DNC Day 2 opens with changes to platform

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Harry E. Walker and Harry E. Walker | The Daily Wildcat Former President Bill Clinton speaks before the delegation on the second night at the 2012 Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena, Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Democrats sought to tamp down a pair of controversies as they gaveled open the second night of their convention Wednesday, inserting the word “God” into their platform and restating support for Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Both had been omitted from the original draft and Republicans had seized on the absence to question both the Democrats’ faith and their commitment to Israel.

The language was adopted as amendments to the party platform as the first order of Wednesday’s business, but not without controversy. It took three attempts to pass the language regarding Jerusalem and a subjective decision by the convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, to decide the change had the required support of two-thirds of the delegates. To many listeners, the voice vote seemed at least evenly divided.

The status of Jerusalem is a flash point in Israeli-Palestinian relations and also a tripwire in U.S. politics. While the city is the legal capital, it is also where Palestinians want to locate the capital of an independent state. The two sides have agreed to resolve the long-standing dispute in negotiations.

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With the amendments passed, Democrats immediately swung into the night program as President Barack Obama arrived in the convention city.

Plans for a walk-through of the outdoor Carolina Panthers football stadium were scrubbed after Obama’s Thursday night convention speech was moved because of weather.

Former President Bill Clinton’s appearance was expected to be the highlight of Wednesday night’s lengthy program. He was on hand to formally place Obama’s name in nomination, and say why he deserves four more years in the White House despite a lackluster economy.

More than 20 million jobs were created during Clinton’s eight years in office and for many his administration is shrouded in a rosy reverence, despite impeachment and other scandals.

Even at the height of those controversies, Democrats never lost their affection for Clinton, the only member of the party since Franklin Roosevelt to win two terms in the White House. He planned to formally place Obama’s name in nomination, something no ex-president has done before.

(The result of the roll call vote, officially installing Obama as the party’s November standard-bearer, is scheduled as Wednesday’s last order of business and, even though the proceedings were expected to push past midnight, the outcome is not in doubt.)

The two men were adversaries four years ago, when Obama dueled with Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a fiercely fought contest for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Since then, the two have forged a much closer alliance — no one would mistake it for personal friendship — as Mrs. Clinton joined the Obama administration as secretary of state. The ex-president has become an important fundraiser and Obama advocate.

A TV spot featuring Clinton’s endorsement has been in heavy rotation in North Carolina and was frequently seen during last week’s GOP convention in Florida; both are battleground states with a large number of the more conservative, economically hard-pressed Democrats for whom Clinton, a former Arkansas governor, has a special affinity.

Democrats, meantime, planned to continue their appeal to female and Latino voters, their main political targets at this week’s convention.

Introducing Clinton in the prime-time hour will be Elizabeth Warren, who served as a consumer affairs adviser to the White House before launching a U.S. Senate bid in Massachusetts.

Warren thrilled Democrats with a stump speech on the virtues of government spending. When Obama tried the riff, however, suggesting successful private enterprise requires public investment, Republicans seized upon his “you didn’t build that” remark as a statement showing an overweening belief in government.

Others on Wednesday night’s program include California Assembly Speaker John Perez, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the head of the Democrats’ senatorial campaign committee.


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