Friday, November 16, 2012

Her plan: Senator Paula Broadwell, R-N.C.

North Carolina -- home to former Sen.. John Edwards and future Sen. Paula Broadwell?

Not a chance that'll happen now that Charlotte-based Broadwell has been outed as David Petraeus' mistress and co-star of the most-talked-about extramarital romance since, well, John Edwards and Charlotte-based Rielle Hunter.

But Time magazine reports that Broadwell had a plan to run for the Senate, as a Republican from the Tar Heel State.

Over drinks in Aspen, Colo., last July, she told a small group that she had been approached by some "Republican moneymen," as Time put it, about running -- presumably against Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who is up for re-election in 2014. (Republican Sen. Richard Burr won a second term in 2010).

She was tempted. But Petraeus shot down her plan, Broadwell told the group "in an irritated tone," the magazine said.

Petraeus -- ex-CIA director, retired general and subject of a gushing 2012 biography by Broadwell -- interrogated her about her positions on several issues: abortion, climate change, gun control, gay marriage, tax cuts, Social Security vouchers.

"Her answers, he told her, would not fit either party and she should not sell herself out," Time reported.

Like Petraeus, Broadwell graduated from the U.S. Military Academy. She went on to become a counterterrorism expert. Her book is titled "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus."

-- Tim Funk 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Charlotte ranks No. 2 in political fundraising

If you needed further proof that the Democratic National Convention was a nonstop party, here it is. The 362 political fundraisers held in Charlotte during those four days drove the city to the No. 2 spot on the Sunlight Foundation's annual ranking of political fundraising cities.

The Tuesday and Wednesday of convention week turned out to be the busiest fundraising days of the entire year, according to the foundation, with 249 political parties between them.

Washington D.C., naturally, again hosted the most fundraisers, with 1,128. Tampa, home to this year's Republican National Convention, came in third at 209.

The DNC-related parties accounted for 85 percent of the total number of political fundraisers in Charlotte during the entire year. The city's overall total this year was 423.

The rest of the top 10:

  • New York City: 69
  • San Francisco: 36
  • Chicago: 25
  • Los Angeles: 25
  • Boston: 23
  • St. Petersburg, Fla.: 21
  • Denver: 16

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Will the Panthers game decide the presidential election?

A lot more could be riding on the Panthers-Redskins game this weekend than Carolina's season. If history is any indication, another Panthers loss would signal that President Barack Obama would be re-elected.

CBS Sports reports that in 17 of 18 Washington Redskins games before presidential elections, a Redskins win has been followed by the incumbent party staying in power. A Redkins loss has been followed by the opposition party taking the White House.

It's called the Redskins Rule, and it has been well  documented.

The only deviation was in 2004, when the Redskins lost to the Packers but President George W. Bush was re-elected.

The Redskins (3-5) are 3.5 point favorites over the visiting Panthers (1-6).

No N.C. stops scheduled for Obama or Romney

So much for North Carolina being a key battleground state.

Neither President Barack Obama nor Republican challenger Mitt Romney are scheduled to make stops in the state before Election Day, according to several reports from the campaign trail.

The candidates' scheduled appearances are starting to be released after both cut campaigning short as superstorm Sandy pummeled the East Coast.

Both are making swings through Ohio, Wisconsin, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and New Hampshire.

The most recent updates came from NBC News reporter Mark Murray:

From an RNC spokesman:
The Romney campaign said Wednesday that North Carolina was drifting away from Obama. The president's campaign, for its part, said Monday the state was very much in play.

Vice President Joe Biden's wife, Jill Biden, is still scheduled to campaign in Huntersville and Asheville on Friday.

UPDATE: Looks like the Obama campaign is still thinking about North Carolina. Michelle Obama is now scheduled to visit Charlotte on Monday.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jill Biden to visit Huntersville on Friday

Jill Biden will rally Obama campaign volunteers in Huntersville on Friday.

The wife of Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak at 1 p.m. at the Obama-Biden campaign field office at 14229 Reese Boulevard.

She had been scheduled to be in Huntersville
-- Tim Funk

Latest PPP poll: Obama-Romney tied in NC

The presidential race in North Carolina remains neck-and-neck, according to a new poll, with virtually no voters still undecided.

The survey, released Wednesday by Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling, found President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney tied with 49 percent each.

The poll also found that Obama is winning among early voters in the state, 58 percent to 41 percent. Romney is ahead among those who have not yet voted, 58 percent to 40 percent, according to the survey from the Democratic-leaning firm.

This is the second week in a row that PPP found the presidential race deadlocked in North Carolina.

But PPP's Wednesday survey comes on the heels of a poll done for WRAL-TV in Raleigh that found Romney ahead 50 percent to 45 percent in the Tar Heel State.

Both campaigns addressed their North Carolina prospects during Wednesday conference calls with reporters. Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said that "our margin continues to increase every day in (early voting sites) all across the state.

And he charged that that Romney's campaign was bluffing in its claims of momentum.

"He hasn't put a single battleground state away," Messina said. "remember when Romney was going to leave North Carolina (by pulling out some staff)? They've now raced to increase their TV ads there." That, added Messina, is "the clearest sign of all" that North Carolina is till up for grabs.
Romney's campaign team told reporters that North Carolina is drifting away from Obama.

"This is one that I get a kick out of that I'm still talking about," political director Rich Beeson said while commenting on the different battleground states.

