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Hits and misses from final night of the Democratic National Convention

Former Vice President Joe Biden says if he wins the presidency in November, the first thing he would do as president is implement his national strategy to combat coronavirus.

Posted: Aug 21, 2020 5:20 PM
Updated: Aug 21, 2020 5:20 PM

The Democratic National Convention is now officially over.

While former Vice President Joe Biden's acceptance speech was the centerpiece of the night, there were a slew of other speeches by Democrats with aspirations for the national stage -- including former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Below the best -- and worst -- of the final night of the Democrats' quadrennial convention.

HITS

* Joe Biden: The most essential challenge for Biden on Thursday night was to show competence, strength and readiness, having withstood months of attacks from President Donald Trump and his allies suggesting that the former vice president wasn't all there mentally. (At 78, Biden would be the oldest person ever elected to a first term as president -- taking that record from Trump.) While the start of the speech was somewhat rocky, Biden not only settled into the speech but did something I did not think he could do: He was charismatic, forceful, emotional and powerful. Anyone who watched that speech would have no doubt as to whether Biden is ready, willing and able to do the job for which he is running. But Biden did more than clear the competence hurdle. He delivered a speech aimed directly at the middle of the country, ideologically speaking. "This is not a partisan moment," Biden said in the early moments of the speech. "This is an American moment." He repeatedly appealed to the common decency, humanity and compassion of all Americans. He reminded people that we can and should be better than what divides us, that America could do anything it set its mind to. I will admit I didn't think Biden had it in him to deliver a speech that good. I was wrong.

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* Tammy Duckworth: The camera panning up from the Illinois senator's wheelchair to her artificial limbs and then to her, a wounded Iraq vet, standing to speak was pretty damn moving all on its own. Then she started speaking. And man oh man, did she lay the wood to President Donald Trump, blasting his view of the military and what patriotism means. And in her most devastating line, Duckworth said this of Trump: "We have a coward-in-chief who won't stand up to Vladimir Putin." Wowza. My guess is that speech won her some fans among rank-and-file Democrats who might have never heard of her before Thursday night.

* Cory Booker: The New Jersey senator showed in his speech why so many people believe he has what it takes to one day wind up leading (or on) a national ticket one day. His speech -- about the power of hard work and the need to work together -- was full of the sort of brimming-over optimism that is his calling card. Don't underestimate how difficult it is to bring that optimism, passion and energy when standing in a mostly empty room in New York City, with no audience or applause. I also thought Booker's self-effacing joke that his girlfriend (aka actress Rosario Dawson) liked Bernie Sanders more than him -- in a segment of former 2020 candidates he moderated -- was a nice touch.

8 takeaways from the DNC's final night

* Brayden Harrington: Maybe it's because I have a son around Brayden's age. Maybe it's because I know how hard it is to be a kid who stands out for anything. Maybe it's because I can't even imagine the bravery it takes as a 13-year-old with a stutter to stand up in front of a camera -- and knowing that tens of millions of people will see it -- and talk about a struggle you have and how you are working to overcome it. But I cried during most of his speech -- and for a while afterward. I will remember that speech for a very, very long time.

* Second-hour JLD: I wasn't a huge fan of how Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the night's moderator, handled the first hour of the convention on Thursday. (More on that below.) But I thought that when she dropped some of the jokes and talked about how Biden reached out to her after her cancer diagnosis and about why she believes so strongly in the former vice president -- she seemed on the verge of tears -- was very, very effective.

* The music: The Chicks' version of the National Anthem was stunningly good. (Though for my money, no National Anthem will ever top the one by Marvin Gaye at the 1983 NBA All Star game. I still get chills listening to that one.) And John Legend and Common (and a choir) doing "Glory?" Damn.

MISSES

* Michael Bloomberg: I have a simple question here: Why? As in, why give the former New York City mayor such a prime speaking slot? Was it the hundreds of millions he spent in a very brief run for the 2020 Democratic nomination? That they needed another rich white guy to speak? That they wanted a re-run of Bloomberg's I-used-to-be-a-Republican bit that he did four years ago at the Democratic National Convention? I am still scratching my head over this decision.

