DNC Kicks Off Today; McCain Takes A Break

DENVER — The Democratic National Convention begins today with an appeal to middle class voters, especially women.

Monday night’s key note address in Denver will come from Michelle Obama. Other speakers include Senators Claire McCaskill and Amy Klobuchar and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Democrats plan a video tribute to Senator Ted Kennedy, who’s battling a brain tumor. He taped a segment for the video a few weeks ago but there’s a chance he might show up.

Caroline Kennedy will introduce the tribute.

Outside the convention, the police presence is tremendous. Officers are wearing riot gear and the Pepsi Center is ringed by concrete barriers and tall, wire fences.

Daily anti-war demonstrations are planned. The first drew about a thousand people and some have been arrested.

With Barack Obama and Democrats commanding the spotlight this week, John McCain plans to keep a light campaign schedule. But he won’t be invisible.

McCain’s advisers hope to use the media focus on Obama to their advantage by painting the Democrat as an overexposed celebrity receiving fawning press coverage.

Noting that Obama will make his Denver stadium address on the 45th anniversary of Reverend Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, McCain strategist Sarah Simmons says the result will be “effusive and overwhelming press coverage” that “will undoubtedly impact the polls.”

Monday night, McCain will appear on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and later in the week will attend rallies in must-win states Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. He’s hoping for 10,000 at an Ohio rally on Friday. He’s also focusing on his choice of a runningmate.