Republicans received scrutiny at their convention for airing a humanizing video of Mitt Romney out of primetime on a night when they needed to raise the nominee’s personal favorability. But Democrats may have made a similar flub early on – relegating one of their brightest young stars to a time when very few are watching on television.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker, presenting the Democratic platform, finished his speech around 6:10 p.m. at a time when the only place to catch him was on C-SPAN. But as he left the stage, he was surrounded by loud cheers and chants of “Cory! Cory!” – as if he was the star of the show.
It’s the equivalent of putting a hit television sitcom on a Friday night, when all the key viewers are out on the town.
Booker received national attention when, earlier this year, he critiqued President Obama’s campaign for employing an overly negative strategy against Mitt Romney’s private equity record on NBC’s Meet the Press. Since then, he’s been a much lower-profile surrogate for the White House, and didn’t get to speak in primetime this year.
His speech in Charlotte was fiery and laced with red meat against Republicans, accusing them of favoring the rich at the expense of the middle class. "Being asked to pay your fair share in taxes is not class warfare. It's patriotism,” Booker roared, to loud cheers of “USA, USA!”
Instead of Booker, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley – who stumbled on Sunday by saying the country was not better off than four years ago -- was kicking off the 10:00 hour aired on all broadcast networks. Next up was a mayor whose profile has been much lower than Booker’s -- San Antonio’s Julián Castro, who is delivering the keynote address.
Booker’s speech came well before a slate of much lower-profile figures, including Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, independent Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, and even actor Kal Penn, who was scheduled in the 9:00 hour.