The inside stories behind the appearance Tuesday night of Hillary Clinton and Monday night's drama featuring Sen. Edward Kennedy and Michelle Obama. That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."
Ted Kennedy tried to get the convention off to a quick start Monday night by courageously taking the stage. As you may know, the senator has brain cancer and has been undergoing painful treatments, and sources tell "The Factor" he barely made it to Denver.
We have learned that upon landing here, Kennedy went directly to a hospital, where he was treated, and nobody knew whether he'd be strong enough to walk to the podium. He refused a wheelchair. But Kennedy did make it, and his appearance was obviously a huge morale booster for the Democratic Party.
Then came Michelle Obama. Her mandate was to come across as a regular American, a person who could live next door to you and who you would like.
So why is that important? Well, millions of Americans were offended by Mrs. Obama's "proud of her country" remark. You'll remember the controversy. Also, there is a suspicion that the Obamas are not regular folks, and that suspicion has hurt the campaign.
While some pundits say Mrs. Obama did not advance the campaign last night, "Talking Points" disagrees. All she had to do was be nice, and she was. When the kids ran out and interacted with their father, that was an American moment.
So I thought the speech was a plus for Barack Obama, even though his poll numbers continue to fall. Gallup today has McCain up by two points. That's the first time in a daily tracking poll he has passed Obama.
By the way, the big stadium speech on Thursday is a risk for Barack Obama, because once again it puts him into the messiah mode. Are regular folks going to be impressed that Barack can fill a stadium full of his followers? There is doubt. They certainly were not impressed by the exposition in Germany. In fact, that hurt Obama.
The McCain campaign is very smart. It will continue to portray Senator Obama as Moses, as the chosen one, and emphasize grandiosity. Love that word. That is an effective tactic.
As for Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton will speak here in a couple of hours. And again, that's not going to really help Barack Obama all that much, as we anticipate Sen. Clinton's speech will be about Sen. Clinton. And Wednesday, Bill Clinton's speech will be about Bill Clinton.
So let's do the math. Michelle Obama reassuring, Hillary Clinton saying she likes Barack, Bill Clinton saying God knows what. Not a lot of advancement. So it all hinges on Senator Obama himself in two days.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
As you know, a lot of Hollywood types are descending upon Denver to get a piece of the action here at the DNC. Tuesday night, actor Ben Affleck is lending his name to a charity poker event to help raise money for the Paralyzed Veterans of America group. Obviously, a very worthy endeavor. For that, Mr. Affleck is a patriot.
On the pinhead front, the very liberal filmmaker Spike Lee is also in town, and "Factor" producer Jesse Watters ran into him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSE WATTERS, "FACTOR" PRODUCER: Hey, Spike. Jesse Watters with "The O'Reilly Factor" at FOX News.
SPIKE LEE, FILMMAKER: I don't do FOX.
WATTERS: Why don't you do FOX, Spike?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
I don't do FOX? That doesn't sound grammatically correct to me, Spike, but it does sound pinheady. Does it not?