Julian Castro defends Obama in keynote address to Democratic National Convention


State Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX)(R) waves with his brother San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro during day one of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 4, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC that will run through September 7, will nominate U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate.


Joe Raedle

Julian Castro delivered a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday defending President Barack Obama's record in the White House and propelling himself to national prominence.

Sharing the prime-time spotlight with first lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday night, Castro, 37, San Antonio's mayor, was the first Hispanic to deliver a convention keynote speech, according to the Wall Street Journal live blog of the event.

Castro began his DNC address Tuesday night with a story about his grandmother, an orphan who came to the US from Mexico and who later had to drop out of work to help her family.

"My grandmother spent her whole life working as a maid, a cook and a babysitter, barely scraping by, but still working hard to give my mother, her only child, a chance in life, so that my mother could give my brother and me an even better one." 

In saying "what’s special is the America that makes our story possible," he echoed Obama himself, who as keynote speaker at the 2004 convention said that "In no other country is my story even possible."

Castro — the youngest mayor of a major US city — hinted at his predecessor's efforts in a YouTube video in July: "I know I've got some big shoes to fill. I remember watching his speech in 2004 and being inspired."

He gave a ringing endorsement of Obama on Tuesday night, defending his record on jobs and education reform — described by Fox News as Castro's own "causes as mayor of San Antonio." 

"When Detroit was in trouble, President Obama saved the auto industry and saved a million jobs," Castro said, Fox reported.

"Seven presidents before him — Republicans and Democrats — tried to expand health care to all Americans. President Obama got it done. He made a historic investment to lift our nation's public schools and expanded Pell grants so that more young people can afford college. And because he knows that we don't have an ounce of talent to waste, the president took action to lift the shadow of deportation from a generation of young, law-abiding immigrants called dreamers."

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And he hit out at Obama's Republican opponents, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., saying their budget plan "dismantles" the middle class.

"We know that in our free market economy some will prosper more than others," Castro said. "What we don't accept is the idea that some folks won't even get a chance. And the thing is, Mitt Romney and the Republican Party are perfectly comfortable with that America. In fact, that's exactly what they're promising us."

The San Jose Mercury News was among the news outlets that printed the text of Castro's speech in full, while ABC News had live coverage of the speeches.

He was introduced to the DNC by his twin brother, Joaquin, a front-runner for a Texas congressional seat.

Julian is "older by a minute," according to the Washington Post, and the first of the two to run for office — city council in 2001. However, Joaquin ran for the statehouse a year later.

The two grew up watching their mother’s involvement as an organizer of the Latino political party La Raza Unida, Joaquin told the Post.

Both are graduates of Harvard Law School.

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