MSNBC liveblog: Obama in St. Paul

I'm not going to lie to you, it's been a long couple of weeks at City Pages World Headquarters. The body is testing the LD-50 of Earl Grey tea. My dogs have forgotten what I look like. Every pair of pants I own is either dirty, ripped, or ripped and dirty. If I don't clean my house new forms of life may emerge and wreak a terrible vengeance.

Hence, City Pages is sending new staff writer Bradley Campbell and a couple of photographers to get a front seat at world history, while tonight I have a date with a Maytag and a laptop with streaming video.

I'll offer my perspective on MSNBC's coverage in this thread, which will be updated on occasion. Pretend I'm on-site liveblogging by checking out our photos of Obama from his trip to the Target Center in February.

7:15 p.m.: Man, that St. Paul crowd is juiced up for Amy Klobuchar. When they put her on the Jumbotron, you could tell that the Senator had a touch time hearing herself over the peoples' roars.

7:19 p.m.: Give Chris Matthews any excuse to bring up Larry Craig, and he's going to take it. Minneapolis airport bathroom jokes redux.

7:32 p.m.: Newsweek's Howard Fineman just called Hillary's campaign "Kaboobie Theater" before correcting himself and saying "Kabuki." Which is itself an inappropriate reference, but as least the malaprop will help me hit some search engines. Ah, Kaboobie.

Fineman also floats the possibility of Bill Clinton campaigning for Obama, saying Bill would likely accept if Obama asked him. Will this happen? Would it represent Obama learning from Al Gore's tragic mistake, that left us with eight years of sub-moronic gibbering?

7:38 p.m.: Trying to glean some p.r. love from the Democrats' night, the Republicans hastily throw together a speech for their nominee. Unfortunately, someone appears to have sent John McCain's dad to the stage by mistake.

McCain tries to kiss up to disgruntled Hillary voters. "As the father of three daughters, I owe her a debt for inspiring millions of women ... I'm proud to call her my friend." Then why did you call her a bitch? In public?

McCain's been in Washington for nearly 30 years and is a renowned Bush-hugger. Yet a healthy hunk of this is about everything the boy king fucked up. McCain talking about affordable health care, combating global warming, building alternative energy, responding to natural disasters? "[Americans] have a right to expect basic competence from their government." Our "disgraceful failure here in New Orleans," he references. Wow. Thus begins the long process of distancing himself from the worst president in American history.

Also, wow, do the Republicans need to work on their chanting. I couldn't tell if that was "Vote Muh-CANE" or "John Muh-CANE." At least it was better than "Mac is Back." 7:47 p.m.: Fully half of this speech is saying that he's not George W. Bush. His opposition to Bush's "mismanagement of the war in Iraq" is an applause line. In front of a Republican audience. Everyone hates this president.

Of the remaining 50 percent of his speech, 25 percent has been devoted to bashing Obama and 15 percent to sucking up to independents (a strategy doomed to failure for a Republican candidate). The remaining 10 percent has been stumbling over his own words. Get this guy a Red Bull and a speech coach, stat.

7:55 p.m.: So far McCain has hit Bush on Iraq, on federal spending, on disaster response, on basic competence, and on energy policy -- and he's the Republican candidate. Plus, he's trying (embarrassingly) to link Obama to the Bush-Cheney energy policy. How badly have Obama's "third Bush term" attacks hurt him that he's taken this tack?

7:59 p.m.: Mercifully, MSNBC cuts away from McCain's speech to announce that Obama's just received the delegates to put himself over the top. This is good for everyone, even McCain. That was a robotic sleepwalk of a speech, where the aged candidate repeatedly failed to hit the rote applause lines correctly.

8:10 p.m.: After I almost blogged about McCain's choice to speak in front of a green background earlier, Harold Ford notices the same choice. Ford says he's trying to revive his independent image, and I imagine that's right. It's not a good time to be a Republican.

8:29 p.m.: I am an unabashed Hillary Clinton apologist. I think she's ultimately a tragic figure, and think she takes a lot of unfair heat from a lot of people, and would have happily voted for her.

And yet the image of Terry McAuliffe on my screen still makes me want to punch him in the mush. I think I'd rather have virtually anyone else introduce Hillary.

8:43 p.m.: Midway through Hillary Clinton's speech, it's worth remembering the oratorical skills do not necessarily win elections. But if they did, neither Democratic candidate would have much of a contest in crushing John McCain.

8:52 p.m.: Did anyone else hear a Hillary supporter say during a lull in the speech "Don't vote for Obama," followed by everyone behind the candidate getting the Ridiculously Uncomfortable Face? Oogh.

9:00 p.m.: Looks like we reported about the 5 Clinton Concession Cocktails too early. But I think she will -- and should -- ultimately concede and be named the vice presidential nominee.

9:09 p.m.: Obama's wife just gave him a pound. I love Michelle Obama.

9:14 p.m.: He drops the "I'm the nominee" blast. Also, he's wearing a flag pin. See? Obama loves America.

Of all the things Obama does well, he does "gracious" better than anything. His oration dedicated to Hillary Clinton was rousing, poignant and seemingly heartfelt. From a pure speaking perspective, it was impressive -- and watching McCain, Hillary and Obama in a row was like watching the bronze, silver and gold medalists of speechifying, in that order. 9:39 p.m.: If that guy doesn't beat John McCain, the Republicans have found a way to rig the Diebold boxes. That's all.

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