 He said that while early voting turnout still favors registered Democrats in North Carolina, Republicans have cut that gap by 100,000 votes from 2008 numbers.

"North Carolina continues to move further and further from (Obama), as evidenced that they have not had the president down there since he left the convention," Beeson said, referring to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

 -- Tim Funk and Andrew Dunn

Romney campaign says N.C. drifting away from Obama

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign team said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday that North Carolina is drifting away from President Barack Obama.

"This is one that I get a kick out of that I"m still talking about," political director Rich Beeson said while going through a list of the campaign's thoughts on battleground states.

He said that while early voting turnout still favors registered Democrats in North Carolina, Republicans have cut that gap by 100,000 votes from 2008 numbers.

"North Carolina continues to move further and further from him, as evidenced that they have not had the president down there since he left the convention," Beeson said, referring to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

Obama's campaign would not say Monday whether Obama would make another appearance in North Carolina, but said they felt the state was still very much in play.

Public Policy Polling had the candidates tied at 49 percent on Wednesday. A WRAL poll Tuesday had Romney ahead 50-45.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

WRAL poll: Romney leads Obama in N.C.

A survey released Tuesday by WRAL-TV found that, a week before Election Day, former Massachussets Gov. Mitt Romney leads President Barack Obama, 50 percent to 45 percent in North Carolina.

The Raleigh-Durham TV station's poll, conducted by SurveyUSA, comes on the heels of three other state polls -- released between last Thursday and Monday -- that said the presidential race in the Tar Heel State is neck-and-neck.

That was also the verdict in WRAL's last poll, from four weeks ago. But the one released Tuesday found that Romney had moved into a lead by eliminating Obama's advantage with female voters. They are now tied at 47 percent among women, the poll found.

Romney was ahead among independents and weathier voters, according to WRAL.

Favoring Obama: Young voters.

With early voting in the state underway, the WRAL survey found that Obama leads among people who have already voted (56 percent to 43 percent).

But those who said they plan to vote in Election Day favor Romney, 60 percent to 33 percent.

-- Tim Funk

Monday, October 29, 2012

Money continues to roll in 8th an 9th Districts

Following the tweets @jimmorrill:

R Richard Hudson in #NC08 outraises D Larry Kissell 5-1 in first part of Oct. He got $90K from PACs, 3 x all of what Kissell raised. #NCPOL

Republican Robt. Pittenger in #NC09loaned his campaign $25K in Oct., otherwise outraised by Dem. Jennifer Roberts $76K to $66K. #NCPOL

Obama campaign on N.C.: 'We can win it'

The Obama campaign believes North Carolina is still in play and is increasing its television ad spending in the state, but would not say Monday whether President Barack Obama would make an appearance here before the election.

"We continue to believe on the ground we can win it," campaign manager Jim Messina said of North Carolina on a conference call with reporters Monday morning.

Messina and senior strategist David Axelrod said Obama was leading in every battleground state and said they were impressed with early voting results, including in North Carolina.

"I am ridiculously proud of what the North Carolina staff has put on the ground with our volunteers," Messina said.

He also addressed reports from Mitt Romney's campaign earlier this month saying the Republicans were pulling people out of North Carolina, feeling confident in victory.

"I'm calling their bluff," Messina said.

Most battleground state trackers still show North Carolina leaning Republican. The New York Times' FiveThirtyEight blog gives Romney an 82.5 percent chance of winning the state.

"We really believe that North Carolina is within our reach," Axelrod said on the call. "Everything that we see points to a real possibility there."

When asked about whether Obama would make a North Carolina stop in the next eight days, Messina said the campaign has been re-assessing the scheduling after Hurricane Sandy changed plans.

"We're looking very closely at where we're sending him," Messina said, citing recent N.C. visits from Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama in the state.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Obama's barnyard epithet on Romney causing a stir

President Barack Obama's use of a barnyard epithet to describe Republican candidate Mitt Romney in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine is causing quite the stir around the Internet this morning.

Here's how Politico summed it up:

FIRST LOOK – Rolling Stone cover, “Obama and the Road Ahead: The Rolling Stone Interview,” by Douglas Brinkley: “We arrived at the Oval Office for our 45-minute interview … on the morning of October 11th. … As we left the Oval Office, executive editor Eric Bates told Obama that he had asked his six-year-old if there was anything she wanted him to say to the president. … [S]he said, ‘Tell him: You can do it.’ Obama grinned. … ‘You know, kids have good instincts,’ Obama offered. ‘They look at the other guy and say, “Well, that’s a bullshitter, I can tell.”’”
Tweets are pouring in, the majority of them negative (warning, the profanity continues).

Business Insider: "This is the first time we can ever recall a President using that sort of language in an interview. We look forward to hearing the White House's response."

Politico: "That's some frank language from Obama, who has a genuine disdain for GOP challenger Mitt Romney, as POLITICO's Glenn Thrush has reported."

Twitchy: "Just when you thought President Obama couldn't stoop any lower, here he goes again."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

N.C. voters not seeing two new Obama ads

North Carolina is not included in the newest round of TV ads being aired by the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama.

One new ad is running in Nevada, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio and Virginia. A second ad is running in those states as well as New Hampshire and Wisconsin.

But the Obama campaign was still running a 60-second ad in North Carolina that featured Obama speaking into the camera.

On Tuesday, top Obama campaign officials denied suggestions that they were writing off North Carolina at a time when polls give Republican challenger Mitt Romney a slight lead in the state.

