PanDEMonium: Simon Carswell’s Democratic convention diary

Philadelphia, the city of sibling devotion, faced with internal Democratic party tension

Turning Philly green

There are plenty of Irish here in Philadelphia, notably Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald. She attended a reception for the Irish community in Philly on Monday night where she met Mike Stack, the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania.

Fitzgerald is in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection as a Fine Gael member rather than as a Government representative. The latter would of course be an unthinkable foreign thumb on the US political scale. (Ireland is not Russia. )

Others in town are Mark Kennelly, Taoiseach Enda Kenny's shadow; Kildare South TD Martin Heydon, chairman of the Fine Gael parliamentary party; Fine Gael's Jerry Buttimer, leader of the Seanad; and Fianna Fáil Meath West TD Thomas Byrne.

And the number of Irish politicians at the Republican convention last week? Zero. Our ambassador in Washington, Anne Anderson, and deputy head of mission Michael Lonergan were the only two Irish officials to brave the Ohio dark-fest.


You can call him Al


Michelle Obama

had the audience in tears on Monday night, Democrat

Al Franken

had them laughing, bringing a welcome break from the tension – and the piercing boos – echoing between rival Clinton and Sanders supporters.

The comedian and former Saturday Night Live cast member – now a Minnesota senator – joked in his address that he's a "world-renowned expert on right-wing megalomaniacs: Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and now, Donald Trump". He added that he earned his "doctorate in megalomaniac studies from Trump University", the now defunct for-profit college set up by the New York billionaire that is being sued for swindling former students.

Franken said that “Trump University’s School of Ripping People Off” was ranked second in the nation – “right behind Bernie Madoff University”.

Quote of the day

“You know, Dumbledore from

Harry Potter

once said, it takes great courage to stand up to your enemies. It takes even greater courage to stand up to your friends”

Bernie Sanders supporter Diane Russell, a state representative from Maine, drawing on an unlikely source in an attempt to unite the Sanders-Clinton camps on Monday night


Number of the day


Number of times Bernie Sanders mentioned the name of his one-time primary opponent Hillary Clinton in script of his prepared speech. Number of times his supporters booed: 15.

Big Cheese v Big Apple

Philadelphia’s own

Brendan Boyle

, the US congressman and son of


man Frank, told me that it was quite a coup for his home town beating out New York to host this quadrennial Democratic convention, the first in the city since 1948.

“It would be kind of like Donegal beating Dublin,” said Boyle, one of the opening-night convention speakers.

Boyle and his House of Representatives colleague Carolyn Maloney from New York decided to play up the rivalry between their home cities with a "Philly v New York – Cheesesteak v Cheesecake" food-off on Tuesday.

“This battle of bosses is about to be settled,” said the flyer. “The fight will be tough. Attend the event to find out who wins.”