First Lady Michelle Obama. Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool, Getty Images
By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY
CHARLOTTE -- Democrats kick off their three-day convention celebrating all things Barack Obama with remarks tonight from his more popular and better half: First lady Michelle Obama.
USA TODAY is providing full coverage of the Democratic National Convention online and in print. Check local TV listings for when you can catch the action from the Time Warner Cable Arena.
Here is our guide to the five things to watch for Tuesday, Sept. 4:
1) Look for Michelle Obama to talk about how the president's policies are moving the country forward, even in the face of a slow economic recovery. Unlike Ann Romney, who helped soften her spouse's edges at last week's GOP convention, the first lady doesn't need to dwell much on the president as a husband and a father. With two-thirds of Americans holding a favorable view of Michelle Obama, she has proven to be a positive force for the White House.
2) Political parties like to spotlight their up-and-comers at these events, so Democrats turned to San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to deliver tonight's keynote address. It's the same task that fell to Barack Obama in 2004. Castro and his identical twin brother, Joaquin, share this with the president: They were also raised by a single mother and earned Harvard law degrees.
3) There will be plenty of videos shown at the convention, highlighting issues such as pay equity for women and immigration. Two big Democratic names get their own screen time tonight: former President Jimmy Carter will tout Obama's presidency and another film will be devoted to the legacy of senator and presidential mentor Edward Kennedy, who died in 2009.
4) The Democratic Party's diversity will be on display at practically every turn. In addition to Castro, rising stars of color speaking on Opening Day include Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, California Attorney General Kamala Harris and congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth.
5) What, exactly, do delegates do at political conventions besides hear speeches and nominate their choice for president? The party's platform, including planks endorsing same-sex marriage and abortion rights, will be formally adopted. Newark (N.J.) Mayor Cory Booker is charged with presenting the party platform. New Jersey pols are salivating at the prospect of a 2013 governor's race between GOP incumbent Chris Christie and Booker.