Convention Reactions

August 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hillary Clinton is the main speaker Tuesday night and she won the primaries in California and in most of the valley. But Obama wasn't far behind in the state.Senator Ted Kennedy's appearance was aimed at unifying the party, and rallying democrats around Obama, while Michelle Obama worked to portray him as a devoted family man, of humble beginnings.

The appearance by Kennedy, who's weakened by treatment for brain cancer, moved the crowd as he praised Obama.

Because of his health issues, Kennedy's appearance was a surprise. But the crowd had been expecting Michelle Obama, the candidate's wife.

The speech drew an enthusiastic reaction from Fannie Hayes. She was watching at Obama campaign headquarters in Fresno. "Oh yeah, I'm excited." Hayes says Michelle Obama's message was right on the mark.

"Oh, it was magnificent. She brought everything I know she's assured he will be giving our country and that's fantastic," says Hayes.

Having the party nominee's wife speak at the convention is a tradition. Started by Eleanor Roosevelt. Professor Diane Blair, of Fresno State says it's become an important part of the political process. "The spouse's role really is to serve as a kind of character witness. People feel as though they might get a better sense of who this candidate is what they're really about if they hear from the person who knows them the best. And, believe it or not I think that influences people's willingness to vote for a candidate."

That's exactly how Obama supporter Emma Harin sees it. "Having the person who loves them talk, you get the feeling for their, just how they feel about their relationship and each other. It just gives you a little more personal feeling about it I think. I think that's really important for me."

The big event of the convention comes Thursday, when Barack Obama is expected to accept his party's nomination. Obama's Fresno supporters are planning a big get together.

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