The Democratic Party's National Convention opens later on Monday in Denver, Colorado -- where the first-ever African-American candidate
will accept his party's nomination for president of the United States.
The convention consists of four days of rallies, speeches and meetings,
capped by Thursday's acceptance speech by Illinois Senator Barack
Obama. The Republican Party holds its national convention next week.
The conventions mark the official start of campaigning for the general
Obama campaigned Sunday in Wisconsin, where he attended a cookout and
criticized the Republican candidate, Senator John McCain, saying he is
out of touch with average citizens.
McCain had no public appearances Sunday, but his campaign released two new advertisements critical of Obama.
One of the ads included Obama's newly-named running mate, Senator
Joseph Biden. The commercial contained previous remarks by Biden saying
Obama is not ready to be president. At the time he made the remarks,
Biden was also running for his party's 2008 presidential nomination.
Another McCain campaign ad says Obama passed over his former Democratic
rival, Senator Hillary Clinton, for vice president because she pointed
out Obama's flaws during the Democratic primary race.
Democratic Party officials are trying to downplay any lingering tension
between Obama and Clinton supporters. News reports say Clinton intends
to gather her delegates Wednesday and release them to support Obama.
Separately, Democratic Party officials on Sunday restored full voting
rights to delegates from the states of Michigan and Florida. The two
states were stripped of their voting rights at the convention as
punishment for holding primary elections before they were allowed by
Obama asked that the delegations be restored as a show of unity and as
a gesture to Clinton supporters. Clinton received more votes in
Michigan and Florida. Obama removed his name from the Michigan ballot.
Neither candidate campaigned in Florida in advance of that state's