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Rybak apologizes to delegates on behalf of DNC over emails

PHILADELPHIA -- Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, a vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, told DFL delegates here on Tuesday that he was sorry for revelations uncovered in leaked emails that DNC leaders conspired with the campaign of Hillary Clinton over challenger Bernie Sanders. 

"I want to issue you a formal apology on behalf of the Democratic National Committee, and I want to look in the eye of every single person that believes in politics here and say your trust was violated," Rybak said. "What happened was wrong, wrong, wrong."

DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned her post Monday after emails published by Wikileaks pointed to DNC coordination with Clinton's campaign while Sanders was still in the race. 

Without naming Wasserman Schultz directly, Rybak said the change at the top was needed. He pointed out he had been a detractor for some time; last October, Rybak went public with pointed criticisms of Wasserman Schultz's leadership of the party. 

"I have felt this needed to happen for a while, to be blunt with you, and I got some grief for saying that," Rybak said. 

Minnesota's delegation to Philadelphia is well-stocked with Sanders supporters, and many were upset coming into the convention as the emails became public. That played out in a rocky start to convention proceedings Monday night, when Sanders supported booed a series of speakers. 

DFL Chairman Ken Martin said he was hopeful that Sanders' speech to close Monday night's convention, where he reaffirmed his backing for Clinton, would pull Democrats back together. Rybak, in his remarks to the DFL breakfast meeting on Tuesday morning, appeared to achieve some unity between the two candidates' factions in the DFL delegation.

"I worked for Obama and I was not a strong Hillary person," Rybak said. But he said he finally fully came around last fall while watching Clinton face down Republican members of Congress at a hearing over Benghazi. 

"There's not a man who would ever have been put through what she's been put through," Rybak said, as Clinton and Sanders supporters alike rose to their feet and applauded. "As a father who wants his daughter to be president, you're sure as hell right it matters to have a woman be president of the United States of America."

Morning Hot Dish: 'It was quite a night for Minnesota'

By J. PATRICK COOLICAN

Star Tribune staff writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Good morning.

It was quite a night for Minnesota. Al Franken was on the stage twice, including as part of a comedy duo with Sarah Silverman, a Bernie endorser, who told the “Bernie or Bust” people, “You’re being ridiculous” in an improptu moment that went viral.

That was after Franken gave a comedically inclined speech hitting Trump that had non-Minnesota DFLers in my feed saying his comedy has gone a little rusty. Pat Condon with the story.

As a bit of a comedy nerd, I feel for him. He was funny in the smaller venue of the Minnesota delegate breakfast.

Rep. Keith Ellison, a very early endorser of Sen. Bernie Sanders, introduced him. Condon with the story.

Franken and Sen. Amy Klobuchar spoke at the delegate breakfast. Condon with the trifecta! (Suddenly realizing he’s making me look bad.) Franken was better with the small audience. I can’t imagine how daunting it is to give an address to an arena, especially if it’s supposed to come off as dry wit.

Condon and I looked at how labor will play in this election, given Trump’s appeal in the Rust Belt states like Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. No doubt, Clinton has some work to do on this front.

As for the rest of the day….

Last week we heard from the assembled thousands of journalists in Cleveland that the convention was a mess -- confession: it seemed that way to me after the second night! -- and yet Donald Trump came out of it with a normal convention bounce and put himself back in the game with a speech that may have been dark and long but struck a chord with a lot of Americans.

So you might think the thousands of journalists assembled here in Philadelphia -- most of them the very same people! -- would have figured out that you have to pay attention to the stuff that matters, namely, the candidate and the people speaking on his or her behalf during the prime time network hour. (Sorry to play press critic: It’s impossible not to at these events because media are as much a part of the story as the story itself.)

That the chairwoman of the DNC was fired is interesting, as are the circumstances of her firing, and it certainly gave the cable shows plenty to talk about all day, when otherwise they would be blathering about something else. (Read this story about the extraordinary lengths the DNC goes to please rich people; warning: you’ll need a shower afterward.) The booing inside the hall and the protests outside were interesting. As was the booing during the prayer and a speech by Elijah Cummings, of all people.

But all that was happening when people with real jobs were at work or ferrying kids to band or baseball practice.

What really mattered was Michelle Obama’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton, delivered in prime time. It told an uplifting, American story that had moments of emotion that seemed genuine while playing the neat trick of serving as an attack on Trump while never mentioning him. And the person delivering it was connecting with the TV audience at home. (I know this because I came all this way to watch the first night at home. Long, boring story as to why.) Moreover, she’s broadly popular with the public and especially to the African Americans and others in the so-called Obama coalition. It will be written about and played in an endless loop.
 
Sen. Elizabeth Warren gave a cutting speech about Trump and made him furious, as evidenced by his Twitter feed. Sen. Bernie Sanders gave his well practiced (30 years!) left wing litany, but this time said he had confidence that Clinton would push that agenda. His supporters were in tears. But it was a full throated endorsement. We’ll be talking to Sanders delegates the remainder of the week to see if they’re ready to commit to Clinton.  

Re, unity, here’s Condon: I spy DFL Chair (and long held Clinton backer) Ken Martin waving a Bernie sign.

Here’s the AP’s account of the night.

While Warren and Sanders will help unite Democrats, they do not have the reach of Michelle Obama, who was going for suburban independents and soft Republicans, who, let’s remember, were the best target audience, because they are persuadable and need to be persuaded. You could hardly find a more credible endorser than Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist around presidential politics for decades. Granted, he is a #neverTrump, but he knows his stuff: It was a crafted, tested, top-tier speech delivered perfectly and gives the media their storyline of unity in PHL.

Here’s the speech, with the intro video.

Correspondence: patrick.coolican@startribune.com and Twitter: @jpcoolican.

I promise to make it into the hall tonight!

Have a great day everyone.

-- J. Patrick Coolican
 

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