Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rockefeller Confident Obama Can Win WV

Updated with link to video of DNC interview.

I had a great thrill last night during the Democratic National Convention. I was granted access to stand backstage at the podium during Senator Jay Rockefeller's address to the convention.

RockefellerFollowing his speech, as Melissa Etheridge rocked out in the background, I asked the Senator what the Obama campaign needed to do to win West Virginia and other parts of Appalachia.

Rockefeller explained he felt Obama would succeed in WV after West Virginians get to know him.

He referred to his own experience where it took some time before he was embraced as one of us.

Rockefeller cited his electoral defeat to Arch Moore in the 1972 Gubernatorial election as "the best thing that ever happened to me."

Following that election, Rockefeller got to know West Virginia better and reached out even more to West Virginians until being elected Governor in 1976 and reelected in 1980 and entering the U.S. Senate in 1984.

Rockefeller commented "once they get to know you" then West Virginians are very loyal and strong supporters who stand by your side.

He said he fully expected WV to support Obama in the general election after folks got to know Obama better, and still more after they learned about what a John McCain administration would mean for WV.

I shared with him the news that during the roll call of states, WV's delegation was prepared to vote with 37 delegates for Obama and 2 delegates for Clinton when Sen. Clinton moved to nominate Obama as President by acclimation.

Rockefeller was noticeably pleased that the delegation had shown their support of the ticket after voting overwhelmingly for Clinton in the primary. Rockefeller said that development confirmed his confidence in how much West Virginia would rally behind the ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden on election day.

I didn't think to ask Rockefeller about his comment on "Clean Coal" during a national security speech, but it was still a surreal experience to be at the podium and have a conversation with him.

UPDATE: The DNC has posted a video of their interview with Senator Rockefeller, which was conducted at the same time that I spoke with him at the podium. (You can't see me, but I am standing to the left of the camera.)

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