Obama campaign manager pointed to TV ads running in the state as well as recent visits by Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama. But the Democratic president himself has not been to North Carolina since early September, when he gave his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

-- The News & Observer

Monday, October 15, 2012

Poll: Romney takes slight lead in NC

Republican Mitt Romney has taken a slight lead in North Carolina, according to the latest Public Policy Polling survey.

The former Massachusetts governor is the choice of 49 percent of likely N.C. voters, the poll found, while President Barack Obama is the pick of 47 percent.

Two weeks ago, PPP -- a Democratic-leaning firm -- had the two presidential candidates at 48 percent apiece.

It's still close: Romney's lead is within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

But PPP said that Romney's performance in his first debate with Obama improved his image in the Tar Heel State. Now, 49 percent of N.C. voters have a favorable view of him, compared to 46 percent who don't. That's a reversal of what his favorability/unfavorability numbers were in the last PPP poll.

PPP said Romney is ahead in North Carolina mainly for two reasons: He has a 30 point advantage with white voters (63 percent to 33 percent) and he leads among independent voters, 54 percent to 40 percent.

In other other findings, N.C. voters thought, by 46 percent to 42 percent, that Vice President Joe Biden won the recent vice presidential debate. But they have a slighter higher opinion of Romney's running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, 48 percent to Biden's 47 percent.

"North Carolina continues to look like one of the closest states in the country," PPP President Dean Debnam said in a news release. "But things are trending a little bit in Mitt Romney's direction and Obama needs a strong performance (in the second debate) Tuesday night to get things going back in the other direction."

PPP surveyed 1,084 likely N.C. voters last weekend (Oct. 12-14).

North Carolina is one of nine battleground states in the presidential race. The others: Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, and Wisconsin.

-- Tim Funk  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Huckabee to join Romney at Asheville rally; Jill Biden coming to NC, too

Two new signs that North Carolina remains a battleground in the presidential race:

  • Mike Huckabee will join Mitt Romney at the GOP presidential candidate's Thursday night rally in Asheville. Also on the bill at the 6 p.m. event at the U.S. Cellular Center: country music singer Ronnie Milsap.
  • Jill Biden will visit the state Saturday to attend "Women for Obama-Biden" events. No details yet on where in North Carolina she'll be, but her trip will come just two days after her husband, Vice President Joe Biden, debates Romney's running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.
-- Tim Funk

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Celebs say "vote early" in video shot during DNC

A celebrity-filled video shot during the recent Democratic National Convention in Charlotte has been released by Obama's North Carolina campaign.

Its subject: The benefits of early voting, which starts Oct. 18 in North Carolina.

"Gotta Vote" features Eva Longoria, Alexis Bledel, Zach Braff, Aisha Taylor, Elizabeth Banks, Alfre Woodard and Olivia Wilde.

Its intended audience are voter groups President Barack Obama is counting on in November, er, Oct. 18 and beyond. Namely, young people, African Americans and women.

Early voting in North Carolina goes from Oct. 18 to Nov. 3. North Carolinians can go to any early vote location in their county and register and vote at the same time on the same day. Deatils: www,

Election Day is Nov. 6.

In 2008, Obama carried North Carolina by just 14,000 votes -- a victory margin of  0.3 percent. He became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Obama did it by building up a big lead in early voting. Sen. John McCain, the Republican candidate, won among voters who cast their ballots on Election Day in 2008. But his totals weren't enough to catch up with Obama, who won the early vote.

-- Tim Funk

Friday, September 28, 2012

NBC/WSJ Poll: Neck and neck in NC

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll has good news for Democrat Barack Obama and for Republican Pat McCrory in North Carolina.

The poll, released Friday, shows Obama with the support of 48 percent of likely North Carolina voters to 46 percent for Mitt Romney. It's the latest in a series of polls by the NBC partnership that show Obama leading his Republican opponent in swing states.

In North Carolina, Obama is up by 1.1 points in the Real Clear Politics polling average.

"This was the closest of the battleground states four years ago and it is close again this time," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. "The competitive presidential contest is not, however, spilling over to the race for governor."

The poll shows McCrory leading Democratic Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton 52 percent to 39 percent. Jim Morrill

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Biden will campaign in Charlotte on Tuesday

Vice President Joe Biden will campaign in Charlotte on Tuesday (Oct. 2), an Obama campaign official said Wednesday.

More details on his itinerary are to come.

Biden's return to North Carolina comes as the race for the state's 15 electoral votes is heating up.

The vice president's stop follows a visit to Durham last week by First Lady Michelle Obama.

On the Republican side, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan -- GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate -- also stopped in North Carolina this month.

And this week, two high-profile Republican surrogates -- U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina -- have campaigned for Romney-Ryan in the Tar Heel State.

Both campaigns are also airing new TV ads in the state, where Romney and Democratic President Barack Obama are virtually tied in recent polls.

-- Tim Funk

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pittenger debates Roberts Wednesday

Republican Robert Pittenger and Democrat Jennifer Roberts meet for the first debate of their 9th Congressional District campaign Wednesday afternoon at the Charlotte Chamber.

Both are trying to replace Republican U.S. Rep Sue Myrick in the district's first open-seat election since 1994.

The meeting will be preceded by two legislative debates. Democratic Rep. Martha Alexander and Republican Rob Bryan will face off for the House District 88 seat and Democrat Robin Bradford and Republican Charles Jeter will debate for the newly created seat from District 92.

