But the Maryland governor's convention week got off to a rocky start on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, when he was asked if Americans were better off than they were four years ago. "No," O'Malley said, exposing a rift with Obama's campaign. O'Malley argued that the more pressing issue was that the nation is "not as well off as we were before George Bush brought us the Bush job losses, the Bush recession, the Bush deficits, the series of desert wars."
Warner, who made millions in the cellular phone industry, joked to the Florida delegation that he was the only politician who would ask them to "please leave your cellphones on" during his speech. A former Virginia governor, Warner offered a firm defense of Obama's policies and efforts to revive the economy.
"America is better off today than it was four years ago with this president," said Warner, who spoke to the Iowa delegation on Wednesday.
Klobuchar also spoke to Iowa activists on Wednesday, highlighting her close ties to her neighboring state. Asked if she was considering a future White House bid, she said, flatly, "No. I love my job right now."
After Villaraigosa wrapped up his speech to the Iowa delegation on Monday, organizers presented the mayor with a gift bag that included a map of Iowa and announced he would headline the state party's annual fundraiser, the Jefferson-Jackson dinner, next month. "I'm coming back," he beamed.
The 43-year-old Booker, a possible challenger to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in 2013, met with both the Iowa and Florida delegations, a sign of his growing national reputation. A regular on cable television and Sunday news shows, the mayor riled some Democrats in May when he criticized Obama's critique of private equity firm Bain Capital, which was co-founded by Romney.
But by Tuesday, all appeared to be forgiven. Booker, a platform co-chair, energized the arena in his address on the opening night, telling delegates, "We are a nation with liberty and justice for all," prompting chants of "USA!"
Earlier in the day, Booker wowed Florida activists despite rolling his ankle on the street outside the downtown hotel housing the delegation. Warning the delegates that "Democracy is not a spectator sport," Booker drew the audience to their feet throughout his breakfast address, prompting some women to wave their white napkins in the air in exultation. "He was so inspirational," gushed state Rep. Lori Berman after his speech.
A presidential bid for Booker may be far off but that doesn't mean people don't ask him about it. Facing TV crews from New York and New Jersey after his Florida address, one reporter asked him: "Can I turn it on you for one moment? 2013? 2016? Gubernatorial run? Presidential run? Don't give me a typical canned answer."
"My life for the next two-plus months is going to be focused on electing Barack Obama," Booker responded. "After that? Fair game. Let's talk anything you want about future elections. But right now, my heart, my soul, my passion, is re-electing the president of the United States."
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