The 7:00 am Illinois delegation breakfast came really early in Charlotte this morning.
I got to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s party just after midnight, just as he and his wife Amy Rule were arriving. The mayor and his family didn't stay long. They were heading back to Chicago, courtesy of mayoral friend and millionaire hedge fund manager Michael Sacks’ private plane. The party was still going strong when I bailed at 1:00 am for the 45-minute ride to my hotel.
It was easy to see why there were lots of red eyes at the morning breakfast, but the seats were pretty well filled. Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa (yes, the son of) woke up the delegates when he bellowed: “We're gonna kick their ass in Michigan.”
Though the Rev. Jesse Jackson brought the excitement level back down with the line: “Illinois is a swing state.” Jackson reminded delegates that Democrats had lost the Senate race in 2010, and warned them not to take the state for granted for President Obama.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle told me she thought Jackson was going a little overboard but says she is concerned about the congressional races.
Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon got her first chance to address the delegates and urged them to get out and start knocking on doors. After two days at the convention, Simon says she’s no longer worried about an enthusiasm gap with Obama supporters.
The breakfast ended around 9:30 am with some delegates hoping to get in a nap before Thursday’s final big event: President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech.