ELECTIONS

New Jersey Democrats in Charlotte Make No Apologies, Take Pride in Party’s Platform

Unlike New Jersey Republicans, who tiptoed around the planks of the national party’s platform last week, New Jersey Democrats in Charlotte are wrapping themselves in their party’s platform like a comfy blanket. Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who co-chaired the platform committee, tried to draw a contrast this morning.

“They say they’re not only against abortion but [against] abortion under any circumstances, any circumstance: rape, incest, the life of the mother,” said Booker in front of a roomful of delegates. Democrats, he says, are about the positives. “We are not about the rhetoric and the bashing and all of that. We are about ideas. We’re about principles. We are about inclusion.”

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The Democratic platform, expected to get an overwhelming thumbs up from delegates tonight, calls for marriage equality, abortion rights, affordable health care and the protection of Medicare and Medicaid. These are not new issues for Democrats. While abortion rights has been a sticking point in years past, this year’s Democrats seem intent on showing near unanimity, while making the other guys –- particularly Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan — seem like extremists for proposing draconian budget cuts.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-8) described Ryan as studious and intellectual, but dismissed the Ryan budget plan, saying it doesn’t balance the budget for 30 or 40 years. “Who the hell are they kidding?” asked Pascrell.

Democrats are counting on the public’s evolution on issues like marriage equality, which most polls show is favored by a majority of Americans. In fact, Democrats are counting on Americans being OK with more spending on social programs like health care, President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6) says, unlike some New Jersey Republicans, Jersey Democrats won’t be apologizing for their playbook, citing Medicare as an example.

“I mean Democrats have really worked hard, to not only to preserve Medicare but to actually expand benefits for seniors and to also shore up Medicare so it lasts a lot longer and the Republicans are trying to privatize it and basically destroy it in my opinion,” said Pallone.

New Jersey Democrats say they won’t have any trouble promoting their platform because, unlike their Republican counterparts, they don’t need to spend any time running away from it.

Reporting from the Democratic National Convention, David Cruz has the full story.

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