Last summer, with organizers struggling to raise enough money for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, party planners turned to Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, for help. Duke, the nation’s largest utility company, stepped up with a $10 million line of credit for the convention. Organizers insisted Duke would be repaid after the convention.
A Duke Energy official told the Charlotte Observer on Thursday that Democratic officials would not repay the $10 million they owe the company. Instead, Duke Energy will write off the loan as a business expense. Shareholders are expected to absorb $6 million of the cost of the loan.
In effect, Duke Energy’s “loan” has turned out to be a $10 million contribution to the Democratic convention. Duke CEO Jim Rogers hinted at this possibility in an interview with the Observer last month, when it was becoming clear the Democrats might not repay the company. “At the end of the day, we’ll do our best to get our money back,” he said. “But if we don’t, it’s just a contribution we’re making I think for the greater good of our community.”
In Charlotte, NC, large numbers of clowns showed up to protest a Klan/Neo-Nazi gathering.
Perfect. If there’s one thing fanatics can’t stand it’s being mocked, as they so richly deserve.
It was the nineties all over again: the media all but swooning over Bill Clinton as he was shaking and baking and rocking and rolling, with some carping about his self-indulgent ways but sheer gratitude that he is such colorful copy.
The rave reviews that followed the former president’s stemwinder at the Democratic convention came a day after a journalistic standing ovation for Michelle Obama’s highly personal speech.
The question must be asked: Are the media getting swept away in Charlotte in a way they most certainly weren’t in Tampa?
A case can certainly be made that the Bill and Michelle speeches achieved an emotional intensity that no speaker at the Republican convention was able to match. Mitt and Ann Romney’s addresses drew favorable reviews, but his especially did not feel like a breakthrough moment. The only star attraction that really got the media buzzing, and not in a good way, was Clint Eastwood.
And the compelling nature of Clinton unleashed prompted many conservative pundits to praise his performance, with GOP strategist Alex Castellanos going so far as to say it probably sealed Barack Obama’s reelection.
That seems a bit over the top, but let’s say there is a broad consensus that Clinton delivered a classic bit of political theater.
If you missed the second night of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., we live blogged it here.
But if you want a quick review, we’ve compiled five things that struck us about the night:
It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It: In other hands, the very wonky speech that former President Clinton delivered on Wednesday could have been a snoozer.
The address was policy heavy and serious. Even though he threw in some jokes, Clinton consistently told the Democratic delegates and the television viewers to “listen.”
“You all are having fun,” he said at one point. “But this is serious. I want you to listen.”
He talked about the need for compromise and how Obama is committed to “constructive cooperation.” He talked about Obama’s record — at length and with many numbers. He offered a rebuttal of Republican attacks and a detailed discussion of Republican policies. Finally, he gave Obama an unflinching endorsement, and he received an equally unequivocal endorsement from the crowd.
That said, the speech was delivered with typical Clinton charm. Everything was explained with a folksy disposition that kept the crowd engaged.
Israel Is A Touchy Subject For Democrats: The party platform became a distraction today for Democrats. On orders from the president, delegates voted to amend the platform to include both a reference to God and to declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
Romney provided no details on how he’d do any of this. And senior Democratic and Obama campaign officials believe that Romney’s vagueness has afforded President Barack Obama a significant opening to exploit at the Democratic convention in Charlotte.
“We’ve been talking about this all week,” Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said on Tuesday, hours before the convention opened. “For months, the Romney campaign said his speech would be when they would introduce Romney and his plans, but there were no specifics… They didn’t fill in the holes.”
A Democratic strategist advising the campaign, who is not authorized to speak publicly for it, noted, “As soon as Romney was done, we saw the chance to do something Romney failed to do: to spell out what Obama would do if elected.”
The Obama crew’s response to Romney’s surface-skimming speech was not a partisan reflex. Days afterward, Bill Kristol, the neoconservative commentator who loves to be cranky about Romney, slapped the Republican presidential nominee for not describing what he’d do in the Oval Office:
IN DENVER four years ago, an inspiring presidential candidate announced that he would change America. Barack Obama promised to put aside partisan differences, restore hope to those without jobs, begin the process of saving the planet from global warming, and make America proud again.
Next week Mr Obama will address his fellow Democrats at their convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, with little of this hopeful agenda completed. Three million more Americans are out of work than four years ago, and the national debt is $5 trillion bigger. Partisan gridlock is worse than ever: health-care reform, a genuinely impressive achievement, has become a prime source of rancour. Businessfolk are split over whether he dislikes capitalism or is merely indifferent to it. His global-warming efforts have evaporated. America’s standing in the Muslim world is no higher than it was under George W. Bush, Iran remains dangerous, Russia and China are still prickly despite the promised resets, and the prison in Guantánamo remains open.
The defence of Mr Obama’s record comes down to one phrase: it could all have been a lot worse. He inherited an economy in free fall thanks to the banking crash and the fiscal profligacy that occurred under his predecessor; his stimulus measures and his saving of Detroit carmakers helped avert a second Depression; overall, he deserves decent if patchy grades on the economy (see article). Confronted by obstructionist Republicans in Congress, he did well to get anything through at all. Abroad he has sensibly recalibrated American foreign policy. And there have been individual triumphs, such as the killing of Osama bin Laden.
But this does not amount to a compelling case for re-election, in the view of either this paper or the American people. More than 60% of voters believe their country to be on the wrong track. Mr Obama’s approval ratings are well under 50%; almost two-thirds of voters are unimpressed (however harshly) by how he has handled the economy. Worn down by the difficulties of office, the great reformer has become a cautious man, surrounded by an insular group of advisers. The candidate who promised bold solutions to the country’s gravest problems turned into the president who failed even to back his own commission’s plans for cutting the deficit.
About 800 people chanting and carrying signs (among them, “Banks got bailed out. We got sold out”) marched Sunday through the central business district in Charlotte, N.C., ahead of the Democratic National Convention to protest what they said was seedy corporate influence on politics.
The protesters, who came from across the country, gathered at Frazier Park for a round of speeches before starting the march. They were from a coalition of more than 80 local and national groups. Media packets declared the group’s mission as “building peoples’ power during the DNC.
Demonstrators had signs indicating that some were union workers, anti-war veterans and undocumented immigrants.
“Capitalism is holding back the human race,” one sign read. “Bail out people, not banks,” another sign said.
Hundreds of chanting protesters march through uptown Charlotte, N.C., ahead of the Democratic National Convention. WCNC reports.
The protest route was to take them past the corporate headquarters of Bank of America and a major office hub for Wells Fargo - financial institutions that some see as symbols of foreclosures and federal bailouts. Protesters also planned a stop at the headquarters of Duke Energy, the nation’s largest utility.
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee said Friday that he’ll use his prime-time speech at next week’s Democratic National Convention to urge former Republicans and independents, like him, why they should support President Barack Obama’s re-election.
Chafee is scheduled to deliver his remarks between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday, the opening night of the convention in Charlotte, N.C. Chafee’s address will come shortly before a speech by first lady Michelle Obama.
His appearance — along with that of another former Republican, ex-Florida governor Charlie Crist — is intended to appeal to independents and undecided voters. Chafee said he was happy to be asked to participate.
”I’m going to talk about the people like me — former Republicans, independents — about the importance of this election, and that we need to support President Obama,” he said. ”I want to talk to them, across the country. I think I have a good message.”
Chafee called Obama a ”friend to Rhode Island.” He said Republican Mitt Romney represents the same ideology that caused him to leave the GOP in 2007.
Chafee is a co-chairman of Obama’s re-election campaign. He served in the U.S. Senate with Obama and supported his 2008 presidential run.