BOSTON – Dancing and waving red-white-and-blue “Kerry” signs Thursday night, Maryland delegates to the Democratic National Convention heaped praise on presidential candidate John Kerry’s declaration that “help is on the way” and promise that he will “restore trust and credibility” to the White House.
“It was wonderful. I thought he stayed on message,” said Isiah Leggett, chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party. “He provided an excellent contrast between Democrats and the Republicans.”
Glenard S. Middleton Sr., a delegate from Baltimore, was the delegation’s most enthusiastic member, always the first to lead the delegation in standing ovations.
“Incredible,” Middleton said. “He hit all the high points,”
Dan Rupli, a Frederick County delegate, called the speech “spectacular. I did worry about it before, but he really delivered.”
Donna Cantor of St. Michael’s said: “I thought it was absolutely on point and terrific. Any doubt has been answered.”
Sen. Paul Sarbanes and some of the other top delegation officials were relatively subdued amid the controlled chaos. Rep. Christopher Van Hollen’s youngest son Alexander sat on his father’s lap holding a Kerry sign.
Before Kerry’s speech, delegate Cheryl Kagan of Rockville, wearing a green dress and a red-blue-and-silver sequined baseball cap, stood in the delegation’s second row, greeted fellow delegates.
During the post-speech celebration, Maryland delegates used their Kerry signs as bats to swat at the red-white-and-blue balloons that cascaded down from the Fleet Center rafters.
Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley stood in the aisle, shirtsleeves rolled up and clapping to the Irish rock band U2’s “Beautiful Day.”
Also contributing to this report was Katrina Altersitz, Joe Bacchus, Elisa Batista, Kathleen Cullinan, David DeGennaro, K Kaufmann, Chris Kotterman, Mary Ellen Slayter, Kaukab J. Smith, Ryan Spass and Michael Torralba.