‘Meet Obama’ is first convention goal

DENVER — Day One of the Democratic National Convention is themed “One Nation” but could just as easily be called “Meet Barack Obama.” The speakers — including Obama’s half sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, and his wife, Michelle — will seek to not only introduce Obama to voters but also cast his life story as uniquely American.

Daily television coverage during the convention varies widely. Most networks are scheduled to begin their coverage at anywhere from 2 to 7 p.m. PDT, but many cable news channels plan day and night coverage.

Here are the key moments to tune in for:

Nancy Pelosi: For Pelosi, the speaker of the House, her speech tonight will be a celebration of how far congressional Democrats have come since 2004. The party controls the House and Senate, and is almost certain to expand its majorities in November.

Jim Leach: Turnabout is fair play. After Republicans announced that Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., would address the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Democrats decided to roll out Leach, a former Republican congressman from Iowa, as one of tonight’s featured speakers. Leach served in Congress for 30 years before losing his Democratic-leaning district to a virtual unknown, Democrat Dave Loebsack, in 2006.

Interest groups: Obama regularly derides influence peddlers and special interest groups while on the campaign trail. But at the party’s national convention, these groups will have their say, albeit on the first night of the festivities. Representatives for NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of Teachers will address the delegates tonight.

Craig Robinson: Obama’s brother-in-law is the newly installed head basketball coach at Oregon State University. Will he map out the X’s and O’s to guide the senator from Illinois to the presidential nomination?

Caroline Kennedy: In paying tribute to her uncle, Sen. Ted Kennedy (Mass.), the former Obama vice presidential vetter will also provide a tangible link between Obama and the most storied family in Democratic politics.

Michelle Obama: The candidate’s wife will have to execute a high-wire act in her address. She must make the case for why her husband is ready and able to be president. And she must stay away from the overly adulatory language that got her into trouble in February.

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