Democratic Convention Paints All-American Image for Obama

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25 August 2008

Perhaps the most important goal Democrats have at their presidential nominating convention in the western state of Denver, Colorado is to project an all-American image for their candidate, Barack Obama. The four-night convention will give Democrats an opportunity to introduce Obama to a television audience of at least 20 million people, and they are launching an all-out effort to make Americans comfortable with a candidate who comes from a very unusual background. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel has details in this report from Denver.

Analysts say the other critical task the Democrats face here in Denver is to unite their party after the bruising primary contests between Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton.

Clinton is scheduled to address the convention and Professor Dudley of George Mason University says her speech will be critical.

"I think Obama will still have a difficult time with some of the Clinton supporters," he said. "I do not think it will be easy even with Hillary supporting Obama. I think it will be a difficult time for some of her supporters. They may never come around and if they do it still may be late in the campaign before they do."

The Democratic convention will be the first time many Americans will pay attention to the general election campaign, and surveys show the race is very close.

Democrats hope the carefully choreographed nightly programs will polish Senator Obama's image while giving him a measurable surge, or bounce, in opinion polls when he leaves Denver and focuses on the November election.