* Jon Meacham: Let me start here: I really like Meacham as a person. And I like the books he writes even more. But he sure got a lot of speaking time to wax poetic about presidential history -- especially when you consider that Democratic stars like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro got very little or no speaking time. Meacham did nothing wrong -- I enjoyed his history lesson -- but it was an odd choice from convention organizers to give him so much time to do it.

* 1st Hour JLD: Admittedly, Louis-Dreyfus was trying to do something new and unique: Not just moderate a virtual convention, but do so as a comedian telling jokes. I know I will be derided as a humorless scold, but I thought some of her jokes not only fell flat but actually detracted from important moments. The biggest example: After a video of Biden speaking movingly and effectively about his faith, JLD cracked a joke about how Biden didn't need tear gas and cops to get him to church. Like, I get it. But did we need it?

* Balloons: I mean, yeah, they're hokey. But kids love 'em. (Hell, everybody loves 'em.) And I was disappointed not to see even a modest balloon drop -- is that even a thing? -- when Biden closed the convention.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 149940

Reported Deaths: 3779
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10097104
Hinds9984199
Harrison7116110
Jackson6360119
Rankin5588103
Lee509195
Madison4799106
Forrest383186
Jones357688
Lauderdale3496147
Lafayette326051
Washington3179107
Lamar291550
Oktibbeha245462
Bolivar241384
Lowndes237364
Panola222350
Neshoba2206118
Marshall217250
Leflore205590
Pontotoc199928
Monroe198177
Sunflower191655
Lincoln190865
Warren176857
Tate169851
Union167325
Copiah164140
Pike162658
Yazoo156039
Scott154829
Itawamba152935
Pearl River152167
Alcorn151328
Coahoma150543
Simpson148353
Prentiss146230
Adams141950
Grenada140945
Leake134944
Holmes130861
George125524
Tippah125230
Covington123439
Winston122224
Hancock121139
Wayne117923
Marion116646
Attala113034
Tishomingo109442
Chickasaw107632
Newton105629
Tallahatchie97027
Clay91327
Clarke90553
Jasper82822
Stone77014
Walthall76928
Calhoun75513
Montgomery74525
Carroll72415
Lawrence71814
Smith71316
Yalobusha71327
Noxubee71017
Perry67026
Tunica61019
Greene60322
Claiborne58616
Jefferson Davis57017
Amite54014
Humphreys53619
Benton49318
Quitman4927
Webster44314
Kemper43618
Wilkinson39822
Jefferson35211
Franklin3395
Choctaw3357
Sharkey30917
Issaquena1164
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 244993

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson32314500
Mobile19859361
Madison13223148
Tuscaloosa13049154
Montgomery12342236
Shelby1031577
Baldwin873398
Lee775766
Morgan662650
Calhoun6301119
Etowah627666
Marshall627255
Houston525638
DeKalb485536
Cullman439442
Limestone425145
St. Clair419555
Lauderdale407854
Elmore406864
Walker3657111
Talladega351454
Jackson320423
Colbert311942
Blount292240
Autauga273542
Franklin252633
Coffee245415
Dale232654
Dallas226232
Chilton223438
Russell22193
Covington218934
Escambia198331
Chambers176850
Tallapoosa176391
Pike158614
Clarke158419
Marion140236
Winston133023
Lawrence127936
Pickens123518
Geneva12218
Marengo121524
Bibb117917
Barbour117310
Butler116541
Randolph102921
Cherokee102224
Hale97031
Clay91924
Fayette91616
Washington91219
Henry8546
Lowndes79929
Monroe78911
Cleburne77214
Macon73722
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69619
Perry6886
Conecuh68414
Lamar6798
Wilcox63518
Sumter58122
Greene42618
Choctaw42213
Coosa3444
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