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No cash, but bring on gift cards

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  • Tim Funk’s Dish on DNC

    Days till gavel

    133

    The maestros who light up Charlotte’s newest skyscraper with a variety of colors have been going red, white and blue on us lately.

    So, the Dish asked: Are they making the Duke Energy Center look like Old Glory as a way of practicing for the upcoming Democratic National Convention?

    As it turns out, the Wells Fargo folks who flip the multicolored light switches were saluting WBT’s 90th anniversary celebration (on April 10) and the U.S. Olympic Trials at the U.S. National Whitewater Center (on April 12-13).

    But Alexandra Ball at Wells Fargo did tell us to expect some pretty patriotic light shows when the Democrats – and all those TV news cameras – come to town.

    Said Ball: “I think it would be safe to say that red, white and blue will probably feature prominently in our lighting schemes throughout the course of the convention.”

    BTW, you can track the building’s colors each day on Twitter: @WellsLightsCLT.

    DNC-bound reporters check out Levine

    So where do national reporters coming to the convention go to get a crash course in Charlotte and its history?

    Correct answer: Uptown’s Levine Museum of the New South.

    Tom Hanchett, the indispensable historian at the award-winning museum, says reporters from Fortune magazine and Southern California Public Radio have been by to tour the exhibits.

    Another staffer at Levine told us the museum is also really hoping they’ll get a fact-finding visit from Jon Stewart. The faux anchor of Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” will be setting up shop at ImaginON, right next door to Levine.

    Women, pull up a chair at Irish pub

    The National Women’s Political Caucus has reserved Rí Rá, uptown’s Irish pub, for its Sept. 2 reception welcoming women to CLT.

    The N.C. host will be Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, who got the caucus’ endorsement during her 2010 run for the U.S. Senate.

    Attendees are expected to include female officeholders and candidates from all over the USA. It’ll cost you $75 to go to the 2-4 p.m. event. To register, email betinna@nwpc.org or visit www.nwpc.org.

    Hey, got a convention tip?

    Tell us what you know. Contact the Dish: 704-358-5703. Or: tfunk@charlotteobserver.com

    .



In its quest for $37 million to pay for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Charlotte’s host committee will not take corporate cash.

But gift cards – lots of them – from corporations? That’s apparently OK.

POLITICO reported last week that mega-retailer Wal-Mart Stores has given the host committee $50,000 in gift cards.

A host committee official confirmed the donation of the gift cards, but said they are considered in-kind contributions, so they don’t violate the strict Democratic National Committee rules against taking corporate cash.

“Charlotte in 2012 (the host committee) may only accept in-kinds that offer budget relief,” the Charlotte-based official told POLITICO. “And this gift is intended to be used exclusively for office supplies required by the contract.”

Because Wal-Mart does not set up “in-kind accounts” for office supplies, the official added, it gave gift cards.

Nonprofit Quarterly reporter Rick Cohen weighed in, posing this question to readers: “Do you think that a donation of $50,000 in gift cards is different enough from greenbacks to allow the DNC to maintain its principle of not accepting money from corporations to pay for the event?” Tim Funk

First Lady: Thanks, y’all

First lady Michelle Obama reached out last week to the Obama campaign’s N.C. volunteers.

In a conference call, she thanked them for being “the heart and soul” of her husband’s re-election campaign.

“The hard work of knocking on doors, and making calls…getting folks fired up and ready to go…all that work is at the core of everything we’re doing. And that’s what’s going to make the difference in this election,” Obama said.

She covered some talking points for volunteers to use while campaigning for President Barack Obama – naming health care reform, payroll tax cuts and help for military veterans returning to the workforce as some of his accomplishments.

And she and the president, she said, will be spending a lot of time in North Carolina – a key swing state and home to the national convention. Celeste Smith

Obama will do late night TV in Chapel Hill

When President Barack Obama visits Chapel Hill Tuesday, he’ll do more than make a speech at Carmichael Arena about interest rates on student loans. He’ll tape an appearance on NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” with musician Dave Matthews.

The show is scheduled to air Tuesday night.

It will be Obama’s first visit as president to the campus. It also will be his first gig on Fallon’s show, but not his first late night appearance.

The president has appeared on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart and “Tonight” with Jay Leno. Jim Morrill

Calling all subcontractors

Three months from the start of the temporary upfit of Time Warner Cable Arena, convention officials last week issued requests for proposals for prequalified subcontractors.

The RFPs are for work including scaffolding, millwork, drywall and framing, and painting. Jim Morrill

Like father, not like son

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will attend the convention in Charlotte, but wants to low-key it while he’s here, reports the New York Daily News.

The governor’s famous father, Mario Cuomo, electrified delegates – and TV viewers – during the 1984 Democratic convention.

In his “Tale of Two Cities” speech, the elder Cuomo, then governor of New York, rebuffed President Ronald Reagan’s description of America as a “Shining City on a Hill” by pointing out the many have-nots in the country.

Though the speech put Cuomo on the national political radar, it also brought him increased scrutiny as he considered a run for president in 1992.

“Mario got too big too early, and (Andrew Cuomo) doesn’t want to do that,” one insider told the Daily News.

Still, look for Cuomo to get lots of attention in Charlotte. He’s on all the lists of possible 2016 presidential contenders. Tim Funk

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