Mark Warner will give keynote speech for Democrats

Will it make him the rising star Barack Obama became four years ago?

Published August 13, 2008 1:36PM (EDT)

Four years ago, a young Democratic Senate candidate on his way to a big November victory gave the keynote speech at the party's convention -- launching him to national prominence. It worked out pretty well for the guy, who made a joke in his speech about his funny name: Barack Obama.

Now he may be giving another rising Democratic star a similar shot. Obama's aides announced Wednesday morning that Mark Warner, the former Virginia governor who's expected to win his race for the Senate easily this fall, will give the keynote address on the convention's second night. (Hillary Clinton will also speak that night.) That could be bad news for his successor as governor, Tim Kaine, who's on the shortlist for vice president -- the veep nominee will speak the next night, and while Obama wants to flip Virginia blue, he may not want to devote half of the prime-time speaking slots to the state.

Warner's not quite as unknown in national politics as Obama was four years ago; he almost ran for president himself this year. But the speech will give Democrats a chance to highlight someone they hope will be a fixture in the party for years.

And who knows -- if Obama goes on to lose to John McCain, the next convention could be Warner's show.

By Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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