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Democrats convention mantra? All you need is love

September 09, 2012|By Alana Semuel
  • Whether talking about spouses, partners or policy, Democrats often spoke of "love" at their recent convention.
Whether talking about spouses, partners or policy, Democrats often spoke… (Justin Sullivan / Getty…)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s time to talk about love. Love among Democrats, that is.

For if the refrain from the Republican National Convention went something along the lines of “we built it,” one of the more commonly used words in the Democratic National Convention might have been “love.”

And how do the Democrats love? Let us count the ways.

There were the particularly cheesy expressions of love Thursday night, perhaps capped by Vice President Joe Biden’s very public declaration to his wife, Jill. “I don't know what I would have done, kiddo, had you on that fifth time said no,” he said about asking Jill to marry him. “I love you. You're the love of my life and the life of my love”

PHOTOS: Scenes from the DNC

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa started out his speech with a strong “Good evening. To the California delegation, I see you -- and I love you. To my children, who've been here all week, my family, I love you most of all”

Then there was First Lady Michelle Obama introducing her husband, “the love of my life -- the father of our two girls and the president of the United States of America, Barack Obama.” Two nights later the president began his speech with “Michelle, I love you so much.”

In contrast, Mitt Romney addressed his wife, Ann, in his convention speech only to tell a story. In her address, Ann Romney waited seven paragraphs to say, “I want to talk to you about the deep and abiding love I have for a man I met at a dance many years ago, and the profound love I have and I know we share for this country.” Romney running mate Paul D. Ryan didn’t express his profound love for anybody. Maybe it’s a party thing.

But at the Democratic convention, love was a many-splendored thing.

The crowd got exceptionally lovey-dovey, especially during former President Clinton’s speech, shouting “We love you, Bill!” from different parts of the Time Warner Cable Arena, while a particularly loud man in a wheelchair yelled “I love you, Michelle!” during the first lady’s speech Tuesday night.

Democrats also invoked love to talk about another issue — gay marriage — while often avoiding the words “gay” or “marriage.” (Glaring exception: actor Kal Penn, who thanked Obama for being “cool with all of us getting gay married.”)

PHOTOS: Protests of the DNC

There was Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick reminding delegates that “today in Massachusetts, you can marry whomever you love” and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel who asked: “Whose leadership, whose judgment, whose values do you want in the White House when that crisis lands like a thud on the Oval Office desk? A person who wanted to keep ‘don't ask, don't tell,’ or a president who believes that who you love should not keep you from serving the country you love?”

Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado, who is gay, praised Obama for spearheading the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban “so that no person is prevented from serving the country they love because of who they love.” Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin said Obama was standing strong to prevent violence for all, “whether you were born on a reservation or in another country and whether you love a man or a woman.”

One person who didn’t talk about his love for anybody at the convention: Bill Clinton, who used “love” only to talk about how he felt about his country. Maybe some Democrats breathed a sigh of relief.

PHOTOS: Best of the Republican, Democratic conventions

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Twitter: @alanasemuels

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