On his first night as the official Democratic nominee, he wasted no time playing his trump cards in this campaign—his father Ned, who was in the audience, and Phil Bredesen, who introduced the candidate. Oddly, as if it were a compliment, Bredesen compared McWherter to LBJ, whose presidency ended in disgrace. Maybe Bredesen merely meant to say that McWherter's a good ol' country boy.
“I’m here asking everybody in this room to really roll up your sleeves and go to work now to help Mike McWherter, and I do so without hesitation because this is a man we can be proud to support as governor,” Bredesen said. He hailed Ned McWherter as “the best governor Tennessee has ever had.”
Mike McWherter said Tennessee’s at a crossroads:
“Down one path, we could revert to the failed policies that we’ve seen that have led our state and our country literally to the verge of bankruptcy. But the right path was clearly paved by people like my father and Gov. Phil Bredesen. We’ve got a strategically build on those foundations and not lose sight of what’s important, and that is the hard-working people of Tennessee.”
He recalled the income tax fights under the last Republican governor, Don Sundquist:
“When Governor Bredesen took office, Tennessee was literally almost in an economic meltdown. If you remember, the state Capitol was almost like a mob scene. You had people driving around it honking horns and throwing stones. But under his steady leadership and his willingness to make tough decisions, we weathered that storm, and we still have a long way to go.”