BOSTON – Monday's theme at the Democratic National Convention was "The Kerry-Edwards Plan for America's Future." FOXNews.com asked prominent convention-goers how they can convey that plan to voters.
Max Cleland, former U.S. Senator from Georgia and Vietnam Veteran: "The message will be carried by this massive historic infusion of veterans into this convention and into the political process in this country. That's what won Iowa. Of all the veterans who caucused for Kerry, a third have never caucused before. A whole third had come in because they were attracted to him and his leadership and his message.
"We're going after a million veterans for Kerry. It is a grassroots wildfire. Because Bush has been a raw deal for them and Kerry is the real deal."
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, N.Y.: "By going around the country, presenting the issues going all over the place speaking on TV and radio, outlining the plan in the acceptance speech and outlining it in the convention. Let's put it this way, it is a classic cliché [that] when an incumbent is running for re-election it is largely a referendum on the incumbent, and like most great clichés there is an element of truth to it. Most people ask themselves two questions: Do I want to re-elect the incumbent — in this case Bush. If the answer is yes, then they don't even look at the other candidate. If the answer to question is no, they ask, this guy Kerry, is he okay? Can I trust him? That's what needs to be answered now.
"The conventions are the first real opportunity for (Kerry) to come out and say this is who I am, this is my record and this is what I will do and that's why this convention is important. You start with speeches about the candidate, which much of the convention will be, there will be a video about the candidate, the candidate's acceptance speech and then you go from there. That's what the campaign is about."
Rep. Robert Menendez, N.J., chairman of the House Democratic Caucus: "I think we start off with a convention that instead of being negative is positive insofar as its vision for America's future, and communicates that to the American people. And then, it emboldens our delegates, who are our ambassadors of the Democratic Party across the landscape of this country, to ultimately be advocates of that vision, and therefore communicates it with the rest of America. We also have all of our elected officials here and they will be an enormous part of communicating this vision to the rest of America.
"So the reality is that it is going to come through a series of mediums, a series of messengers and it will have one universal theme — that the Democrats and John Kerry have a plan, to make America stronger at home; more prosperous, more secure and more respected in the world. And that plan will unfold over the next four days and continue to be carried forth over the next several months."
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, Texas, vice chair of the Congressional Black Caucus: "Americans believe we have problems and we have troubles. They feel America is troubled domestically and internationally and the best way to get it out is to say that John Kerry and John Edwards are problem-solvers, they are the fixers of America's problems and troubles. Once you convey the fact that what is wrong ... can be fixed by a more constructive policy plan and attitude, America will then gravitate to it. They are looking for and hungering for a change that is not only positive but is reconciling with the problems they face — whether it is economic, whether it is not being able to get into college, whether it is a misdirected war or investing in the infrastructure of America, we understand issues, Americans understand issues.
"So if John Kerry and John Edwards can convince Americans that they are here to fix their problems, not make more problems, then I think the message gets out that they have a plan for the 21st century."