Live from the DNC: Days 1 and 2

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Day 1- Welcome to Charlotte!

After arriving in the Queen City Sunday evening, Monday morning for us
began with a stop at the Tennessee delegation’s welcome breakfast and some free
time to socialize with fellow Democrats and explore Charlotte. As Monday was
Labor Day, the common 4-day convention schedule was condensed to 3 to allow
staff, delegates and volunteers to enjoy the day with their friends and families. Many
commentators point to this as a politically poignant move, as North Carolina’s status
as a right-to-work state has put a strain on the relationship between that of the
national Democratic powers and members of the Democratic Party’s pro-union
faction in North Carolina.

Monday afternoon saw the release of the Democratic Party’s official
platform. Openly advocating for the legalization of gay marriage for the first time
and scaling back specific pro-Israel language, the DNC’s platform raised a few
eyebrows; however, this year’s platform dissented little from traditional Democratic
values.

Also on Monday, DNC organizers really promoted their “Carolina Fest” in
Midtown between Time Warner Cable Arena, the convention hall itself, and Bank
of America Stadium, the venue where President Obama will accept his party’s
re-nomination Thursday night in front of over 70,000 people. Carolina Fest was a
great time with lots of (fried) food, political vendors pushing their buttons, shirts,
etc. and some great historical exhibits ranging from presidential archives to former
Secretary of State Madeline Albrights extensive broach collection. After exploring
what downtown Charlotte had to offer, we (along with 20,000 others) reported to
the DNC credential headquarters Monday afternoon to pick up our Secret Service-
issued credentials for the week’s proceedings and receive our schedule including
caucus meetings and, more importantly, after parties. After a trip to the arena to
check out the backstage areas (which was temporarily halted as Michelle Obama
was brought into the building for her final dress rehearsal before speaking Monday
night) and finding the location of the Tennessee delegation on the convention floor,
we attending a reception hosted by a political consulting firm and then had dinner
with our traveling party. A late night return trip to our DNC hotel ended a fast-paced
first day at this year’s Democratic convention. Looking forward to the convention
being gaveled in tomorrow and things really getting started!

Day 2- The First Lady Sets the Bar High

The 2012 Democratic National Convention was called to order Tuesday
afternoon with thousands of dignitaries, delegates and guests gathering to nominate
President Barack Obama for another term as our nation’s president. The 6,000+
delegates at the Charlotte convention is a record high number for either party, with
the DNC promoting this year’s pool of delegates as “the most diverse, most
representative” ever assembled.

Democrats were set to hear a primetime keynote address from San Antonio
Mayor Julian Castro and a word from First Lady Michelle Obama. The evening
began with a barrage of parliamentary issues being taken care of, including officially

adopting the party’s platform. Following the housekeeping matters, the various
speeches began with all speakers sticking near the same talking points. Embracing
the term “Obamacare” for the first time as their own term for the Affordable Care
Act rather than allowing the GOP to demonize the legislation, the vast majority of
Democrats that spoke Tuesday night praised the Obama-backed healthcare reform
and painted Republicans, particularly Mitt Romney, as out of touch with everyday
Americans.

In primetime, Mayor Castro of San Antonio preached egalitarianism and
opportunity for all in a stirring speech that whipped the sign-waving convention
hall into a frenzy, but it was clear, at the end of the evening, that the night belonged
to the First Lady. Michelle Obama’s personal plea to the American people sounded
more like a wise stump speech from an experienced politician than your traditional
first lady’s address. With the accolades pouring in from both sides of the isle for
Mrs. Obama, many speculate now if a political future for the first lady’s horizon.
With that, the first day of the convention concluded with most deeming it a great
success.

About author

Austin Brown

Austin is a junior in the college of Arts and Science majoring in Economics and History. A native of Hermitage, TN- home of President Andrew Jackson- Austin has been active in Tennessee politics from an early age. He has worked for Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, the Tennessee Democratic party and currently serves as a lobbyist aid for the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Additionally, Austin takes great pride in supporting Vanderbilt Athletics as he is chairman of the Vanderbilt Programming Board's athletic committee and a member of the National Commodore Club.

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