Jim Morrill

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rubio to promote Romney at Charlotte rally

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio -- one of the GOP's rising stars -- is scheduled to be in Charlotte on Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 26) for a Romney-Ryan "Victory Rally."

The Florida Republican will speak to Mitt Romney supporters at 1:45 p.m. at SteelFab, Inc., 8623 Old Dowd Road, according to an email from the Romney campaign.

Rubio was among those considered by Romney as a running mate. The Cuban-American lawmaker, who introduced Romney at the recent Republican National Convention in Tampa, is also touted as a future presidential candidate.

-- Tim Funk

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chamber CEO talks up Charlotte on TV

Charlotte Chamber CEO has been making television appearances all week talking up the city as the country's fastest growing metropolitan area.

On Fox Business, Morgan said the convention was Charlotte's "debut" and said the city is "doing pretty well economically by this convention."

On C-SPAN's Washington Journal, Morgan described the city's rise into a major financial center and touted the city's manufacturing. When asked about hwether the city had contingency plans for more trouble at Bank of America or Wells Fargo, he praised the two big banks for bringing wealth to the city and said "very little gets done civically" without their taking a lead role.

Beyond that, he said the city continues to diversify its corporate base, though he also said other banks like PNC and BB&T have been increasing their presence in the city.

--Andrew Dunn

Video: North Carolina delegation's roll call vote

You might have missed the North Carolina's delegation in the roll call vote, since they didn't get to cast their votes until well after midnight. But they spoke briefly before casting 152 of their 157 votes for President Obama.

You can watch them above, courtesy of a clip from C-SPAN.

Here's our brief transcript. The clip starts with the tail end of New York's vote.

Charlotte businessman Cameron Harris: "The great and sovereign state of North Carolina, the cradle of liberty, is delighted to host the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina."

Democratic Party chairman David Parker: "Madam secretary, North Carolina, the state of our great Gov. Beverly Perdue, our fantastic Sen. Kay Hagan, where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great, where we will elect Walter Dalton our next governor, where we voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and where we will carry North Carolina again in 2012, to keep this recovery going, to keep our American dream alive, North Carolina proudly casts 152 votes for Barack Obama."

--Andrew Dunn

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DNC: The outtakes

Here's the serendipity of conventions: You run into all sorts of people from the world of politics. Here are three:

-- James Carville: The Democratic strategist and TV talking head was relaxing outside the CNN booth at Time-Warner Arena. I asked him if he thought holding the DNC in Charlotte would help President Obama's campaign.

"I hope so," he said. "I'm always sort of skeptical that a convention site in early September brings voters in early November."

He also said if Mitt Romney loses North Carolina, he loses the election.

-- Jeff Greenfield: The TV analyst was with his friend Joe Klein at a Sunday reception at the Duke Energy building. He likes Charlotte as a host city.

"It's great, he said. "The whole uptown area is so amenable. The folks are terrific. The venues are spectacular."

-- Chris Lehane: The Democratic strategist turned film-writer is here in part to screen his new film "Knife Fight" starring Rob Lowe about corrupt California politics. He showed parts of it at a Politico Playbook breakfast hosted by Mike Allen at Packard Place.

He called conventions "a political appendix," vestiges of another era. This is the first year parties will have done both their conventions in three days, not four.

"Between Tampa and Charlotte, they'll be inflection point conventions," he said. Jim Morrill

Monday, September 3, 2012

Duke CEO defends Obama, talks up Charlotte on CNN

Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers defended President Barack Obama and talked up Charlotte during an interview with CNN's Soledad O'Brien on her show Monday morning.

When asked about whether the country is better off now than four years ago, Rogers first talked about how energy efficiency has improved over Obama's term and how natural gas has emerged as a low-cost energy source.

When pressed about the economy, Rogers said Obama started in a "deep hole" that he's worked out of.

"The more relevant question is, are we on the right trend?" Rogers said. "Are we moving in the right direction?"

Rogers has been a prominent donor to both the Democratic National Committee and the Obama campaign this election cycle, FEC records show, as well as other Democratic and Republican candidates.

O'Brien also asked Rogers about Charlotte and whether the city can handle the convention despite its relatively small size.

"Charlotte has a history of punching above its weight," Rogers said. "Charlotte has a history of re-inventing itself. Charlotte is a can-do city."

Rogers and the panel went on to talk briefly about carbon regulations and cap-and-trade. You can read a transcript of the interview here.

-Andrew Dunn

Will rain force Obama speech indoors?

Possible thunderstorms could move President Barack Obama's Thursday night acceptance speech indoors -- a contingency plan that would frustrate tens of thousands of North Carolinians now planning to watch the speech at Bank of American Stadium.

With forecasts calling for a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms Thursday -- though clearer skies by nightfall -- Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter raised the possibility Monday morning that the president may have to deliver his speech in Time Warner Cable Arena.

"We're still hopeful we can speak in the stadium," Cutter said on MSNBC's Daily Rundown show. "We've got tens of thousands of people from all over North Carolina and the country traveling here for that, with enormous enthusiasm for it. But we always knew this could be part of the plan. We'll make a call sometime in the near future about whether to move it indoors."

But later Monday morning, at a news conference at the Charlotte Convention Center, convention committee CEO Steve Kerrigan told reporters: "This is going forward, rain or shine."

Kerrigan added, though, that a contingency plan was on the table if thunderstorms pose safety issues.

In Tampa last week, Tropical Storm Isaac forced Republicans to change their plans, shortening their convention by a day.

-- Tim Funk and Ann Doss Helms

LA mayor expects 65,000 for Obama speech

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says to expect 65,000 people to be in Bank of America on Thursday night for President Barack Obama's acceptance speech.

Speaking Monday at uptown's POLITICO Playbook Breakfast, the mayor and chair of the 2012 Democratic National Convention also acknowledged that delegates in Charlotte may have to give themseves some extra time all week to maneuver the various security arrangements on their way to events and Time Warner Cable Arena.

When the Democrats held their convention in his city in 2000, Villaraigosa told host Mike Allen and his audience, "LA felt like it went very smoothly -- because that was before  September 11 . . . I hope it's going to go as smoothly as possibly here."

When asked about Charlotte, though, Villaraigosa showered the Queen City and its residents with compliments.

"Don't you just love the Southern hospitality? They're so warm, so gracious," he said. "I love the trees, This is a beautiful city . . . This is a city where you'd want to love."

The mayor also gave a shout-out to Osso restaurant and the whole N.C. Music Factoy complex. And he called Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx "the face of the New South."

-- Tim Funk  

Three new polls show race tight in NC

Three new polls are showing the race in North Carolina continues to be tight between President Obama and Mitt Romney.

-- A new survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm, shows the two tied at 48 percent. The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points.

-- A poll by High Point University and Fox 8 showed Romney with 46 percent to Obama's 43 percent. The sampling error is 4.3 percentage points.

-- And an Elon University Poll, released Sunday, showed Romney up 47 percent to 43 percent. Like the High Point University Poll, it was conducted during the GOP convention. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

DNC to be exhaustively live-streamed

For everyone who can't be inside Time Warner Cable arena this week for the Democratic National Convention, the proceedings will be exhaustively live-streamed at, organizers said Sunday.

The feed will be available on desktop and mobile devices, and will be broadcast in Spanish and with closed-captioning as well.

Convention organizers also hope to get people around the country involved, including highlighting the some-4,000 watch parties.

On Thursday evening, as President Barack Obama makes his acceptance speech, will host a web-only special. Actor Kal Penn, a big Obama supporter, will interview big names including Marc Anthony, Elizabeth Banks, Aisha Tyler, Olivia Wilde, Fran Drescher, Zach Braff and Alexis Bledel.

--Andrew Dunn

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Will Joe Biden camp out in Eastover?

Here are the FIVE dishiest things - DNC-wise - we heard about Thursday:

1. Word is that the Veep - aka Joe Biden - may be staying in an Eastover estate next week.

He’ll be motorcading his way to BofA Stadium on Thursday night, when he’ll speak before POTUS.

2. A slew of celebs are confirmed for the three VIP events sponsored by the Creative Coalition, an advocacy group for the entertainment biz. Among the attendees: Patricia Arquette,Alfre Woodard, John Leguizamo, Beau Bridges, Rose Byrne, Tim Daly and Tony Shalhoub.

 But our fav: Wayne Knight, Seinfeld’s nemesis on THE greatest of sitcoms. Say it with me: “Hello, Newman.”

3. “The Daily Show” has decided on a theme for its shows at Charlotte’s ImaginOn. Ready? “DNC 2012: Hope and Change 2.” Its Tampa theme was funnier. “RNC 2012: The Road to Jeb Bush 2016.”

But faux news anchor Jon Stewart should get some ha-ha’s by showing a brief Barack Obama bio-pic. And his “correspondents” will be all over town, taking shots – good-natured, of course – at CLT.

4. “Hug-A-Thug,” the N.C. AFL-CIO is calling it. On Labor Day, at uptown’s CarolinaFest, union members will give out free hugs – the tongue-in-cheek “thug” label is meant to break down stereotypes of union members.

And if you’re a worker, stop by the union’s booth and get a “thank you” card.

5. This from our wacky neighbors in that other Carolina: had 15.5 tons of S.C. sand dropped at the EpiCentre this week.

No, not for the protesters. For “Team Sandtastic” – four sand sculptors who will create a 16-foot-high work of art outside the Blackfinn Saloon that sponsors say will be “mighty presidential.”

-- Tim Funk

Kal is pal of NASCAR

Best place to bump into actor-activist Kal Penn convention week: NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The “Harold & Kumar” star confessed to the Dish that he’s a big fan of the sport. And that he hopes to slip away from the convention long enough to check out all the vintage stock cars on display.

“That’s on my list,” said the co-chair of President Barack Obama’s campaign.

His fav drivers: Joey Logano and Leilani M√ľnter.

-- Tim Funk

Add these names to your celebrities list

If you’re keeping a list, here’s more confirmed celebs for convention week:

  • Rosario Dawson (“Unstoppable”) and America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”) are expected to show at the Voto Latino Policy Forum (Sept. 4) and the “Purple Carpet Bash” (Sept. 5).

  • Kathy Mattea, Anthony Hamilton and Biz Markie will be among the 20-plus acts serenading 15,000 journos at the Charlotte host committee’s $2 mil media party, Saturdayat the N.C. Music Factory.

  • Actress Thora Birch (“American Beauty”) will be here as a California delegate.

       -- Tim Funk

RFK daughter to attend ECHO, Observer events

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Robert F. Kennedy’s oldest daughter, will attend the Echo Foundation's gala Monday night as well as the opening of a photo exhibit on her father's 1968 presidential campaign.

