North Carolina had its day as the Democrats kicked off their convention in Charlotte Tuesday night. But Ohio and Colorado — crucial swing states in President Obama’s re-election effort — got more subtle shout-outs with a parade of speakers from both states.
The citizen speakers among them highlighted the policies and priorities Democrats hope to convey to voters: workers, service members, students and women.
Ohio — a state no Republican has won the White House without — sent four speakers to the podium Tuesday night. Besides former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, the lineup featured exactly the constituencies the campaign hopes to win in November.
First, there was Doug Stern, a firefighter who spoke about leaving the GOP after Republicans in Ohio tried to weaken public-sector unions in 2011. “The Republican Party left people like me,” Stern told the audience. “As a member of the middle class, they left me; and they certainly left me as a public employee.”
The campaign also put forward Nate Davis, a veteran who went to college on the Sept. 11 GI Bill. President Obama, Davis said, has veterans’ backs.
There was also Elaine Brye, a “military mom,” who introduced Michelle Obama. “I’m not a political person,” Brye said. “But I’m a mom, and if someone is there for my family and families like mine, then I’ll be there for them.”
Joyce Beatty, who is running for Congress in Ohio, closed out an appearance from a long line of women in the House of Representatives (and two candidates) who spoke. Beatty urged women to “unleash the power of moms in the economy.”
Colorado’s contribution to the line-up featured two Americans who said they are standing by President Obama because of his policies on education and women’s health — both areas the campaign wants to highlight this election cycle. In addition to speeches from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Rep. Jared Polis, Democrats enlisted speakers from two demographics they feel they can appeal to with the policies Obama has championed.
First, there was Ryan Case, a 28 year-old student who said that he is about to finish his college education thanks to Obama’s expansion of the Pell grant program.
Maria Ciano, a native of Aurora, Colo., said she hails from a Republican family but will vote for Obama because he supports women’s access to family planning.
Republicans “want to deny me the power to make the most personal decisions about my life,” Ciano said. “That’s not small government. That’s not the America I love.”
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.