It's National Security Night in Denver, and the Democrats are rolling out their big guns. Former President Bill Clinton speaks about 9 p.m. EST. An hour later U. S. Sen. Joe Biden delivers his speech as the nominee for vice president.
And flanking them will be talks from a few men mentioned as vice presidential candidates, Bill Richardson and Chet Edwards, one vet who ran for president - John Kerry - and a woman who served as secretary of state during the Balkans wars - Madeleine Albright.
Expect Biden to sound presidential, without sounding too presidential.
Blogging for The Atlantic, Marc Ambinder details the Delaware Democratic senator's tasks:
Tonight, Sen. Joe Biden's goal is to vouch for Obama as a commander in chief. That's going to be tough, given Biden's past insistence that Obama wasn't ready. Biden has two other jobs tonight. One - Democrats are salivating for a tough anti-McCain speech, and Biden will give it to them. But he has a very compelling life story, and one that is attractive to working class whites. He needs to find a way to merge those themes.
Somehow he failed to mention that Biden is from Scranton. That might be a first. Someone's got to invent a drinking game where you have to down a Stegmaier any time that hard-scrapple Pennsylvania city is mentioned on the floor. Or when someone uses the phrase hard-scrapple. Hillary, Bob Casey and Biden all are rooted there, which we've heard 1,000 times.
Speaking on the Journal editorial Report this weekend, Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot seemed to heard enough of of the city, which is code for the working-class white voters - read: Reagan Democrats - everyone wants to reach.
"If they mention Scranton, Pa. , one more time..." he began, but failed to finish his threat.
Let's leave it to native son Mark Jurkowitz to put this matter to rest. Writing in Real Clear Politics, he explains the political charms of the city that might as well call itself New Peoria:
With its population of socially conservative voters who tended to be Democrats by birth, Scranton has been a kind of political bellwether in national elections. But for all the city's attempts to to "get back up," as Clinton would say, no one could have envisioned its emergence as a full-blown icon in this campaign.
In an election in which economic hardship and working class anxiety are crucial issues, Scranton has somehow become a symbol of both the ills and resilience of our society as a whole. And for the candidates, a Scranton background is a badge of honor, a way of saying "I am one of you."