4:00 PM PT: Welcome to the first night of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. We're just entering the evening portion of today's program (available here) and we'll be covering it until the gavel falls later tonight. You can watch the live video here and join us for the conversation throughout the night.
4:02 PM PT: Tim Kaine is at the podium now—the big headliner tonight is of course First Lady Michelle Obama. She'll speak during the 10:00 PM ET hour—probably around half-past the hour.
4:02 PM PT: Following Kaine, the Mayor of Charlotte, Anthony R. Foxx, will speak. After that: the Honey Badger himself, Harry Reid.
4:07 PM PT: Speaking before the first lady is keynote speaker Julián Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, Texas. He'll be introduced by his brother Joaquin Castro, probably around the start of the 10:00 PM ET hour.
4:08 PM PT: The Honey Badger takes the stage.
4:09 PM PT: In the first two or three minutes of his speech, Harry Reid mentions President Obama by name 7 times. That's the same number of times GOP keynote speaker Chris Christie mentioned Mitt Romney—in his entire speech.
4:13 PM PT: Haha, and here's another thing he is talking about more than Chris Christie: Mitt Romney's tax returns. We know he paid less than many average Americans, Reid says. Who knows what secrets would be revealed if Romney revealed 12 full years, Reid says. "He says trust us?" Reid asks. "Trust comes from transparency."
4:17 PM PT: Okay, as much as I've been loving Harry Reid lately, I'll be the first to admit his style of speaking is particularly well suited to the senate floor. But the substance was pretty good—and while I didn't count every mention, I think he probably had about three times as many mentions of President Obama as Chris Christie had of Mitt Romney. And Reid's speech was less than one-third as long.
4:18 PM PT: Another reference point: Mitch McConnell mentioned Mitt Romney by name just six times last week. So Reid mentioned Obama more than McConnell and Christie combined.
4:19 PM PT: Minority Leader—and former and future Speaker—Nancy Pelosi takes the stage with dozens of female members of Congress.
4:23 PM PT: Rep. Carolyn Maloney talks about birth control as being what it is: a health care issue. What a relief from last week when birth control somehow became an issue of religious freedom—and even worse, an issue that Republicans pretended had nothing to do with women. "The Democratic women of the house are committed to women's health and moving forward with President Obama," concludes Maloney.
4:28 PM PT: I'm pretty sure with these Democratic Women of the House speeches alone we're seeing more female elected representatives than the GOP had in its entire convention.
4:31 PM PT: Tulsi Gabbard, a female Congressional candidate in Hawaii who served as a captain in the Army National Guard who served in Iraq and then Kuwait, delivers a twin shock for Republicans: Hawaii is part of the U.S.A. ... and women can serve in the military.4:32 PM PT: