Political convention speakers play an important role in the ceremonial nomination of party presidential candidates. They are expected to highlight the principles of the party they represent, explain to a national audience whey their nominee deserves to be elected, and appeal to specific constituencies such as women and minorities voters in the upcoming election.
2012 Democratic National Convention Speakers
The Democratic National Convention is being held in early September in Charlotte, N.C. Delegates are nominating Obama for a second term in the White House. The speakers are as follows:
Julián Castro was a little-known mayor of San Antonio, Texas, who was thrust into the national spotlight during Obama's re-election campaign when the party chose to give him the responsibility of delivering the keynote address on the opening night of the Democratic National Convention.
It was the same role that thrust Obama into political stardom in 2004, when he delivered the keynote speech. Castro has been described as a "Latino Obama" who has the potential to become the first Hispanic president of the United States.
Elizabeth Warren is a Democratic candidate in one of the most closely watched political contests in the 2012 election. She is challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown for the traditionally Democratic Massachusetts seat formerly held by the late Ted Kennedy. Brown is serving his first term after his surprise victory in a 2010 special election following Kennedy death.
An expert on bankruptcy law, Warren served in the Obama administration as a special adviser to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Time Magazine has twice named her one of the Time 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Warren's speech is expected to focus on the economy.
Former President Bill Clinton has been given a speaking role at the Democratic National Convention despite his occasionally contentious relationship with Obama in 2008, when the soon-to-be president was a U.S. senator battling former First Lady and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party's nomination.
Clinton is considered the "rock star" of Democratic Party politics and remains extremely popular.
First Lady Michelle Obama will speak on the opening night of the Democratic National Convention. She also spoke at the party's 2008 convention, appealing to Democrats who supported Hillary Clinton in the party primary to line up behind Obama in the general election.
"Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she'll do everything she can to elect Barack Obama," Mrs. Obama said. "That makes two of us."
The nominees always deliver their acceptance speech at national conventions. It is typically the last speech of the event. In his 2008 acceptance speech, Obama recognized the difficult economy and ongoing wars and placed blame squarely on Republican President George W. Bush, who was finishing his second and final term in the White House.
"These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush," Obama said in 2008.
Obama's acceptance speech set the stage for a decisive victory over Republican nominee John McCain that year.
Obama will be introduced this year by Vice President Joe Biden, who also spoke in 2008.