Eighth District City Councilwoman called NewsWorks on Thursday morning from Charlotte, NC, where she is among many City Hall Democrats attending their party’s national convention.
Less than 12 hours after former President Bill Clinton rallied the base and nominated Barack Obama as the party’s candidate for re-election, Bass answered six questions about what’s been going on, and what she expects from tonight’s convention finale.
NewsWorks: Former President Clinton seemed to bring the house down last night. What is the most important takeaway from his speech that you’ll bring back to the Eighth District?
Cindy Bass: “The most important message, the theme from last night, is that this is a shared society that we have. It’s about shared opportunities, responsibilities, and that we are all in this together.
“That resonates for many reasons, but it’s a message that already connects with voters in the Eighth District. It was a message that hopefully connects with people outside the district, the city, the commonwealth. … For the larger audience, it needs to be reiterated over and over again.
“I didn’t hear that last week [from the RNC Convention]; I heard ‘you’re on your own, less government.’ Well, I don’t want more government either. But, that message charged up a base that was already charged up from [First Lady] Michelle Obama [who spoke on Tuesday night].”
NW: What will Obama have to do to top the speeches by his wife and Clinton?
CB: “It’s not about topping them. He has to talk about his record, what he’s done. President Clinton did an excellent job setting the record straight. I don’t want to say what the other party is telling are lies, but a lot of [their] information is absolutely incorrect. We want to make sure people are able to make informed, intelligent decisions.
“He’ll talk about his record. This is a job interview; it’s up to him to interview with the American people. But, people should remember what Republicans have done and what they haven’t done. President Obama is running on his record, but the Republicans have a record as well. They have been in office with the President for three-and-a-half years blocking pretty much anything he has tried to do. They’re not supportive. They’re not offering alternatives. We need to recognize that.”
NW: How are these conventions more than just partisan pep rallies?
CB: “If you’re an undecided voter, you can get facts [from watching the conventions] to make a decision. This connects with undecided voters and soft supporters, those people who may be not so happy with some decisions over four years. It’s impossible to make everyone happy all the time.”
NW: Voter ID is a big issue in your district, in Germantown specifically, but beyond as well. Has it come up in conversation in Charlotte?
CB: “People are really outraged. In Charlotte, we hear it everywhere we go. While it seems like [Northwest Philadelphia] is the epicenter of the conversation, we’re talking to other delegates from other delegations. Why would anybody support a party that’s blatantly trying to steal an election? That’s clearly what they’re doing.
“I’m optimistic, though, that we have gotten enough information out, and people have an understanding, that they’ll have access to ballot unfettered.”
NW: Mayor Nutter is speaking tonight. Any idea of what he’ll bring to the podium?
CB: “I think the Mayor will talk about why re-electing President Obama is important to cities like Philadelphia, and send a strong message about the impact of cities, and how they connect, to other areas whether rural or suburban. We’re all connected; we need your help and support; just because we’re in the cities doesn’t mean we don’t want to be connected. It’s important that we all understand everyone’s plight.
“This convention was really well thought out, the themes and the order in which they come, planning for message, the speeches, what is in the speeches, it’s all well thought out. [The timing of coming after Clinton’s cooperative theme] is not a coincidence.”
NW: The chatter here at home is that Mayor Nutter in line for some sort of cabinet position if the President wins re-election, thus making Council President Darrell Clarke the mayor. What’s your take on that hypothetical?
CB: “You hear so many rumors, and I have heard that one. Whatever our mayor chooses to do, I think he’ll do a good job. And, Council President Clarke has been an excellent leader for nine months in City Council. I’d be very supportive of him [in that role] based on that leadership, but I try not to speculate about rumors.”