policy? In a sense, the public knowledge that he is vulnerable could make him a target for blackmail.

Obama's Speech Moved from Football Stadium to Basketball Arena

Originally Obama was going to give his acceptance speech in a 74,000 seat open football stadium, but the weather forecast says there could be thunderstorms and the Democrat didn't want a Biblical scene of Obama raging in the pouring rain with thunder and lightning all around. So the speech has been moved safely indoors to a 15,000-seat arena. To viewers watching on television, it won't look very different. Republicans charged that the reason for the change is that the Democrats weren't going to be able to fill all 74,000 seats.

God and Jerusalem Are Back in the Platform

Religion is never far from the surface in American politics. After Republicans pilloried Democrats for not mentioning God in their platform, they caved to the pressure and a voice vote was taken about tossing God in there somewhere. The voice vote was evenly divided more or less, so the chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hesitated and called for a second vote. Then a third vote. When all the votes seemed divided, he ruled that the ayes had it and God made a comeback, despite much grumbling from the floor.

Also added was that Democrats believe Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel. The location of the Israeli capital is a contentious subject which the Democrats don't really want to get involved in, but by leaving out a sentence about where the capital of Israel is, they leave themselves open to attacks by the Republicans that they are anti-Israel. But now that they have included it, the Republicans will simply attack by saying the Democrats don't really mean it. It might seem odd that a key issue in a U.S. presidential election is where another country's capital is, but that's the way it is.

What is Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Future?

Assuming the rest of the Democratic convention goes smoothly, everyone will thank DNC chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schulz (D-FL) for doing a great job. Then what? If Charlie Crist, who is far better known than she is, runs for governor in 2 years, that option is closed. A Senate run against the popular Marco Rubio is a possibility, but unlikely. So there has been speculation about her future. Most likely she will try to get a leadership position in the House, but there is a a lot of competition for it.