July 27, 2004 -- Small business issues figured into the agenda in Boston Monday as the Democratic Party kicked off its weeklong ramp-up to the official naming of Senators John Kerry and John Edwards as nominees for President and Vice President.

As thousands of conventioneers swarmed downtown for the Democratic National Convention, the Kerry-Edwards campaign unleashed its newly-minted slogan, "Stronger at Home, Respected in the World." But by stacking the opening-day docket with speakers armed and ready to talk about jobs and affordable healthcare for small businesses, the campaign may have betrayed its true message: It's still the economy, stupid.

Monday's lineup of speech-makers included Representatives Stephanie Tubbs-Jones of Ohio and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin who expressed support for small and emerging companies that would help strengthen the country's middle class. Tubbs-Jones and Baldwin spoke about the Kerry-Edwards two-pronged plan to offer billions of dollars in tax credits that would both help reduce health insurance costs for small businesses and would reward those companies and industries that excel in creating jobs.

"John Kerry will jump-start economic growth with a new jobs tax credit to encourage owners of small businesses -- like the small business my late husband, Mervyn Jones, built -- to create jobs now," said Tubbs-Jones.

The Kerry-Edwards economic plan also promised to use tax credits to preserve the country's manufacturing base while encouraging innovation in high-growth, high-tech areas like broadband, energy and small business. Moreover, as the latest volley in a game of political dynamite, the plan threatens to end any tax break for a company that outsources its jobs overseas.

Entrepreneur advocate Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City anticipated a week of speeches aimed in part at small businesses, a group often named by President Bush as a potential source of economic stimulus. "The platform's economic planks contain a lot of ideas that should interest supporters of the entrepreneurial economy," said the organization.