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Now ready for prime time: Michelle Obama

August 10, 2008 |  3:30 pm

Michelle Obama gets a prime-time speaking slot at the convention.

Admirers (and detractors) of Barack Obama have frequently described him as a rock star. Now Michelle Obama, his wife, is officially a headliner, too.

That's the word from the organizers of the Democratic National Convention in Denver later this month. They've just sent a news release announcing that she'll be the "headline prime-time speaker" on Monday, Aug. 25 -- the opening night of the Democrats' quadrennial funfest that will formally nominate her husband as the party's candidate for president of the United States.

Tuesday's headliner is Sen. Hillary Clinton, whom the release described as "a champion for working families and one of the most effective and empathetic voices in the country today." (Not surprisingly, there's no mention of the bitter primary contest between Clinton and Obama, or of the nearly 18 million votes she racked up between Jan. 3 and June 3.)

The vice presidential pick gets his/her turn in the convention spotlight Wednesday night. And Thursday, of course, is the Illinois senator's acceptance speech in front of more than 70,000 cheering fans at Invesco Field at Mile High, the home of the Denver Broncos. (The others have to make do with speaking before an in-person audience of 4,400 delegates and 15,000 members of the media at the Pepsi Center, where the NBA's Denver Nuggets play.)

While nominees' wives have addressed the convention in previous years (Hillary Clinton in 1996, Tipper Gore in 2000 and Teresa Heinz Kerry in 2004), this appears to be the first time that such a speech will be featured so prominently.

As this week progresses, convention organizers will be rolling out the names of other orators, perhaps making it easier to read the currently murky tea leaves swirling around the #2 slot on the ticket. Stay tuned.

-- Leslie Hoffecker

Photo credit: Cheryl Senter/Associated Press

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