Townsend, a former Maryland lieutenant governor, will accept the Echo Foundation inaugural Family Legacy Award on behalf of the Kennedy family. She'll receive the award at the group's gala at the Knight Theater. The gala, featuring a keynote by Gen. Wesley Clark, honors Jim and Mary Lou Babb.

After the event participants head to the Observer for a reception at the exhibit of photos by Bill Eppridge, who chronicled RFK's '68 campaign.

“As we honor Robert F. Kennedy’s legacy of public service, we celebrate the extraordinary contributions to American democracy of the entire Kennedy family,” said Stephanie Ansaldo, president of The Echo Foundation. “For three generations, the Kennedy name has stood for hope, progress and unity in purpose as we work to build a more just and inclusive society for all people.”
Jim Morrill

Smithsonian curators scooping up history

Harry and Larry are coming to town, so it’s official: Charlotte is about to make history.

Harry Rubenstein and Larry Bird are curators of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in D.C.

And as soon as they get their fill of Tampa, they’re heading to CLT. Wielding large portfolios, they’ll spend convention week collecting campaign signs, buttons, posters, hats, sunglasses and other Obama-Biden 2012 novelties.

Talk about a cool job!

“Harry and Larry,” as they’re known, have been collecting convention stuff since the late ‘80s. Some of what they carry off ends up in exhibitions such as “The American Presidency” and “The First Ladies.”

In the Queen City, these scholarly Smithsonian dudes will also interview delegates, vendors, convention speakers, protesters … maybe even a few journos. (Give us a call, guys.)

-- Tim Funk

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

McCrory to rebut Democrats in Charlotte during DNC

Republican gubernatorial candidate and former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory will in fact be here for part of the Democratic National Convention, a spokesman confirmed today.

On Tuesday, the first official day of the convention, McCrory will be part of the Republican contingent fielding calls and doing press interviews to rebut the Democrats' talking points.

After that, he'll head to points east on his campaign.

McCrory played a similar role in 2004 during the Democratic National Convention in Boston. That year, you'll recall, John Edwards was on the ticket.

McCrory is, however, skipping the Republican convention in Tampa this week to campaign in the western part of the state. While he's in Charlotte during the convention, he might do a little campaigning among the Democrats, the News and Observer's Rob Christensen notes.

“I am proud the convention is there,” McCrory told the N&O. “I am going to try to get them to spend as much money in our state as possible to help our economy. Then I am going to try to convince as many of them who are attending from North Carolina to vote for Pat McCrory for governor. So I am going to be campaigning in Charlotte part of that time.”

Read more here:

--Andrew Dunn

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dems still having trouble saying 'Bank of America Stadium'?

Looks like those emails referring to Charlotte's football venue as "Panthers Stadium" may not have been a fluke.

In an interview with CNN, Los Angeles mayor and Democratic National Convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa stumbled a bit when asked by CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin about the reports of referring to Bank of America Stadium by another name. Villaraigosa is in Tampa this week to provide a counterpoint to the Republican convention.

"Do you have a problem with a big-bank sponsor?" Baldwin asked him.

Villaraigosa said he didn't, but noted that the Panthers do play there and that they're a "great football team." (He a fan?)

"I'm just calling it the football stadium," he said. He also said the convention is proud to be in Charlotte and in North Carolina.

The video was posted to YouTube by a Republican organization, but you can verify its context by reading a transcript provided by CNN itself.

--Andrew Dunn

Monday, August 27, 2012

Rehearsing a 2-minute speech at the RNC

Republican Richard Hudson planned to take the podium in the Tampa Bay Times Forum Monday, but not to address delegates. Instead, he was going to practice.

Organizers scheduled a 30-minute rehearsal for Hudson’s 2-minute speech on Tuesday. The congressional candidate in the 8th District will speak to delegates, or as many of them are in the hall on Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m going to make the point that President Obama’s policies, supported by (incumbent Democratic Rep.) Larry Kissell, are hurting real North Carolinians,” he said.

Another GOP congressional candidate, David Rouzer in the competitive 7th District, also will speak to delegates.

One congressional candidate who won’t is Charlotte’s Jack Brosch. He’s running in the heavily Democratic 12th District against longtime Rep. Mel Watt. He didn’t seem bothered by the speaking snub.

“I understand there’s a limited amount of time and pretty much an unlimited amount of candidates,” he said.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

AP: Charlotte stuck with N.C.

AP has spoken: Wire service stories about our big-enough-to-get-the-DNC city will continue to have Charlotte, N.C., not just Charlotte, as the dateline.

CLT crusader Jill Santuccio got the dispiriting news in an email from thDavid Mintorn, AP Stylebook co-editor.

“AP stories are transmitted globally, and more detailed datelines help readers overseas and elsewhere grasp news locations,” he e-wrote.

So why standalone datelines for Denver? Baltimore? St. friggin’ Louis?

Santuccio – owner of PRISM Communications, a Charlotte PR firm – says she’s not giving up.

Next step: A petition!

DNC price-gouged on hotel rooms?

Did Charlotte hotels price-gouge the DNC?

That's what Nashville superdelegate Will T. Cheek tells the Tennessean newspaper. Public officials in the state capital have been considering whether the city should put in a bid to host a political convention, encouraged by the decision to choose relatively-small Charlotte.

But Cheek said convention organizers have run into problems with the size of the market, including hotel chains jacking up prices because they knew the DNC would have no other options. To find space for all the state delgations, the DNC had to spill over into neighboring towns.

"Charlotte is becoming real difficult," the eighth-time convention-goer told the Tennessean.

Cheek declined to speak to the Observer on the subject.

Real-life hero brings history

East Mecklenburg High School has landed a real American hero as its convention week speaker.

U.S. Rep . John Lewis, a star of the civil rights movement, will take a break from the convention on Sept. 5 to tell an auditorium full of students how crucial it is to stay in school, get an education and prepare for life.

The Georgia congressman will also talk about his own youth: At 21, as a seminary student-turned-Freedom Rider, he got beat up by bigots for daring to pass through a “whites-only” entrance at the Rock Hill bus station.

That was 1961. Four years later, while marching for voting rights in Alabama, he suffered a skull fracture when cops billy-clubbed him. In between – 1963 – he joined Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in speaking at the March on Washington.

Introducing Lewis to the students at East Meck will be former CLT Mayor Harvey Gantt, who made civil rights history himself when he became the first black student to be admitted to Clemson University.

Joan O’Brien, executive director of the East Meck HS Foundation, said she’s been working since March to get Lewis.

"He said 'yes' right away; since then, it's been staying in touch," she said. "I decided if we were going to have all these congressmen in town, we should get one well respected on both sides of the aisle."

-- Tim Funk

Caroline Kennedy, Eva Longoria to speak at convention

Caroline Kennedy and actress Eva Longoria are among the latest speakers to be added to the DNC slate this morning.

Both are co-chairwomen of President Obama's re-election campaign.

Other speakers announced this morning:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sandra Fluke will speak at convention

A Democratic official says Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke has been added to the roster of speakers at next month's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

In an incident that Democrats charged was part of a GOP "war on women," Fluke was called a slut by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh for favoring President Barack Obama's health care law requiring contraception coverage.

No day or time for Fluke's speech has been released, but she's expected to reach out to women voters and, like all the other Democratic convention speakers, cast Obama as the best choice for the middle class.

-- Tim Funk

Top five things the outside world is learning about Charlotte

With the DNC convention rolling into town in (only) 14 days, just about every national news organization has dispatched someone to Charlotte to tell their readers what they should expect when they get here. And it seems like the city can all be summed up in just a few themes.

That’s not to say they’re incorrect or misleading. A number of the publications tapped local (or semi-local) reporters to unveil the Queen City. But they are undoubtedly interesting.

Here are the unofficial top five things the outside world is learning about Charlotte, ranked by number of mentions in the city profiles I’ve found.

1) It’s the second-largest financial center outside New York. No, the Bank Town moniker hasn’t faded a bit. Yes, Bank of America is headquartered here, despite rare appearances from CEO Brian Moynihan. Hugh McColl will sometimes make a bonus appearance. (Boston Globe, New York Times, National Journal, Tampa Bay Times, Huffington Post, Associated Press(x 2), CNN)

2) This is the “New South.” We have skyscrapers, we care about more than Nascar and Billy Graham, we’ve outgrown tobacco and textiles, we compete with Atlanta. We even have a museum devoted to it. This storyline often gets mixed up in a discussion of North Carolina as a swing state, rapidly urbanizing yet keeping a rural core. The recent gay marriage constitutional amendment, which Mecklenburg County voted against, is Exhibit A. (Boston Globe, National Journal, Tampa Bay Times, Associated Press (x 2), Washington Times, National Journal, CNN, Huffington Post)

3) There aren’t many unions here. North Carolina is the least unionized state, and Charlotte is its business hub. Labor unions are mad Democrats picked here to host their convention. (Tampa Bay Times, National Journal, New York Times, Associated Press, Huffington Post)

4) Amelie’s is a cool place. No local establishment has gotten more attention than the trendy-cool NoDa joint. Price’s Chicken Coop is probably in second. (Boston Globe, New York Times, CNN, Associated Press)

5) We’re a little insecure. Charlotte is a city that hasn’t quite found its footing. We have an “inferiority complex,” and we’re even a “debutant.” Only a few publications went straight out and said it; it’s often couched in the banks’ struggles and the city’s reinvention. (Washington Times, Associated Press, National Journal)

--Andrew Dunn

Charlotte ‘easy’ on Brit eyes

Here’s how The Mirror, one of the national tabloids in the UK, begins its DNC-themed travel piece on CLT:

“Barack Obama has a hot date with Charlotte . . . and you can hardly blame him for falling for her charms.”

The smitten Brit author also called CLT “hip,” “chic” “easy on the eye” and “hard to leave.”

And this on the city’s colonial past: “One minute Charlotte’s founding fathers were currying favor with Britain by naming the city after King George III's bride. The next they were severing all ties, getting in the act before the American Declaration of Independence.”

-- Tim Funk

Exhibit revisits Chicago '68

For all its hassles, hosting a national political convention is still a major get for any U.S. metropolis. But for Chicago in 1968, it was a nightmare that still conjures up brutal images.

Starting Monday, CLT's Light Factory will spotlight those B&W pictures of club-wielding police officers and provacative protesters in an exhibit called "Out in the Streets."

 On Oct. 13, the factory will bring to town two of the leading figures in that Dem convention drama: veteran activist Tom Hayden, part of the “Chicago 7” charged with inciting a riot, and N.C.-born photographer Duane Hall, who used a “shoot and run” style as he was chased by Chicago cops.

