CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Democratic National Convention kicks off here Tuesday, and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., will be among the speakers who take the stage this week to make a case for re-electing President Obama.
Murray stopped by the Washington delegation’s 7 a.m. breakfast to offer a preview of what her Wednesday speech may sound like: part condemnation of Republican budget-cutting plans, part personal biography, and part full-throated defense of the federal government’s ability to help the middle class.
Murray said she’d watched “as much as I could stomach” of the GOP convention last week. “And I just kept thinking: What are they talking about?”
As Democrats have been eager to do throughout this election season, Murray reminded everyone of the economic devastation that Obama inherited from former President George W. Bush. She offered no specific policy agenda for an Obama second term, except to argue it would prevent the country from backsliding under GOP control.
“We are working our way back every day from the policies that those guys put in place. Who was it that sent us to two wars without paying for it? Who let Wall Street get away with murder? Who was the person who said debt doesn’t matter? And they want the keys back to the car? I say ‘no way’,” Murray said, drawing cheers from the Washington delegates.
Murray bashed Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan for his budget plan, saying it would choke important government services that her family and many others have relied on.
Murray said she’ll be talking about her own family’s struggles during her speech — scheduled for Wednesday around 6 p.m. Eastern (3 p.m. Pacific).
She recounted the story of her father, a World War II veteran who could not work after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. With seven kids in the family, Murray said, the federal government helped pull them through.
“How did we make it back? How am I standing here in front of you? Because we had a federal government who believed in student loans, and we had a federal government that made sure that my dad, who was a World War II veteran, had veterans’ benefits when when we needed it. Because my mom got job training. Those were investments in my family that made sure the middle class across this country had the opportunities they have today. That’s what we as Democrats believe in … not the Ryan budget that decimates that. We do not want that for this country.”
“So, yeah, this election is personal to me. It’s personal to me and my family and all of you and we have got to work our tails off ’til November.”
Democrats later today are expected to vote for a platform that focuses on fixing the economy, but also includes statements of support for abortion rights and same-sex marriage. You can read the platform here.
I’ll be reporting from Charlotte throughout the week. For additional updates, follow me on Twitter.