Democrats are raving this morning about First Lady Michelle Obama's prime time speech to their convention.
"I thought it was amazing," said Kansas delegate Ty Dragoo. "You can see in her face it was real. She started getting emotional about it."
"She was just incredible," agreed Kansas delegate Missy Taylor.
Said Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, who spoke to his state's delegates this morning:
"It was a good speech that was incredibly well delivered. What happens at those moments is the inner person comes through, and it lifted really good prose out through the stratosphere.”
Rayma Conrad, a delegate from Joplin, called the address "very positive and dynamic."
Former Sen. Jean Carnahan said Obama "hit it out of the ballpark."
"The right speech at the right time," said state Sen. Jolie Justus, a Kansas City Democrat.
"I loved it. I laughed. I cried," said Rose Bell, president of the Greater Kansas City Woman's Political Caucus. "She was warm. She was engaging, and she told the truth. As a mother, I could see where she was coming from."
Delegates said they were also excited by opening speeches from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and the keynoter, San Antonio mayor Julian Castro.
Less effective? Former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who spoke to the convention before the network cameras were turned on.
"She doesn't really know how to punch up the words," said one Kansas delegate.
Kansas delegates got an update Wednesday on polling in their state, and across the country, part of an effort to understand why the party does so poorly in Kansas.
One key finding: The last Democrat from Kansas most voters remember isn't Sebelius, but Sen. Nancy Kassebaum.
Kassebaum, of course, is a Republicans.
Delegates were told Kansans don't have a bad opinion about the state's Democrats, but no opinion at all. That's considered good news, since the party doesn't have to change minds, just fill in the blanks.
And there was interesting news about Barack Obama and Gov. Sam Brownback -- voters like them both personally, but don't like their policies.
The vast majority of voters don't have an opinion of the big tax cut approved last spring because they don't understand it.
The target on the presidential level remains the same, the pollsters told the delegates -- a 55-year old married woman, who remains uncertain about her vote. Economic issues are vastly more important for that voter than social issues like abortion.
Another key finding: the phrase "war on women" doesn't test well. That's why you haven't heard those words much at the convention.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster offered his party some unfiltered advice Wednesday morning:
To avoid becoming the Kansas Democratic Party, Missouri Democrats must focus on fundraising and candidate recruitment to boost numbers in the General Assembly.
"Candidate recruitment is the number one job of this party," Koster said, and a special emphasis needs to be on finding Democrats to represent rural districts. The party has been all but shut out in the country, and that must change, he said.
The message from Koster was especially interesting because until 2007, he was a Republican, and a prominent one at that as a state senator and the 10-year Cass County prosecutor.
"I get a rap sometimes as a party switcher," Koster told delegates. "That's not undeserved. But 95 percent of the party switchers go from the minority party to the majority party. It takes a special kind of crazy to leave the majority party for the minority party."
Koster said the challenge for Missouri Democrats is to "return home after Thursday night and make sure Missouri regains its reputation as a battleground state.”
Missouri Congressman Russ Carnahan of St. Louis reminded delegates that he had once served on the House Science Committee with Todd Akin, now the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate.
Akin is known as a conservative, and Carnahan said he lived up to that reputation on the panel.
"I think he thought it was the Flat Earth Society," Carnahan said. "It’s really stunning that he is the nominee of the Republican Party."
Carnahan, who was defeated in the 1st District Democratic primary in August, said he's concerned about the role of Super PACs that can accept million-dollar anonymous donations and what he called the GOP's voter suppression efforts in Missouri and across the nation.
"They (Republicans) want to make it harder for you to vote," he said. "They don’t want you to vote. We have to be better educated, better organized, better prepared than ever before. I think we can do it."
It was another late night for delegates taking the bus from the Time Warner Cable Arena.
As was the case in Tampa, the shuttle service for delegates was confusing and late. Many delegates didn't get back to the hotel until 2:00 a.m.
"We went to where we thought the buses were going to be," Dragoo said. "We found out they were actually right by the convention."
The problem was exacerbated by the distance between the Kansas hotel and the convention center.
Dragoo -- who represents a railroad workers' union -- said the experience points out how essential transportation systems are to hosting a national convention.
He got laughter and loud applause after making that observation.