BOSTON – They may not draw attention like Al Gore (search), Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton, but what congressional Democrats lacked in big-name quality they made up in quantity on the first day of the Democratic National Convention (search).
More than a dozen Senate and House Democrats — including Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barbara Mikulski (search) of Maryland, and Reps. James Turner of Texas and Robert Menendez of New Jersey — were featured on Monday.
Despite the convention's overwhelming focus on beating President Bush and putting Democratic Sen. John Kerry in the White House, Democrats say they're also within reach of taking control of the House and Senate. The Democrats are down only two seats in the Senate, and 22 in the House.
"We're here to win back the White House. We're here to win back the Senate and the House of Representatives," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (search) of Michigan. "And we're here to take back our country from special interests, to create good jobs, expand affordable health care for all Americans, and to win back the respect and the admiration of the rest of the world."
Many of the congressional Democrats had perfunctory roles on the first day, like House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (search) of Maryland's speech as convention parliamentarian. But others got straight down to the business of criticizing the Bush administration and the Republican Congress.
"We will improve our domestic readiness so our first responders get the training and equipment that they need," said Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif. "But one thing we will never do is sacrifice our liberty. Democrats will never surrender the freedom that generations of Americans have died defending."
The convention also planned to honor the Senate's Democratic women, with actress Glenn Close reading a special tribute to the nine sitting senators later that night.