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Saturday, June 10, 2006

 2:15 PM 

Feingold Steals the Show; Dems Say Gov Has Good Convention, Too

Russ Feingold got the star treatment. Jim Doyle took the steady approach.

Feingold, Wisconsin's junior U.S. senator, gave the party faithful what they wanted at this weekend's Democratic convention, delivering a speech full of red meat issues. He denounced an amendment to ban gay marriage and Vermont-style civil unions, pushed Dems to take a stand against an advisory referendum to bring back the death penalty in Wisconsin and said the president was "in the strike zone" of the high crimes and misdemeanors that the Founding Fathers wrote about.

Doyle took a more subtle approach, talking about fiscal responsibility, education, health care and stem cells.

"Russ is a rock star. He hits at the core of the party," one Dem said. "Jim has a different style."

Dems said the contrast was no shock considering Feingold and Doyle's personalities and history with the party. Feingold has cultivated the fire brand image, while Doyle has always been seen as the steady, prosecutor-type by the party faithful, they say.

Doyle also made no mention of the ongoing Georgia Thompson trial, which is expected to wrap up next week, and did not meet with reporters. He also made no mention about ethics reform in his speech to the delegates.

One Dem said there was no point for Doyle to talk about the trial.

"What's he supposed to say?" the Dem said, pointing out reporters will have their chance to grill Doyle about the outcome after it comes down, likely later this week.

Another said, "Of course they're nervous." But the Dem then followed with a persistent line from party members this weekend: They're confident Thompson will be found innocent and Doyle's reputation as an ethical person with the grassroots will remain intact.

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