2012 Election

Patty Murray's Speech at the Democratic Convention

By Josh Feit September 5, 2012

Three things about U.S. Sen. Patty Murray's speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina tonight.

1. Taking control of  the "we built it" theme (and using it to hit back hard), Murray first documented how the government helped her struggling family—the VA, worker training, food stamps, student loans—and then delivered a rejoinder on behalf of the middle class:
That's why President Obama's fighting for an economy in which every family gets a chance to be part of a secure middle class, an economy built to last, that's built from the middle out, not the top down.

2. The line that's getting attention, though, was her reference to Mitt Romney's dog field trip fiasco.
Simply, with a Republican Congress sitting shotgun, Mitt Romney will put the middle class on the roof and take us for a long, painful ride.



3. Here's the Republicans' official response to Sen. Murray's speech from Republican National Committee spokesman Ted Kwong:
President Obama and his Democrat allies can only resort to false attacks to distract from their abysmal record that has added $5 trillion to the national debt and seen unemployment at over eight percent for over 42 months straight. Nothing the Democrats can say will change the fact that voters know they are not better off after four long years of failed policies and leadership.

I asked Kwong to elaborate on any inaccuracies in Murray's speech. He said Murray was wrong to say Romney "would end Medicare's guaranteed benefits" and pointed me to Ezra Klein's blog at the Washington Post which certainly debunks the claim.

The post, by blogger Sarah Kliff, notes that the claim is based on Rep. Paul Ryan's 2011 budget proposal, not Romey's.  And that while Romney's plan could raise costs for seniors it would not eliminate guaranteed benefits.

4. As Murray walked out onto the stage, Atlanta hip hop band Outkast was playing on the sound system. Reportedly "The Way You Move" from the "Hey Ya" album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.

Here's her speech.
As a daughter, a mother, a grandmother, and as a senator from the great state of Washington, I'm proud to be here, standing with President Barack Obama. For me—as it is for so many Americans—this election is personal. When I look at the middle-class tradition President Obama is fighting to save—the one Mitt Romney's policies would destroy—I see the very reason I'm able to stand here tonight.

When I was a teenager, my father—one of the first soldiers on the beaches of Okinawa—was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Our family relied on veterans' benefits to help provide his care, and we relied on my mom to provide for all seven of us kids. She had the chance to participate in a worker training program, and she seized the opportunity. But it wasn't easy for us to make it. For a while, we were on food stamps. And without federal student loans, my brothers and sisters and I would never have had a shot at a college degree.

Struggle and sacrifice, relentless perseverance and investment in our children's potential. That's the story of millions of American families. It's a story that President Obama understands—because it's a story he has lived. That's why President Obama's fighting for an economy in which every family gets a chance to be part of a secure middle class, an economy built to last, that's built from the middle out, not the top down.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a very different vision for our economy, and it would mean a very different future for our middle class and everyone working to get into it. To them, every problem is a nail, and the only hammer they have is cutting taxes for millionaires and billionaires. They believe in this failed approach so deeply that they'll cut anything—from student loans to health care for seniors—to give the wealthiest Americans an even bigger break.

Their plan would cut away at the foundation of our great nation. It would mean throwing in the towel on our middle class. And we are not going to let them do it. Not with President Obama in the White House. And not with a strong Democratic majority having his back in the Senate. As chairman of the D.S.C.C., it's my job to keep the Senate in Democratic hands. Why is that important? Well, listen to what a Republican Congress would do with a Republican president.

They would end Medicare's guaranteed benefits and repeal health care reform. So on day one, millions of young people on their parents' policies would lose their coverage. They would take away a woman's right to make decisions about her own pregnancy and decimate Planned Parenthood, where millions of women get basic health care services. They would sell out our middle class to cut taxes for millionaires, billionaires and big corporations. Simply, with a Republican Congress sitting shotgun, Mitt Romney will put the middle class on the roof and take us for a long, painful ride.

That's why with your help, we're going to keep our majority and keep our country moving forward! Give this president a Democratic Senate, and he can get results. He took the reins of our economy when we were losing 800,000 jobs a month and pulled us back from the edge. He brought affordable and accessible health care to millions of Americans—not because it was easy or popular, but because it was the right thing to do. He made historic investments in our nation's veterans at a time when they are too often forgotten. He stood shoulder to shoulder against Republican attacks on women's health.

So the choice in this election, and the charge for our party, is clear. Re-elect this president. Keep the Senate Democratic. And we can make sure every American family has the opportunities mine did. Republicans may have given up on our country's middle class. But President Obama never has. Senate Democrats never have. And, together, we never will. Thank you!
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