July 25, 2014
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On Thursday evening, First Lady Michelle Obama encouraged Democratic donors at a fundraiser in Chicago to spend big on Democratic candidates in the midterm elections. At the same event she used the bully pulpit to decry Republicans' use of large donations in previous election cycles, remarking:

So, yeah, there's too much money in politics. There's special interests that have too much influence. But they had all that money and all that influence back in 2008 and 2012 and we still won those elections.

The first lady also said:

There is something you can do right now today to make a difference, and that is to write a big, fat check. I kid you not. I'm going to be honest with you. That's what we need you to do right now. We need you to write the biggest, fattest check that you can possibly write. Bonnie Kristian

11:25 p.m. ET

As the Democratic National Convention recounted President Obama's victories in office Wednesday night, one obstacle overcome was a little surprising: Rahm Emanuel. In the video introduction to the president's address, Rahm — formerly Obama's chief of staff and now mayor of Chicago — was shown trying to get in the way of Obama's signature health care bill becoming law. A voiceover said Emanuel argued the Affordable Care Act might threaten Obama's chances at reelection in 2012, but that the president selflessly overruled him. Emanuel ended up getting proven wrong — and, it seems, Obama wanted to remind him of that one last time. Becca Stanek

11:06 p.m. ET

Unless you're one of his three children, Tim Kaine is not your dad — but he might as well be.

Hillary Clinton's mild-mannered running mate is the calm in the storm that is the 2016 election. During his speech at the Democratic National Convention, he was even-tempered, spoke with joy when talking about his family, and even when he got riled up and did an impression of Donald Trump, it made the Republican presidential nominee seem almost (key word: almost) chill. It wasn't difficult to imagine Kaine slipping into the role of your father, telling you he just wants the best for you, that he's proud of you no matter what, and of course he's happy to give you a ride to soccer practice — go get 'em, tiger! Twitter agreed: Catherine Garcia

10:49 p.m. ET
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After formally accepting the Democratic Party's vice presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) made the case for why he trusts Hillary Clinton. "First, she's consistent," Kaine said, addressing the convention for the first. "She battled to put kids and families first since she was a teenager."

Kaine doubled down on that point, saying he would trust Clinton with the life of his son, who was just deployed overseas as a Marine. "You know who I don't trust? I wonder," Kaine said, before doing a quick imitation of Donald Trump:

While Clinton has a passion for "kids and families," Kaine said, Trump only has a passion for "himself." "Folks, you cannot believe one word that comes out of Donald Trump's mouth," he said. "Not one word." Becca Stanek

10:03 p.m. ET

Former New York City Mayor and Independent Michael Bloomberg appealed to Republicans and centrists to back Hillary Clinton in his speech Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention. "Whatever our disagreements may be, we must put them aside for the good of our country," Bloomberg said, calling Clinton "the candidate who can defeat a dangerous demagogue."

While Bloomberg said he, too, knows "what it's like to have neither party represent my views or values" and certainly didn't shy away from acknowledging his disagreements with Clinton, he said what is most important is electing a "sane, competent person."

"Join with me not out of party loyalty but out of love of country," Bloomberg said. "Your votes matter now." Becca Stanek

10:00 p.m. ET
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Vice President Joe Biden is confident that the United States is on the right path, but the "threats are too great" and the "times are too uncertain" for Donald Trump to ever come close to the Oval Office.

"His cynicism is unbounded and his lack of empathy and compassion can be summed up in a phrase I suspect he is most proud of making famous: 'You're fired,'" Biden said. "He's trying to tell us he cares about the middle class? Give me a break, that's a bunch of malarky!" Trump "doesn't have a clue about the middle class," Biden continued. "He has no clue about what makes America great. Actually, he has no clue, period." The audience, thrilled by Biden's words, began to chant, "Not a clue! Not a clue!"

Biden was just getting warmed up. "No major party nominee in the history of this nation has ever known less or has been less prepared to deal with our national security," he said. "We cannot elect a man who exploits our fears of ISIS and other terrorists, who has no plan whatsoever to make us safer. A man who embraces the tactics of our enemies: Torture, religious intolerance."

It wasn't all doom and gloom. Biden began his speech by calling Obama "one of the finest presidents we've ever had," and received a standing ovation when he mentioned his late son, Beau Biden, who died from cancer in 2015. He shared details about his personal relationship with Hillary Clinton, and what having a woman president would mean for his daughter and granddaughters. Biden ended his speech on a rah-rah note, saying that it's "never been a good bet to bet against America" and the country can get through anything. "We endure, we overcome, and we always move forward. That why I can say with absolute conviction I am more optimistic about our chances today than when I was a 29-year-old kid in the Senate. The 21st century is going to be the American century, because we lead not only by example of our power but by the power of our example. … God willing, Hillary will write the next chapter of our journey." Catherine Garcia

9:52 p.m. ET
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In a speech Wednesday before the Democratic National Convention, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg repeatedly insinuated that Democrats have some bad ideas, saying "I don't believe either party has a monopoly on good ideas or strong leadership...I look at the candidate, not the party label."

The idea, presumably, is to get some crossover support from Republicans disgusted by Donald Trump. But Bloomberg is a questionable choice for this role. A recent poll — ironically conducted by Bloomberg, his own publication — found a mere 9 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of the former mayor. Democrats were only slightly better disposed, with a 17 percent favorable view. Ouch. Ryan Cooper

9:32 p.m. ET
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Former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta fought through chants from protesters to take down Donald Trump in his Wednesday night address to the Democratic National Convention. As the crowd chanted "No more war," Panetta made the case for why — especially now, as America "faces flashpoints and threats from around the globe" — Trump cannot become the next commander-in-chief. "In an unstable world, we cannot afford unstable leadership," Panetta said, pointing out that Trump "says he gets his foreign policy experience from watching TV and running the Miss Universe Pageant."

Panetta also tore into Trump for taking "Russia's side" Wednesday amid the Democratic National Committee email hack investigation by asking the country to hack into Hillary Clinton's email and, essentially, "interfere in American politics." "It is inconceivable to me that any presidential candidate would be that irresponsible," Panetta said.

Catch a moment of the speech below. Becca Stanek

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