Credit: Screenshot DNC broadcast

This was the night of major Democratic players at the DNC: Barack Obama. Joe Biden. Tim Kaine. And yeah, a surprise appearance from Hillary Clinton herself. She came from backstage to embrace Obama, one day after officially receiving the nomination and one day before she’s set to address the crowd at the DNC.

Billy Penn breaks down the stories of the night in the Wells Fargo Center, the protests that got out of hand outside of it and more in the DNC Hangover.

Most notable moment

At the RNC last week, Donald Trump made a surprise appearance the first night in what felt like a professional wrestling entrance. Hillary Clinton made her surprise appearance Wednesday night, shortly after Obama told the story of his first speech at the DNC in 2004 to all his accomplishments as president and everything in between.  

Obama attacked Trump — saying he wasn’t even Republican — while professing his belief in America’s present and future. Toward the end of his speech, he recounted several different people across the country who gave him faith as an American, from a conservative in Texas who could tell he tried hard to be a good father to a small business owner in Colorado who reduced his salary so he wouldn’t have to lay off any employees.   

Time and again, you’ve picked me up,” Obama said. “I hope, sometimes, I picked you up, too. Tonight, I ask you to do for Hillary Clinton what you did for me. I ask you to carry her the same way you carried me. Because you’re who I was talking about twelve years ago, when I talked about hope – it’s been you who’ve fueled my dogged faith in our future, even when the odds are great; even when the road is long. Hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; the audacity of hope!

“America, you have vindicated that hope these past eight years.”  

Obama and Hillary hugged and chatted for several minutes. During his speech, he had given the Democratic nominee her biggest endorsement yet.

I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton,” Obama said, “to serve as President of the United States of America.”

The most Biden moments of the night

For the last several years, vice president Joe Biden has captivated audiences with his friendly humor and, more so, by producing the feeling that he could go off the tracks and say literally anything at anytime. On Wednesday, he hilariously steered the crowd to the edge of the tracks at least twice.

First, he referred to Michelle Obama as “kid”: “I don’t know where you are kid, but you are incredible….Barack and I married way up.”

Second… Malarkey! As in Trump’s claims, as in… “He is trying to tell us he cares about the middle class. Give me a break. That is a bunch of malarkey.”

The shift to Trump

  • A few speakers criticized Trump the first two nights of the DNC, but most speeches were reserved for complimenting Clinton and stressing the need for unity. That changed quite a bit on Wednesday. Here are a few of the many barbs that were thrown at Trump:
  • Michael Bloomberg: “I led a business, and I didn’t start it with a million dollar check from my father.”
  • Mike Duggan, Detroit mayor: “Unlike Donald Trump, Detroit is only going to do bankruptcy once.”
  • Bill de Blasio, New York mayor: “We know Trump is the great pretender. But how can he pretend to be for American workers?”
  • Hakeem Jeffries, representative in the U.S. House for Brooklyn and Queens: “It’s a choice between the Secretary of State and the secretary of hate.”
  • Jerry Brown, California governor: “Trump says global warming is a hoax. I say Trump is a fraud.”

The protests

Things started to get out of hand late Wednesday night during the convention. There was fire, a confrontation with police and federal arrests.

First, the arrests. The feds arrested five men and two women who were allegedly attempting to get into the secured perimeter around the Wells Fargo Center by attempting to cut through the security fence. Additionally, 35 people were taken into police custody — but apparently not arrested — for blocking an exit out of the secured perimeter.

Police also attempted to rein in protesters trying to get through a gate at Broad and Pattison. A minor confrontation ensued.

Then there was the fire. A woman stamping out an American flag caught on fire. The flames were quickly doused and the woman was treated for burns.

Wednesday night was similar to Tuesday night in that the protests became tense for a while but returned to a more orderly state, thanks to the police and to protesters who de-escalated the situation themselves. For the DNC so far, 11 total people have been arrested.

