Video: Young firebrand

updated 7/28/2004 5:32:55 PM ET 2004-07-28T21:32:55

Twelve-year-old Ilana Wexler had some advice for Vice President Dick Cheney: You need a timeout. The Democrats loved it.

Ilana, who founded a grassroots group called, was rewarded last week with a phone call from Teresa Heinz Kerry inviting her to address the Democratic National Convention.

With her high-pitched delivery and breathy enthusiasm, the seventh-grader from Oakland, Calif., wowed the crowd Tuesday night.

And when she chided Cheney for using a four-word expletive in an exchange with Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, she brought delegates roaring to their feet.

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“When our vice president had a disagreement with a Democratic senator, he used a really bad word,” Ilana said. “If I said that word, I would be put in a timeout. I think he should be put in a timeout.”

Ilana recounted how she skipped camp this year to work for the Kerry campaign full time, and how she liked Kerry’s commitment to education, America and kids.

“The last time I saw John Kerry, he grabbed my arm and said, 'See you at the convention.’ And here I am,” Ilana said, pumping her fists. “What will be even more amazing will be the inauguration in January when we have a new president, knowing that kids have made the difference in this election.”

After the speech, Ilana’s parents, Jonathan and Heidi Wexler, accepted congratulations from dozens of delegates as they dabbed tears from their eyes.

“She was a little bit nervous before, when she saw how big this place was,” Jonathan Wexler said. “But she was just great. We are so proud.”

Ilana’s star power has already been tapped by David Letterman, who will feature an interview with her Wednesday on his show. Jay Leno has called, too.

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