First of all, I want to congratulate the volunteers and staff of the TNDP for again exceeding expectations. After last year’s event I was wondering how they would manage to reach that high bar again.
While I generally preferred last year’s format and timing to this year’s, I also understand the technical and logistical challenges of having a sitting Vice-President at your event. Remember, I did this kind of work for over a decade. I’ve had to coordinate with scheduling offices and the Secret Service before, and while they are always professional and courteous, it can be a difficult balance to meet their needs and the needs of your event. Considering all this, I think they did a fine job of both.
Ellyn and I arrived a little late due to the early start time of the event. Congressman Lincoln Davis was speaking about retiring Congressmen Tanner and Gordon. His time at the podium was nearly over by the time we got seated, but from what I could tell he gave a rousing tribute to the retiring Congressmen. I don’t always agree with Davis’ votes, but in the several times I’ve had the opportunity to hear him speak he has a presence and command of the stage that is hard to ignore.
Next up was State Senator and 8th Congressional District candidate, Roy Herron. Herron is a consistently good speaker, and even though I’ve heard more about his old red truck more than I care to, I’m sure there were many, particularly from the middle and eastern parts of the state that haven’t heard that speech. Herron gave us five reasons to support his bid to replace retiring Congressman John Tanner. In keeping with his consistent small town preacher style, the speech was full of humor and energy.
Herron was followed by an introduction by Congressman Jim Cooper and a tribute video to Governor Phil Bredesen. Bredesen focused on the accomplishments of his administration and the need to continue and expand these policies by electing Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Mike McWherter as well as a Democratic majority in the state legislature in the fall. This was one of the better speeches I’ve heard Bredesen deliver, and was a good introduction for the next speaker, Mike McWherter.
McWherter focused on his consistent theme of attracting and keeping small businesses in the state to provide good paying jobs to Tennesseans. He took aim at the Republicans running in the race. A more thorough account of that can be read here, as well as a short video clip of the speech.
After a brief musical interlude by Grammy Award winner Rodney Crowell, former Vice-President Al Gore took the podium to introduce Vice-President Biden. Gore really set up Biden’s speech well by giving a brief overview of the indictment of the Republican leadership that held power from 2001-2008. Biden, for his part, continued this indictment and expounded on it in a way that only Biden can. I think the most powerful part of his speech was when he recounted a conversation that he and his father had before they moved to Delaware when he was a child. This conversation is being played out over and over again as people struggle to find work in an economy that has just recently started to find it’s way out of decline.
Of course the TNGOP laid out the welcome mat for Biden, as did 7th Congressional District Representative Marsha Blackburn.
Like I said, it was a nice, well organized and attended event. Kudos to all those who helped make it happen.
OK, go get you some coffee…
Tom Humphrey spent some time on the campaign trail with Mike McWherter.
Some state colleges are predicting record enrollment this fall.
The Commercial Appeal profiles the race for the 5th district of the Shelby County Commission.
Have a good day!