-- Tim Funk

Monday, August 20, 2012

Taylor, Crow to sing final night?

James Taylor and Sheryl Crow as warm-up acts for President Barack Obama?

 That was the claim buried five paragraphs into a Monday story by

The two A-list performers, the Hollywoody Web site said, “will entertain the people at Bank of America Stadium on Thursday, September 6 before (Obama) makes his acceptance speech. More artists are expected to be added.”

 True or false?

 “I don’t have any further details to announce about the convention program at this time,” e-said Joanne Peters of the Democratic National Convention Committee.

 The Dish has learned that Tar Heel native Taylor has been on the road singing for small groups of big Obama donors. And that he has some convention gig in Charlotte.

--Tim Funk

DNC announces more speakers

The Democratic National Convention today announced more speakers for its Sept. 4-6 gathering:

-- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
-- California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris
-- Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
-- Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine
-- U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts
-- Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley 
-- Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick
-- Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland

-- Jim Morrill

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Kennedy clan decamping to CLT

 No word on whether Ethel Kennedy will attend “Ethel,” an upcoming HBO doc about her that’s in the Impact Film Festival lineup convention week. (At uptown Charlotte's Mez & EpiCentre Theaters.)

But RFK’s widow – now 84 – will be in CLT.

She’ll join about two dozen members of the Kennedy clan at the DNC, says the Bah-ston Globe.

Grandson Joseph Kennedy III, a candidate for Congress, will introduce a video salute to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy on the convention’s opening night.

-- Tim Funk 

The Dude, Mo Rocca impact players in CLT

Looks like the Dude is comin’, man.

We’re talking about movie actor Jeff Bridges, who played The Dude in “The Big Lebowski.” And Rooster Cogburn in “True Grit.” And the whiskey-soaked country crooner in “Crazy Heart” – the part that won him an Oscar.

Bridges is on the tentative attendee list for the Impact Film Festival, set for convention week at uptown’s Mez & EpiCentre Theaters.

Also expected to come to the fest: Mo Rocca.

We know him as the snarky-funny guy on “CBS Sunday Morning” and NPR’s “Wait, Wait – Don’t Tell Me.” But in CLT, he’s scheduled to screen “Electoral Dysfunction,” his timely road-trip pic on how voting works (and doesn’t) in these United (not really) States.

-- Tim Funk

Saturday, August 18, 2012

L.A mayor’s party will glam uptown

An army of A-list celebs and politicos are expected to show up at the N.C. Music Factory on Sept. 5 for a Hollywood-themed gala hosted by L.A. Mayor – and Dem convention chairman – Antonio Villaraigosa.

The Dish has learned that the Factory’s Fountain Plaza and Osso Restaurant will get a one-night make-over. Picture palm trees, hints of classic L.A. architecture and lots of California wine.

Villaraigosa offered his vision for the party during a recent CLT stopover. Dining at Osso with Factory prez Noah Lazes, His Honor said he’d invite stars.

"I’ll call Eva," he name-dropped – a reference to former "Desperate Housewife" Eva Longoria, now a national co-chair of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

The event is a benefit gala under the glamorous auspices of The Creative Coalition, an advocacy group for the arts and entertainment community.

Based on its Web site photos (, the group draws some of Hollywood’s hottest to their events.

Set to perform "Love Shack" and other dance-able hits that night: The B-52s.

 -- Tim Funk

Acoustic Syndicate to play DNC week event

News about entertainment for the week of the Democratic National Convention has begun to roll in, but many of these concerts and events will be private or invitation only. However, some shows like the Third Party events presented by the Quazimoto Group featuring local visual and musical artists at various uptown venues (more on that to come), will be open to the public.

The Neighborhood Theatre announced this week that regional favorites Acoustic Syndicate will return to the NoDa venue for Occupy Your Mind Thursday, September 6. The Western Carolina group will share the stage with Brooklyn's Breaking Laces and Folly Beach, SC's Dangermuffin. Tickets are $10 and available through

Also open to the public are previously announced concerts from R&B singer Kem at Ovens Auditorium and the Rock the Red concert with Travis Tritt, Lee Brice, and the Charlie Daniels Band at Bojangles' Coliseum. Both of those concerts take place Wednesday, September 5. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster outlets.

--Courtney Devores

Friday, August 17, 2012

Facebook lays out its convention plans

Facebook is sometimes known for ill-advised party pics, but during the DNC, the newly public social media giant will be hosting shindigs of its own.

No word, though, on whether Mark Zuckerberg and his hoodie will make an appearance in Charlotte.

The company unveiled its plans for Charlotte and the RNC in Tampa this week through a post on a page run by its Politics & Government team.

Facebook will host receptions "honoring pro-technology legislators and highlighting the contributions of leading high-tech innovators to the strength of the American economy," the company said.

The company is also throwing an "Apps & Drinks" party where developers and Facebook's public policy staff will show off their politics apps. On convention Monday, the company will participate in a forum talking about social media's impact on the 2012 election.

Facebook is also co-sponsoring StartUp RockOn events sponsoring entrepreneurs.

Facebook went public earlier this year, and has been under considerable government scrutiny in recent years since it collects so much personal data. Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission finalized a settlement with the company over privacy controls requiring audits for two decades.

The company has also ramped up its federal lobbying spending. Facebook spent $960,000 on U.S. federal lobbying in the second quarter of this year, according to federal records. It's spent $1.6 million in the first half of the year, after spending $1.35 million all of last year.

--Andrew Dunn