Philly and Pennsylvania shoutouts

If it were anybody but Joe Biden, a Rocky-themed entrance would’ve been a bad cliche. But it was Joe Biden. And Biden, who lives down the road in Wilmington and spends a good amount of time in Philly, pulled it off.

Aside from Mayor Jim Kenney on Monday, Philly got its most attention of the convention tonight, from former police commissioner Charles Ramsey. Ramsey referenced eight officers who died during his tenure.

I’ve mourned far too many officers killed by guns. And as a nation we’ve mourned far too many innocent people.”

Philly also got a little love from a shoutout to Congressional candidate Dwight Evans during a video about the need to elect a Democratic House this fall. A bit later, Councilwoman Helen Gym’s name appeared on the big screen as part of a segment highlighting diverse leaders.

Lee Daniels, co-creator of Empire and Philly native, said he was speaking on Hillary’s invitation, but wondered if she “really knew who I was.” He listed family members who had been incarcerated or lost their lives to gun violence. “That’s the America I know, and still I rise,” said Daniels, invoking Maya Angelou. At first it seemed like the director would be touching on mass incarceration. He did, but he really focused on gun violence.

The gun control pleas

Survivors and victims of gun violence dominated the convention for about an hour Wednesday night. Christine Leinonen opened up this theme when she told the story of her 32-year-old son, who died in the Orlando massacre. Unlike most speeches, which are sprinkled with ovations and applause, the crowd largely went silent as she called for gun control. “Christopher’s paternal grandparents met and fell in love in a Japanese internment camp,” Leinonen said to the crowd to audible gasps. Her next line would bring lots of applause, though: “So it was in his DNA that love always trumps hate.” 

“I’m glad common-sense gun policy was in place when Christopher was born, but where was that common sense the day he died?” she asked. “I never want you to ask that question.”

Philly’s former police commissioner Ramsey followed, advocating for better gun control measures to save the lives of officers and American citizens. Two survivors of the Charleston massacre were up next and then former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords. She was introduced by her husband, walked to the podium and sounded as healthy as she has in a public setting since nearly losing her life after being shot in Arizona in 2011.

Speaking is difficult for me,” she said. “But come January, I want to say these two words: ‘Madam President.’”

Other headlining speakers

Michael Bloomberg

  • General theme: Bloomberg, an independent who led New York as a Republican, was basically like, “I’m not the biggest fan of Hillary in the world, but no way can elect Trump.”
  • Memorable quote: “I’m a New Yorker, and I know a con when I see one.”

Jesse Jackson

  • General theme: Jackson contrasted with Trump with Hillary and then led the crowd in a chant for the end.
  • Memorable quote: “It’s healing time, it’s hope time, it’s Hillary time.” (Bonus: This was The Daily Show‘s Moment of Zen.

Tim Kaine

  • General theme: The biography/introduction speech. Kaine told his life story, particularly highlighting his working class upbringing, Catholic lifestyle and his experiences with Hispanic culture. As much as the Democrats wanted to give Kaine a major platform, he didn’t come close to matching Biden’s charisma or content and probably should’ve gone before the current VP. However, his dad-joke-style delivery went over well with many.
  • Memorable quote: “We should all feel the Bern and not want to get burned by the other guy.”

Martin O’Malley

  • General theme: O’Malley attacked Trump and held up Clinton as someone who he personally knew could handle what he called the toughest job in the world. And man did he have a lot of energy. His speech sounded more like a pep talk, and he danced a little jig as he left the stage.
  • Memorable quote: “It’s time to put a racist bully in his place, and a tough woman in hers.”

Celebrity sightings at the Wells Fargo Center

  • Robert Rodriguez, director of Desperado and Sin City
  • Sigourney Weaver
  • Broadway chorus including Idina Menzel, Audra MacDonald, Kristen Bell, Kristin Chenowith and many others

  • Lance Bass (shown multiple times on the big screens inside Wells Fargo)
  • Bradley Cooper

Best tweet

You knew the malarkey tweet would win.

