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The Candidates:
• George W. Bush
• John Kerry
• Ralph Nader
• Third Parties
Showdown States:
The Conventions:

How would you rate the Democratic National Convention?
CNN analysts offer their assessments.


Paul Begala
Political analyst
A+ A A+ A+

Tucker Carlson
Political analyst
B+ A B+ C-

Bill Schneider
Political analyst
B+ A B+ B+

Carlos Watson
Political analyst
A- B A- A-

Mo Rocca
Political satirist
E* C** D*** A****
NOTE: *E for eclectic, **C for crappy food, ***D for drawn, ****A for air conditioning needed

Paul Begala
Mission accomplished. The Democrats showed strength, they showed unity and they showed that they're more mainstream. Now the Republicans have a very, very tough act to follow.

Tucker Carlson
I think tactically, it was a brilliant convention in that it was not scary; they reassured people the Democratic Party is strong enough to run the country in the time of a war. They did that well. They didn't answer the question about Iraq; they didn't even have an argument about Iraq. That's the argument that we needed to have.

Bill Schneider
The good thing about (Kerry's) speech was it focused on an important message: unity. It was a mish-mash of ideologies. He talked about liberal programs but also about middle class tax cuts. He talked about a strong national defense but also took great exception to the war in Iraq. So it was all over the place, but the idea is it wasn't an ideological speech. The message was "I'm going to unify the country." Part of the symbol was I'm taking ideas from the left, and from the right and from the center. He also specifically accused the Republicans of dividing the country. That was the attack. He said the president is misusing the Constitution for political purposes -- meaning the ban on same-sex marriage. He said that the Attorney General doesn't uphold the Constitution . He accused the Republicans of challenging their opponents' patriotism. And he said President Bush squandered the opportunity for national unity after 9/11, and he invited him to run a unifying campaign. But his basic message was: they're dividing, we're going to unite.

Carlos Watson
Kerry's speech itself was a B+. But because the expectations were so low and the need to deliver was so high, plus with all the introductions, the movie, the "Band of Brothers" -- all that came together to make the speech an A-. In a very close election, the convention first and foremost avoided any gaps. At the same time, it introduced the ticket to the country, energized the base and addressed key issues that could affect swing voters.

Mo Rocca
The food was lousy. It was too damn hot. But the delegates walked away with a lot of energy.

• July 30: How would you rate the Democratic National Convention?
• July 29: Did Sen. John Edwards make the case?
• July 28: How would you rate Senate candidate Barack Obama's keynote address?
• July 27: How would you rate former President Bill Clinton's speech?
• July 26: How would you rate the Kerry team on convention preps?
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