DENVER -- The 2008 Democratic National Convention officially kicked off at 3 p.m. local time Monday, when Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean gaveled in the proceedings to rousing applause from a still sparse crowd in the hall.
"During our national convention, we will demonstrate to all Americans why we need Barack Obama and Joe Biden in the White House," Dean said. "Looking out from this podium tonight, I see a diverse assembly of Democrats as a testament to the unity of our party and the success of our 50-state strategy ... We are the most vibrant and inclusive and energized party and we are ready to compete in all 50 states ... It is the Democratic Party that can effect the change that America needs."
Dean's remarks were followed by an invocation, a presentation of colors, the Pledge of Allegiance and then the national anthem, which was sung by the Colorado Children's Chorale.