Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom may not have a speaking role at this week's Democratic National Convention, but he's clearly on message with his fellow party members when it comes to what the gathering is all about.

"Convince people that may not necessarily believe that there's a second act that's going to be better than the first act," said Newsom in a satellite interview on the pitch for backers of President Barack Obama.

Newsom says that includes not just selling independent voters, but also making sure the gathering doesn't spend too much time explaining the past -- namely, the tough economic hand Obama was dealt when taking office in 2009.

"Keep that short and succinct," he said, "because we all know, if you're explaining, you're losing in politics."

The lieutenant governor, not surprisingly, thinks there will be big momentum coming out of the Charlotte, N.C. convention. But he points out that California Democrats can't just rest on their laurels, given the fact that their candidate will undoubtedly win the state's 55 electoral votes.

"If there's not that intensity" among the state's Democrats and thus low turnout, says Newsom, proposals like Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30 tax increase could suffer.

And like other California Democrats, the state's number two ranking official didn't take kindly to GOP nominee Mitt Romney's quip last month about fears that the United State could become like Greece... or California.

"That joke," said Newsom, "left a lot of people like me wanting. "First of all, it's wrong on the facts, objectively. Second, I don't think it's presidential for someone to make light, or fun, of another state that he or she claims to want to represent."

Read or Share this story: