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McKinstry: Will Democrats at the convention give us more details?

Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries of New York speaks during

Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries of New York speaks during the New York State Democratic delegation breakfast at the Doubletree Inn in Charlotte, N.C. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The GOP teed it up for the Democrats.

Mitt Romney’s omission of any real economic recovery plan during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last week in Tampa creates an opening for Democrats as they kick off their big party in Charlotte, N.C., today.

If the Democrats want to pounce, now's their chance. That’s the advantage of going second, I suppose.

Much like a pitcher squandering a few tosses to create a hitter's count, Republicans had an opportunity to sell how they’d get the United States' economic engine humming again.

Instead, they pitched Romney the man. They did a decent job at that, and Republicans left Florida feeling pretty good. But even when the candidate pledged to create 12 million jobs, there wasn’t a whole lot behind it. You could say they wasted a few pitches.

Now, as Democrats kick off their pep rallies and energize-the-base speeches – just like several this morning by New York’s delegation, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), state Sen. Andrea Stewart Cousins (D-Yonkers) and a handful of who’s who in state politics – they touted New York’s “progressive leadership.”

“We are the progressive capital of the nation,” Stewart-Cousins told the crowd. “New York’s values are the values we believe are the nation's.”

Just as Republicans spoke of small businesses and manufacturing in Tampa, Democrats will tout labor, the middle class and President Barack Obama’s health care plan in Charlotte. It’s all part of the convention-week playbook.

But if there's any takeaway for Democrats -- especially if they are serious about attracting moderates and undecideds -- voters need more details. They need substance.

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