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September 5th, 2012
06:23 AM ET

Who made the better pitch to women voters: Ann Romney or Michelle Obama? Dana Bash, Margaret Hoover and Maria Cardona break down the speeches

First Lady Michelle Obama closed the first day of the Democratic National Convention, which also included speeches from Newark Mayor Corey Booker, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a keynote address from rising Democratic star and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.

Both the First Lady and Mitt Romney's wife Ann made strong pitches to female voters, who many say could shape the election in November. Who did a better job speaking to the women of the country?

This morning on "Early Start," CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash, along with CNN contributors Margaret Hoover and Maria Cardona, compare First Lady Michelle Obama and Ann Romney's speeches.

September 4th, 2012
10:56 AM ET

VIDEO: What do Democrats need to accomplish at the convention? Margaret Hoover & Richard Socarides look at what voters want to hear

Margaret Hoover & Richard Socarides discuss what needs to do at the Democratic National Convention to sway voters.

September 4th, 2012
10:35 AM ET

Is the honeymoon over for President Obama? Sirius Radio host Jay Thomas on why it all comes down to unhappy voters staying home in November

Democrats are in Charlotte, North Carolina this week for the Democratic National Convention where party leaders will address the nation in anticipation of President Obama’s speech on Thursday night. Obama supporters are in town to hear his message and share their own.

Jay Thomas, the Emmy Award-Winning actor and host of “The Jay Thomas Show” on Sirius Radio, joins John Berman and CNN Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash on “Early Start” this morning to deliver his take.

Thomas, who is a staunch Obama supporter, agrees that the enthusiasm of the honeymoon period is over for the president. As for answering whether he is doing better now than he was four years ago, Thomas says, “I’m not doing better than I was 18 years ago, so I don’t how he answers that exactly.” But Thomas tells Berman that he likes Obama. “I don’t know that you could have done much more for these four years other than to kind of just hold everything together. And I’m hoping that the next four years, he’ll really take off."

Thomas tells Bash that this election is really tight and the president’s core needs to get excited again in order to re-elect President Obama. “If the people who were really crazy about him four years ago don’t vote, I think he’s going to lose the election,” he says.

September 4th, 2012
08:27 AM ET

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) on Democratic National Convention: Americans are going to want to move forward

The lineup for the Democratic National Convention tonight includes a highly anticipated speech from First Lady Michelle Obama and the keynote address from San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. The program also features an unveiling of the party’s 2012 platform. California Democratic Congresswoman Barbare Lee is on the Platform Committee and she comes to “Early Start” this morning to give a preview of the message she will deliver tonight.

Congresswoman Lee first tells Berman that Americans are better off now than four years ago. Four years ago, “this country was really on the brink, unfortunately, of depression,” she says. “In the last four years, while we still have a lot more work to do, the economy is beginning to turn around; the private sector is beginning to turn around.”

Congresswoman Lee also discusses the Democratic Party’s move to explicitly support same sex marriage in the party platform. Congresswoman Lee says the Democratic Party is an “inclusive party, and we believe in equal justice for everyone.” “It was the right thing to do,” she says. “And we moved forward to put it in as a historic part of our platform and I’m very proud of the Democratic Party for doing this.”

Asked whether this could hurt the campaign in the swing state of North Carolina, Congresswoman says she believes that people will realize that this is “the right thing to do, that this is equal justice under the law” and “really be fair.” “It’s about family values,” she says.

Congresswoman Lee doesn’t believe that supporting same sex marriage will cost President Obama North Carolina. “When you look at what has taken place in terms of the economy, that’s what it’s going to be about,” she says. “I think people are going to want to continue to move forward to continue to turn our economy around.”

September 4th, 2012
06:55 AM ET

Can Democrats get the love back? CNN contributor Maria Cardona on building enthusiasm at the DNC

The Democratic National Convention kicks off tonight with party leaders poised to answer the critical question posed by Republicans recently: Are Americans better off now than they were four years ago? CNN Contributor and Democrat Strategist Maria Cardona joins John Berman and CNN Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash on “Early Start” this morning to share her take on DNC.

Given that the latest Gallup poll shows Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting than Democrats at 39% to 51%, Cardona admits that “it’s going to be very challenging” for President Obama to repeat the kind of enthusiasm he had in 2008 for this election, when Democrats were more enthusiastic about voting than Republicans at 61% to 35%.

She says President Obama will use this convention to rebuild that enthusiasm. “He’s going to be talking about the context under which he accepted the role of president four years ago,” she says. “He’s going to be talking about what he’s going to be doing to continue on the path forward for the focus of middle class families.”

Cardona also responds to Bash’s question about disappointment in the president among Democrats.

“As we know, there is disappointment, but the Republicans need to be careful about one word, and that word is ‘context’,” she says. “Voters are more willing than they have been in a long time to look at this election in context, understanding what the president was handed, understanding that he got zero help from the Republicans.”

September 3rd, 2012
07:33 AM ET

DNC's Brad Woodhouse: America is 'absolutely better off' than it was four years ago, says Obama has kept his promises

With the Democratic National Convention kicking off in Charlotte, NC tomorrow, new polling numbers reveal that President Obama and Mitt Romney are still head-to head at 47% to 46%. Before the Republican National Convention last week, they were tied at 46%.

Democratic National Committee communications director Brad Woodhouse joins John Berman and CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash on “Early Start” this morning to discuss the latest polls and answer the question of the week: Are Americans better off today than they were four years ago?

“Yes, we’re absolutely better off,” he says. “You will see that this week in Charlotte. The President will talk about, and this convention will talk about, where we were, where we’ve come, and where we want to go, which is to move America forward.” “We really have moved the country forward, we have a long way to go,” he says.

Woodhouse also responds to a brand-new video released by the RNC targeting President Obama’s promises over the last four years. “The truth is, is that some of the things they pointed out there, he has done. He has made college more affordable. He’s taken out the middleman. He’s reformed the college loan system. We’ve created four and a half million jobs. He promised he would do something about healthcare, he did it. He promised he’d end the war in Iraq, he did it. He promised that given the opportunity, he’d go after Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, he did it,” Woodhouse says. “He’s kept his promises.”

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