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Elizabeth Warren dances in the shadows

Posted in: Election 2012
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Did you hear Elizabeth Warren’s passionate, pointed, and populist speech to the party faithful at the Democratic convention last night? And if you did, do you remember what she said?

Warren had the good fortune to be slotted in prime TV time last night, a chance to offer her vision and rationale for running for the US Senate slot that many Democrats nationally still view as “Teddy’s seat.” But that good fortune was tinged with bad luck when her address began right at the start of the second half of the closely fought NFL season opener between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants on NBC, which also eliminated one broadcast network from showing the speech. (At least she didn’t have to worry about competing with the Red Sox game in Seattle.)

And for those who still dialed in, her words were soon lost in the wake of the stemwinder by former President Bill Clinton, whose 48-minute nomination speech of President Obama will go down as one of the most stirring and powerful political addresses ever. Warren will have to be content with YouTube views of her address, much like her declaration that “nobody got rich on their own” that went viral when she first began running.

Warren’s entrance on stage was greeted wildly by the delegates inside the Time Warner Cable Arena but they weren’t the ones she needed to reach. She had them at “hello.” Her anti-Wall Street, pro-middle class homily was tailor-made for introducing herself to a national audience and tracked the recent move by her campaign to make the race a larger issue about the Republican party rather than her individual battle against Scott Brown.

In fact, Warren mentioned GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (once) more than she referred to Brown (zero). And as a surrogate for Obama, she did a masterful job in riling up the base by lambasting Mitt Romney’s courting of corporations and top earners.

“After all, Mitt Romney’s the guy who said corporations are people,” Warren told the frenzied partisans. “No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die.

“And that matters, and that matters, because we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people.”

The Harvard professor made only passing references to the Bay State, offering a “shout out” to the delegation and relaying a couple anecdotes about people she’s met on the trail. But, again, she used those as a jab at Romney rather than a dagger for Brown.

“I talk to nurses and programmers, salespeople and firefighters -- people who bust their tails every day,” she said. “Not one of them – not one – stashes their money in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.”

The Washington Post sizes up yesterday’s winners and losers, and, yes, Warren was one of the winners. The Wall Street Journal, the newspaper of record for the folks on the receiving end of Warren’s barbs, plays up Warren in a big way: It contrasts Clinton’s performance with
Warren’s “sharp attack,” and devotes a second piece to the meat of Warren’s speech.

The Boston Herald said Warren appeared nervous at the podium of her first convention, reporting “she often stepped on her applause lines and appeared to battle dry mouth.” The tabloid also offered competing partisan takes on the speech from Warren Tolman and Rob Gray. The Herald played up the fact that she declined to meet with Native Americans to talk about the Herald focus on her alleged claim to be part Cherokee. It didn’t escape the conservative punditry either.

But as it has been at nearly every Democratic convention since 1988, when Clinton gave what felt like an interminable nomination speech for Michael Dukakis, the convention was once again the folksy Arkansan’s stage. And Warren had the tough draw to be standing in his never-ending shadow.

                                                                                                                                        --JACK SULLIVAN

BEACON HILL

The state attorney general approves a Concord bylaw banning the sale of single-serve plastic water bottles, allowing it to take effect January 1, the Lowell Sun reports.

State officials are urging the federal government to approve the Mashpee Wampanoag’s land trust application even though the tribe have yet to file all the required documents.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The Globe reports that a new audit says disgraced former Chelsea Housing Authority executive Michael McLaughlin may have misused $1.5 million intended to serve low-income residents.

Saugus selectmen explore zoning changes on Route 1 that would allow taller buildings to be built, the Item reports.

Fall River residents clean up after flash flooding, NECN reports.

A judge has rejected motions to dismiss two separate defamation suits brought by a Wareham police officer against two selectmen.

Ashby residents want a recount in a Proposition 2 1/2 override that passed by three votes.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

Gov. Deval Patrick tells ABC News that he may run for office again someday, but definitely not the presidency in 2016.

