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Charlotte’s DNC is like Mardi Gras

By Doug Robarchek

CHARLOTTE, N.C. There was a kind of Mardi Gras feel to the uptown streets Tuesday, with preachers thundering messages of doom, people in funny hats, men in Obama masks and a young woman dressed as a giant mosquito.

Sidewalks were filled with strollers, news crews doing interviews, and vendors hawking T-shirts, campaign buttons and more. We liked the buttons saying “Once you vote black you’ll never go back,” and the ones picturing Redd Foxx as Fred Sanford, saying: “Vote Obama! You big dummy.” We also liked the “Run DNC” T-shirts.

And again, police galore. With so many police from everywhere, we figure the world doughnut industry must be taking a beating.

Also underfoot everywhere were media people. There were so many of us media types running around, it looked like Hell had opened up and all the riffraff had poured out. It was a great opportunity for reporters to stand around interviewing each other.

Not us, though. We were on the job, interviewing delegate Jerry Maciejewski of Glendale, Wis. He took our Unconventional Convention Quiz. The first question:

Outfront: If Mitt Romney has good enough judgment to be president, how can you account for the fact that he has a son called “Tagg?”

Jerry: “That’s a good question. You’ve got to wonder about that.”

Our hard-hitting follow-up question: He seems to be into kids’ games for names. If he had daughters, do you think he’d name them “Hopscotch” and “Jumprope”?

Jerry: “Probably, knowing him. Doesn’t he have a real funny name for his dog, too? Anybody who gives his dog a ride on the top of his car, he’s a little goofy if you ask me.”

Maciejewski said everybody in Charlotte is “really nice.” He obviously hasn’t met some of the women we’ve dated.

It was another hot, muggy morning uptown, the kind of day when a less-dedicated journalist might be tempted to spend the afternoon interviewing bartenders in cool, dark saloons.

General manager Angelo Tsepelis was drawing the suds at the French Quarter on Church Street. He said they hadn’t gotten too much convention business. “We’re kind of out of the way here,” he said. “We get busy for Panthers games.”

We asked a bartender who identified herself only as Liz at the Wild Wings Café in the Epicentre, “Are Democrats big drinkers?”

“Yes,” she said. Hey, don’t beat around the bush, Liz.

We interviewed several other bartenders, but they didn’t have anything to report. Or maybe they did. We forget.

Another memorable day at the Democratic Convention.

Robarchek is retired Observer humor columnist
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