Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi Among Others To Speak At DNC

By: Associated Press/KKTV
By: Associated Press/KKTV

Several speakers are slated to speak at the DNC this week. Here's a rundown of Monday's speakers:

MICHELLE OBAMA: The potential first lady addresses Democrats after a rocky summer as the target of conservative attacks. She was harshly criticized by Republicans for her comment that for the first time in her adult life she was proud of the United States, a comment her husband, Barack Obama, later said was merely an expression of her pride in high voter interest. The criticism of Michelle Obama led Obama earlier this year to call for opponents to "lay off my wife." In recent weeks, Michelle Obama has worked to soften her image, talking about raising two daughters in an interview in Ebony magazine and making a June appearance at an Ohio nursing home. Barack Obama's half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, and Michelle Obama's older brother, Craig Robinson, also will have roles in the convention.

HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: The nation's first female speaker of the House, Pelosi opens the convention. Pelosi has represented the San Francisco area in Congress since 1987. Since taking the gavel last year, Pelosi has steered a divided House through an economic stimulus package and opposition to many of President Bush's initiatives, including an override of Bush's veto of the 2008 farm bill. But so far she has failed to achieve a top goal since Democrats regained control of the House: halting U.S. combat missions in Iraq. The failure has led to criticism of Pelosi by liberal activists.

SEN. EDWARD M. KENNEDY: The Massachusetts senator is the subject of a five-minute recorded tribute. Diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and recently completing radiation and chemotherapy, one of the nation's best-known Democrats has been keeping a low public profile. The video tribute will be introduced by his niece, Caroline Kennedy.

FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER: The former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner from Georgia addresses Democrats on the convention's opening night. Some in the GOP see Carter's early support for Obama as an opening. Republican presidential candidate John McCain has said that if Democrats see a McCain presidency as a third term for Bush, then an Obama victory would be tantamount to a second term for Carter, who lost his 1980 re-election by a wide margin to Ronald Reagan.

SEN. CLAIRE McCASKILL: The Missouri Democrat was the first woman in the Senate to endorse Obama. She spent a week this summer on a bus tour of swing-state Missouri in support of Obama's candidacy. McCaskill endorsed Obama just after he lost New Hampshire's Democratic primary to Hillary Clinton, a politically risky move at the time.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR: Klobuchar became a prominent female supporter of Obama shortly after he carried her home state of Minnesota by a wide margin in March. In 2006, she became the first woman elected to the Senate from Minnesota.

REP. JESSE JACKSON JR.: The son of the civil rights activist has represented the Chicago area since a special election in 1995 and is a national co-chairman of Obama's presidential campaign. In 2004, Jackson was an early supporter of Sen. John Kerry for his party's presidential nomination. Party leaders say Jackson's speech will "tell Barack Obama's life story."

FORMER REP. LEE HAMILTON: Now president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Hamilton is a prominent Obama supporter from Indiana. After more than 30 years in Congress, Hamilton retired in 1999. He was a top Democrat on the Sept. 11 commission and co-chairman of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. Hamilton's April endorsement of Obama helped the candidate's camp answer the question -- "Who do you want to answer the phone at 3 a.m.?" -- posed by the Clinton campaign.

NANCY KEENAN: The president of NARAL Pro-Choice America angered some female voters in May by endorsing Obama, even though Clinton was still in the race. Keenan praised Clinton but said the group was endorsing Obama when it became clear he would win the Democratic nomination.

JERRY KELLMAN: The Chicago native hired Obama in the early 1980s as a community organizer for Chicago's Developing Communities Project and is often cited as a mentor to Obama.

TOM BALANOFF: The president of the Illinois Service Employees International Union also burnishes Obama's labor credentials. Balanoff has praised Obama's votes against trade deals such as the Central America Free Trade Agreement.

REG WEAVER: Weaver leads the nation's largest teachers' union, the National Education Association. The teachers' union did not endorse Obama until June, after Obama secured the Democratic nomination. "As long as (Clinton) was a viable candidate in the Democratic nomination process, many of our members felt a passionate need to return the loyalty she has earned over decades of support," Weaver wrote at the time.

RANDI WEINGARTEN: Weingarten is president of the American Federation of Teachers. The 1.4 million-member union endorsed Clinton last October but now backs Obama. Despite support for Obama from both teachers unions, not all educators are happy with Obama, who has spoken in favor of performance-based merit pay for individual public school teachers.

LISA MADIGAN: Illinois' attorney general has at times been mentioned as a candidate to replace Obama in the Senate for the remaining two years of his term if he wins the presidency.

DAN HYNES: Like Madigan, Illinois' comptroller has been mentioned as a possible Obama successor in the Senate. Hynes unsuccessfully challenged Obama for the 2004 Democratic Senate nomination but has since been a major Illinois supporter of Obama's.

ALEXI GIANNOULIAS: The Illinois treasurer was backed by Obama, an endorsement that helped the banking heir win his seat. In return, Giannoulias helped Obama win support among Greek voters in the Chicago area and has raised more than $250,000 for Obama.

MIGUEL DEL VALLE: Chicago's city clerk rounds out Monday's group of Illinois officials talking up the candidate from their home state.

JOHN HICKENLOOPER: Democrats salute host city Denver with a speaking slot for the city's Democratic mayor.

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