Best .gif

Stories from Wednesday

What to expect today

4:00 PM – 6:00 PM (EDT) 

Call to Order
U.S. Representative Marcia Fudge (Ohio)

Archbishop from Greek Orthodox Church, Reverend Bernice King, Native American Gov.
Eddie Torres, Sr. Mary Scullion

Pledge of Allegiance

National Anthem
Star Swain

President of the League of Conservation Voters Gene Karpinski

Minnesota State Representative Peggy Flanagan

U.S. Representative Ted Deutch (Florida)

Former Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa

Former South Carolina State Representative Bakari Sellers

South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jamie Harrison

U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (California)


President of the Human Rights Campaign Chad Griffin

U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond (Louisiana)

Colorado House Majority Leader State Representative Crisanta DuranRemarks
U.S. Representative Gwen Moore (Wisconsin)

Tennessee State Representative Raumesh Akbari

Nevada State Senator Ruben J. Kihuen

Former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter

U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver (Missouri)

Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (New York) and LGBT rights activist Sarah McBride

Civil Rights Leader Dolores Huerta

U.S. Representative Joyce Beatty (Ohio)

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

U.S. Senate Candidate Katie McGinty (Pennsylvania)

U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth (Illinois)

6:00 – 10:00 PM (EDT)Musical Performance
Carole King

U.S. Representative James Clyburn (South Carolina)

Hillary for America Director of States and Political Engagement Marlon Marshall

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski and the Democratic Women of the Senate

Hillary for America Latino Vote Director Lorella Praeli

U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro (Texas)

Musical Performance
Sheila E + Family

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Stronger Together: An Economy That Works For All

U.S. Representative Tim Ryan (Ohio)

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper

Introduction of Speakers
Ted Danson & Mary Steenburgen

Henrietta Ivey
Henrietta is a home care worker Hillary met while campaigning in Michigan who is helping to lead the Fight for $15.

Dave Wills
Dave is an 8th grade social studies teacher in Guilford County, NC and has over $35,000 in student debt.

Beth Mathias
Beth works two jobs and her husband works the nightshift at a factory in Ohio. Hillary met Beth at a roundtable in Marion.

Jensen Walcott & Jake Reed
Jensen was fired from her job at a pizza restaurant for asking her boss why she was paid 25 cents less than her male co-worker and friend, Jake. After Jensen and Jake’s story came to light, Hillary tweeted “Good for you, Jensen. Every woman deserves equal pay, no matter what her age. Keep up the hard work—and courage!”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm

Stronger Together: Americans for Hillary

Doug Elmets
Former Reagan Administration official

Jennifer Pierotti Lim
Director of Health Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce & Co-Founder of Republican Women for Hillary

Stronger Together: Tribute to Fallen Law Enforcement Officers

Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez

Jennifer Loudon, Wayne Walker, Wayne Owens, Barbara Owens
Family members of fallen law enforcement officers

Stronger Together: An Inclusive AmericaRemarks
Reverend William Barber

Introduction of Film
Kareem Abdul-Jabaar

Khizr Khan
Khizr Khan’s son, Humayun S. M. Khan was a University of Virginia graduate and enlisted in the U.S. Army. Khan was one of 14 American Muslims who died serving the United States in the ten years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Stronger Together: Supporting Our Military

U.S. Representative Ted Lieu (California)

General John Allen (ret. USMC), former Commander, International Security Assistance Forces, and Commander, United States Forces – Afghanistan

Florent Groberg
Retired U.S. Army Captain Florent “Flo” Groberg was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s top award for valor in combat, by President Obama after serving in Afghanistan.

Chloe Grace Moretz

U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra (California)

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (Ohio)

Musical Performance
Katy Perry

10:00 – 11:00 PM (EDT)

Introduction of Hillary Clinton
Chelsea Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Reverend Bill Shillady

Mark Dent is a reporter/curator at BillyPenn. He previously worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he covered the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State football and the Penn State administration. His...