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US Democratic Convention gets underway in Den -

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TONY JONES, PRESENTER: The political theatre sport of American politics is nearing its climax with
the opening of the Democratic Party's National Convention in Denver today. The Democrat's candidate
Barack Obama is not due at the convention for a couple of days yet, and today's star was his wife
Michelle, who made an emotional speech supporting her husband's run for the White House.

North America correspondent Mark Simkin reports from Denver.

MARK SIMKIN, REPORTER: 4,000 delegates from across America gathered for a week-long political
circus. The visitors are getting a warm welcome and one person in particular is getting a lot of
attention.

The Obama look-alike says he's from Cuba.

OBAMA LOOK-ALIKE: Who is the real Obama?

CROWD: You are the real Obama.

MARK SIMKIN: The real Barack Obama won't arrive until the middle of the week.

VOX POP 1: He's the right man at the right time. So we're very, very happy to be here and support
he and his wife.

VOX POP 2: I'm an Obama delegate, and I'm as excited as I can be.

VOX POP 3: We are real excited to unite this party.

VOX POP 4: Barack, Barack. We're ready, we're fired up.

MARK SIMKIN: Pretty excited about this historic -

VOX POP 4: Of course, of course I'm excited. This is history.

MARK SIMKIN: The delegates know Barack Obama, but many Americans don't. 10 per cent think he's
Muslim. So the Democrats dedicated the first day to his life story.

MICHELLE OBAMA, BARACK OBAMA'S WIFE: See the Barack Obama I know today is the same man I fell in
love with 19 years ago. He's the same man who drove me and our new baby daughter home from the
hospital 10 years ago this summer, inching along at a snail's pace, peering at us anxiously through
the rear view mirror, feeling the whole weight of her future in his hands.

MARK SIMKIN: The organisers used a video link with Barack Obama in Missouri to present the
potential First Family.

BARACK OBAMA'S DAUGHTER: Hi daddy!

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Michelle, you are unbelievable.

MARK SIMKIN: As the all American family.

BARACK OBAMA'S DAUGHTER: I love you daddy.

MARK SIMKIN: Politics isn't just about defining yourself; you also have to define your opponent.
The Democrats want to use the convention to tie John McCain to George W Bush, and they released a
new attack ad to make the point.

Behind the scenes there's a lot of talk about the woman Barack Obama defeated. The McCain campaign
released another TV add, this one featuring a woman who says she's a disillusioned Hillary Clinton
supporter.

(Extract, Republic Party ad)

DEBRA BARTOSHEVICH, FORMER HILLARY DELEGATE: Now, in a first for me, I'm supporting a Republican.
John McCain.

(End, extract)

HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC SENATOR: The McCain campaign is running ads trying to divide us. And
let me state what I think about their tactics, and these ads. I'm Hillary Clinton, and I do not
approve that message.

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, Senator Edward M Kennedy.

MARK SIMKIN: The emotional highlight of the night an appearance by Edward Kennedy. The 76-year-old
party luminary is battling brain cancer.

EDWARD KENNEDY, DEMOCRATIC SENATOR: The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives
on.

MARK SIMKIN: Despite all the excitement, some Democrats are nervous, they think Barack Obama should
be well ahead of John McCain, because the economy is weak, the President unpopular and the war in
Iraq is very unpopular. But according to the latest opinion polls the Democrat and the Republican
are neck and neck. The Democrats hope their choreographed convention will change that. Mark Simkin,
Lateline.