ELECTION 2012

Timothy Noah deconstructs on The New Republic site just how powerfully Bill Clinton delivered for President Obama. It’s too early to call Clinton Obama’s closer, but NPR says he came about as close as you can get. The New York Times does some fact-checking on Democratic assertions, but concludes Clinton’s claim that Democratic presidents added more jobs than their Republican counterparts over the last 51 years checks out. Greater Boston tries to answer the question: Are we better off now than four years ago? Keller@Large does a head-scratching critique of Gov. Deval Patrick’s speech at the convention. Moms grade the Ann Romney and Michelle Obama speeches. Gail Collins is a fan. The Atlantic depicts Clinton doing Obama’s dirty work.

Obama moves indoors: Only the incomparable Nate Silver could run the numbers like this on the historic threat of September thunderstorms in Charlotte between 8 and 11 pm and bring in for context some weatherology on storm patterns in Denver, where Obama spoke four years ago in an open-air stadium.

CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas writes that Gov. Deval Patrick was telling tales out of school when he claimed in his DNC speech on Tuesday that Boston’s Orchard Gardens School rocketed in less than year from one of the worst in the district to one of the best in the state. Today’s Globe gives attention to the improvements at Orchard Gardens -- while noting that Patrick’s boast “raised a few eyebrows.”  The story trots out the same stats CommonWealth reported that show how far off mark the governor was.  

A USA Today editorial argues that white “Reagan Democrats” have been left behind by the Democratic Party.

When it comes to inheriting a tough economy and having mixed success getting it back on track, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have a lot in common, reports the Globe. Princeton economist Alan Blinder argues in his Wall Street Journal op-ed column that Romney and Paul Ryan want to trade FDR for Ayn Rand.

An anonymous ransom note sent to Pricewaterhouse Coopers asks $1 million for the return of Mitt Romney’s tax records, NPR reports (via WBUR).

Rahm Emanuel leaves the Obama campaign for a job wrangling pro-Obama Super PACs.

US Rep. John Tierney, addressing the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, calls the Republican budget proposal “a bad plan,” the Salem News reports.

The National Review has the video of Democratic delegates booing God and Israel.  The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg argues that the delegates were actually booing “the ridiculous manner in which the issue was put to the convention.”

State Democratic boss John Walsh promises to try to not say dumb things, but can’t guarantee perfect results.

Yes, Howie Carr did notice Mayor Tom Menino’s DNC reference to “Martha Luther King, Jr.”

CHARITY

A study by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy finds that mutli-year grants for nonprofits during the economic downturn dropped by 37 percent but if the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is excluded, the decrease jumps to 55 percent.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Footprint Power takes on Toyota Tsusho, a Japanese company that is part of the Toyota Motors group of firms, as a partner in the development of a natural gas power plant at the site of Salem’s old coal plant, the Salem News reports.

Lawyers for New Bedford and Gloucester urge a federal appeals court to assert control over a groundfishery they say is being rapidly consolidated, the Gloucester Times reports.

EDUCATION

A Boston University report finds a “culture of sexual entitlement” exists among BU men’s ice hockey players,“ as evidenced by frequent sexual encounters with women absent an emotional relationship or on-going commitment,” AP reports (via NECN).

Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan will ask the City Council to issue a $50 million bond while also seeking funds from the state School Building Authority to renovate the Talbot Middle School and Durfee High School.

HEALTH CARE

For-profit Steward Health Care, whose aggressive expansion plans were detailed in the current issue of CommonWealth, has signed an agreement to bring on 110 health care providers who have been affiliated with Partners HealthCare System.

Governing examines the resident verification technology used by the Massachusetts Health Insurance Connector.

The Associated Press dissects the impact of the court ruling ordering a transgender inmate’s request for sex-reassignment surgery.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

The state’s district attorneys are worried about the possible effect on thousands of cases of revelations of misconduct at the state drug-testing lab.

A Plymouth mother whose 16-year-old son was shot and killed by police will appeal a federal magistrate’s ruling that cleared the officers of civil rights violations in her suit against them.

MEDIA

The Journal Register Co. files for bankruptcy for the second time in three years. The Nieman Journalism Lab examines what it means.

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