Tales from the Trail

Charlotte’s web catches Democratic convention

It’s Charlotte for the 2012 Democratic national political convention.

Democrats picked the banking center and Republicans chose Tampa, Florida, for their convention — highlighting the importance of the South to winning the White House next year. ROUTE-RECOVERY/

In the 2008 election, Obama became the first Democrat to win North Carolina — by about 14,000 votes over Republican candidate John McCain –  since President Jimmy Carter in 1976.

First lady Michelle Obama, in a letter to Democrats, described Charlotte as a city “marked by its southern charm, warm hospitality, and an ‘up by the bootstraps’ mentality that has propelled the city forward as one of the fastest-growing in the South. Vibrant, diverse, and full of opportunity, the Queen City is home to innovative, hardworking folks with big hearts and open minds. And of course, great barbecue.”

Queen City is a reference to German Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg who was the wife of  British King George III.

It is also nicknamed “The Hornet’s Nest” from the American Revolutionary War when British General Cornwallis, after being driven out by residents, complained that Charlotte was “a veritable hornet’s nest of rebellion.”

Kaine introduces Obama, spurring VP talk

RICHMOND, VA. – Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine  introduced Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama at a townhall event on Thursday, spurring the latest flurry of speculation about whether an announcement was imminent on Obama’s running-mate pick.
Kaine, along with Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh and Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden, obamakaine.jpgare thought to be among the finalists to become Obama’s vice presidential running-mate.
Obama and Kaine appeared together at an event on the economy at a community college in Chester, Virginia. It was part of a two-and-a-half day bus tour through the state.
Further stoking media interest in Kaine was a visit by him to Obama’s hotel in Richmond on Thursday morning.
But Obama’s campaign played down the significance of that.
“They’re just riding over to the event together,  pretty standard fare,” said Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
After meeting for 15 minutes with Obama at the hotel, Kaine walked out with him. Pressed by a reporter about the VP talks,  he said, “I’m going to let the campaign speak for the campaign.”

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage. 

Photo credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria (Barack Obama and Tim Kaine wave to supporters in picture taken February 9)

Obama, with sniffles, reassures Democrats about White House win

obama2.jpgALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico – Democrats are getting nervous — and Barack Obama seems to sense it.

The Illinois senator, fresh from a trip to Hawaii where he picked up a cold, has been rallying supporters in the past two days, urging them not to be anxious about Republican attacks that have helped lift Arizona Sen. John McCain in the polls.

“Everywhere I go people have told me, ‘Oh, I’m getting nervous. The Republicans — they’re so mean … What are we going to do?’” Obama told a town hall meeting with some 1,800 people on Monday.

Obama says John Edwards won’t be at Democratic convention

HONOLULU – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says his former rival John Edwards, who disclosed on Friday that he  had an extramarital affair in 2006, would likely not be attending the party’s convention later this month.
Edwards, a former vice presidential candidate who bowed out of the raedwards.jpgce for the Democratic presidential nomination earlier this year, was said to be in the running for a high-level position in a potential Obama administration, including attorney general.
Probably not anymore.
The Illinois senator, when asked about Edwards, told reporters in Hawaii he thought the former North Carolina senator and his wife, Elizabeth, had already decided not to attend the Democratic convention in Denver in late August.
“If I’m not mistaken I think that … the Edwards family indicated that they probably wouldn’t be attending the convention,” Obama told reporters. 
Healing,  yes. But Obama no doubt also wants to avoid another distraction at an event that he hopes will emphasize his campaign message of change and party unity.
Edwards endorsed Obama in May while the primary contest against Hillary Clinton was still running. He told television network ABC on Friday that he didn’t think he had a political career in his future. 

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jeff Haynes (John Edwards and Barack Obama at a rally in Grand Rapids,  Michigan,  May 14, 2008)

Do Americans have ‘Obama fatigue?’

CHICAGO – Are the magazine cover stories on Barack Obama and the blanket coverage of him on television and in newspapers creating voter “fatigue” with the candidate?

A Pew poll released this week suggests the Democratic presidential candidate may be overexposed and Obama himself did not disagree when asked about it on his campaign plane on Thursday.rtr20kqt.jpg

Forty-eight percent of voters in the Pew survey said they have been “hearing too much” about Obama. By contrast, only 26 percent said they had heard too much about McCain.

Pelosi keeps Hillary’s VP embers glowing

WASHINGTON – Pundits see Hillary Clinton fading as a possible running mate for Democrat Barack Obama. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday referred to her as “the big name” who “would make a great vice president.”

In an interview with Reuters on a range of political and rtx885x.jpglegislative topics (as well as her new book “Know Your Power, A Message to America’s Daughters”), Pelosi said there was a deep bench Obama could choose from in rounding out the Democratic ticket.

Pelosi was asked whether the Obama campaign had signaled Clinton was out of the running because the New York senator and ex-presidential candidate has been slotted to speak on the Tuesday of the Aug 25-28 Democratic convention. The vice presidential nominee traditionally addresses the convention on Wednesday while Obama will speak on the final evening — Thursday.

Are you going to the conventions in St. Paul and Denver?

convention.jpgAre you going to the Democratic convention in Denver or the Republican convention in St. Paul?

This year’s nominating conventions are poised to be some of the most exciting and newsworthy in decades. And because of new technology and online distribution, entire elections can now hinge on moments captured not by traditional journalists, but by ordinary citizens and those closest to the action.

Reuters is looking for participants in a new mobile journalism project that will capture this year’s conventions from the ground up. We will be equipping attendees with video cameras, and helping them to shoot footage from their own perspective and upload it to Reuters.com and other sites.