Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA's Becerra in Kentucky for VP debate

Kitty Felde/KPCC

L.A. Democratic Congressman Xavier Becerra will be on hand as an official party surrogate at Thursday's VP debate.

Joe Biden and Paul Ryan are in Danville, Kentucky for this year’s only Vice Presidential debate. A Southern California Congressman is also on hand to offer his party’s take on the performance.

For reporters covering a debate, the action begins after the two candidates have shaken hands and God blessed America. A room adjacent to the debate hall is filled with prominent Democrats and Republicans waiting to give their take on the night’s events.

Democratic Congressman Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles is one of those folks in Kentucky. He says obviously the candidates can’t be out there to respond to everyone, so they ask people like him to be on site and play Spin the Press.

Becerra says surrogates get a summary of some of the issues that are likely to come up in the debate and statements the candidate has made in the past. But he says he doesn’t need a list of talking points: "I’ve been around just long enough that I know most of these issues well enough that I usually can express myself with my own words without having to rely on someone else trying to feed me them."

Becerra says he expects to spend quite a bit of time speaking with Spanish-language media covering the debate. 

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Xavier Becerra, bumped from Tuesday, takes the stage at DNC

Kitty Felde/KPCC

L.A. Congressman Xavier Becerra's DNC speech was bumped from Tuesday to Thursday night.

L.A. Congressman Xavier Becerra finally got his moment in the spotlight Thursday night, standing center stage at the Democratic National Convention. His task: talk about the American Dream.

Becerra is the right-hand man to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. He's asked to carry water for the party on Capitol Hill — briefing reporters, repeating the company line, being the nice guy when Pelosi is the tough cop. This was supposed to be his reward.

The Democratic Party rewarded Becerra by bumping him from Tuesday's schedule. They did move him to the night President Obama would speak. But then they stuck Becerra between Caroline Kennedy, the crown princess of Camelot, and the highly energetic former Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm. And his speech was shown on neither CNN nor MSNBC.

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Xavier Becerra gets bumped from Tuesday night DNC lineup — to primetime

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Kris Connor/Getty Images

Becerra's speech was bumped Tuesday night, but there appears to be a happy ending.

They bumped Congressman Xavier Becerra's speech Tuesday night, but there appears to be a happy ending.

The L.A. Democrat was scheduled to speak just before 9 p.m. (Eastern time), but — Democrats being Democrats — they were running late.  And suddenly Becerra disappeared from the schedule.  They skipped him.

Becerra was asked to be the good soldier and sit down tonight.  This from a Democratic official:

“Due to the overwhelming enthusiasm in the arena and extended applauses, Rep. Becerra generously agreed to move his speech to Thursday.”

There's a silver lining to the rainy day story. Becerra's speech has been rescheduled to the night most Americans watch a convention: the night the President speaks, Thursday night. 

Another Democratic Latino in the spotlight.

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Baseball and politics: Trash talking about Dodgers-Giants at the DNC

Dodger Stadium

Grant Slater/KPCC

The NL West pennant race is causing a playful rift in the California delegation at the DNC

There was lots of trash talking at Monday's California delegation meeting. Not just about the GOP, but about the Dodgers and Giants.

It might be cast as the usual SF/LA rivalry, but it's a bit more than that. Particularly since the woman who helped deliver the Dodgers to L.A. from Brooklyn is in the house.

Roz Wyman is a lifelong Democrat and party bigwig. Dianne Feinstein stays at her house when she's in LA. But back when she was a 20-something kid just out of college, Wyman won a seat on the L.A. City Council. She and Kenneth Hahn spearheaded the drive to bring the team west. Her good friend, former American Film Institute chief Jean Firstenberg, is also at the Democratic National Convention and is also a Dodger fan.

State party chairman John Burton is also a baseball fan — specifically a Giants fan. And the Dodgers are 4 1/2 games behind the Giants. Or, as L.A. Congressman Xavier Becerra put it: "The Giants are kicking some butt." He promised his beloved Dodgers were "going to make it a race." And one way or another, he predicted, "California's going to win the World Series."

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