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Mission of the Delegates at the Democratic Convention

Over 4,000 Democratic delegates have come to Boston to name Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as their presidential nominee. Gwen Ifill speaks with some of the delegates about the issues they hope to express at the convention.

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    Now, what some of the delegates have on their minds as they gather here to nominate John Kerry and John Edwards. Gwen Ifill has our report. Gwen.


    Good evening, Jim. The delegates who came to this convention here in Boston may once have supported Howard Dean or Joe Lieberman or Dick Gephardt. But tonight they say they're united. They're all here to talk about health care and jobs and John Kerry.


    David McDonald how many conventions have you been to?


    Everyone since 1980.


    How does this one seem different to you?


    The hall is smaller. The delegates by and large are for the same candidate. I mean the factions are smaller. The enthusiasm level is really high. Bush has turned out, in fact, to be a great unifier in the country. He's unified just about everybody against him. And we're ready to get rid of him.


    So what are your big concerns as far as issues go?


    I think making sure that we get a positive message out that John Kerry will be a great president. I mean the country has pretty much decided Bush is a bad one as far as I can tell. But they need to know that John Kerry will be a great one and he will be.

  • BEUNIA BROWN, New York:

    I think the convention is different because we live in a very, very taxing and trying times in America at the moment. I feel that health care, a good quality education for our youth, the environment are all important issues. And that's only to list a few of the very important issues that we as America must be concerned about. I believe John Kerry is the one to bring about the change that must come for all of America.


    You didn't mention the war or terrorism.


    Oh, my God. That is so painful. When I think about Iraq and the war and all the soldiers, young men and women dying for our country, it saddens me. I believe that in this global society that we live in, I think that it's much wiser, it's safer to negotiate. We need not be in a war.


    What are the issues that really drive you?


    Two major ones. One of them is… major ones. One of them is personal. Kerry made a statement that he was going to stop so many jobs from going overseas and try to keep more jobs here in the United States. We need a lot more jobs. Example: If I may give an example is my own personal company went from 110 employees to 30 under this administration. To me, we need a change. So that's one driver.

    The other driver is I don't like the feeling of so many other countries hating our country. And right now there's a lot of hatred against the United States. And I'm hoping that Kerry and Edwards can change and have respect for the United States again.


    Has the debate changed within the Democratic Party?


    I believe that Bush shifted the discussion from health care and domestic security and job security to fear and security from al-Qaida, which I don't think people think he provided. I do not think he provided.

    I think we are more insecure because of the way he has treated our allies, because of the way he has… pre-emptive policy for other nations. And we are less secure in terms of defense and definitely less secure in terms of health insurance and jobs. That's what I think has united the Democratic Party.


    Why are you involved in politics?


    I want to make a difference. I know it sounds sort of young and idealistic but I think that if I don't get involved who will. A professor I had in college said that to me once. I really do believe it and I really do feel like young people can change the world through politics.


    Those are some of the voices from the convention floor. Jim will be talking to delegates all week long.

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