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The 2004 Democratic National Convention
Boston was still plagued by memories of the Boston Busing Crisis in the minds of many delegates and the national press. Democratic Nominee John Kerry was seen as aloof and not approachable. The 2000 Democratic Convention lost control of the narrative creating a series of stories about “special interests.”
Obama carried the front page of every major city on Wednesday morning. Not a single national story mentioned the busing crisis. The delegates were brought to tears by the story of John Kerry and the Worcester warehouse fire.
I reorganized the speaking program for each night to showcase the “rising stars” and fresh faces of the Democratic Party. We put the lesbian Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin on stage Monday night seven weeks after the Mass Supreme Court had ruled Gay Marriage was legal. We put a little known state senator from Illinois - Barack Obama - on stage Tuesday night in prime time following Ted Kennedy’s pre-prime time remarks.
We produced an eight-minute welcome to Boston video using the historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Caribbean Festival Chair Shirley Shillingsford, Comedian Conan O’Brien and Mayor Menino among others to show what Boston in 2004 was and was not.
Working with Hollywood producer June Bealor we produced a series of videos that told deeply personal stories of relationships between John Kerry and his constituents — the most powerful was the story of the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire and his support for the firefighters and their families.