— Delaware Gov. Jack Markell: ‘‘From the moment he took office, President Obama has delivered for the middle class. He believes that we need to grow our economy from the middle out, and not from the top down, that we need to keep America a land of middle-class opportunity.’’
Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York introduced himself as ‘‘a proud product of the middle class’’ whose father ran an exterminating company (and acquainted the family with the aroma of roach spray).
‘‘Today, families like the one I grew up in still believe in that American dream,’’ Schumer said. ‘‘But as President Obama says, it’s a make-or-break moment for the middle class.’’
Elizabeth Warren, the Democrats’ Senate candidate in Massachusetts, also invoked the middle class repeatedly, but in the context of hard times for many of its members ‘‘who are hanging on by their fingernails.’’
‘‘For many years now, our middle class has been chipped, squeezed, and hammered,’’ she said.
To Olivia Golden, a senior fellow with the Urban Institute, that kind of rhetoric could be effective in bridging the gap between the middle class and the poor.
‘‘It helps get the empathetic response that we’re all in this together,’’ said Golden, who helped oversee policies for low-income families in the Clinton administration. ‘‘Emphasizing that fragility of being on the edge is a unifying theme.’’
One of the delegates, Marian Williams of Heathrow, Fla., articulated that fragility.
‘‘There’s no more middle class—trust me,’’ she said. ‘‘I'm middle class. I don’t consider myself that anymore because we’re suffering.’’
Follow AP National Writer David Crary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CraryAP