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All in the family: Women called to serve

By Carmen Cusido
ccusido@charlotteobserver.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. For Mecklenburg County delegate Pat Cotham, her niece and her daughter, the Democratic National Convention this week also serves as a family reunion.

Growing up, Cotham and her siblings were always told they came from good stock and from strong women, and that’s a message she passed along to her daughter, N.C. Rep. Tricia Cotham, D-Mecklenburg. It’s also a message that Maine Rep. Emily Cain’s father – Cotham’s brother – also passed along to her.

Now Pat Cotham and her niece, Cain, are both convention delegates and also running for office this year.

“This is going to be a special week for the country, but for us, it’s extra special for our family,” said Cain, 32.

Pat Cotham is running for an at-large seat on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, and Cain, Maine’s House minority leader, is running for state Senate this November.

Cain said she is not surprised her aunt is running for office in Mecklenburg County.

“It’s just natural to compare notes,” about their respective campaigns, Cain said. “When it’s in the family, there’s something special about it. We have so many dynamic women in our family who are not afraid to be in politics,” Cain added.

Tricia Cotham, 33, who is running for re-election this year, served as a delegate in Denver in 2008. The younger Cotham said it was “great bragging rights” to have her mother and her cousin serve as DNC delegates. Carmen Cusido

Jackson: ‘We are better off’

Yes, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, told North Carolina delegates Wednesday morning, Americans are better off than they were four years ago.

Answering a GOP attack against President Barack Obama, Jackson said people who have health care coverage who didn’t have it before are better off, General Motors is better off and troops who have returned from Iraq are better off.

“We are better off, and we’re getting better,” he said. “We’re not going back.”

Jackson made a surprise appearance at the North Carolina delegate breakfast at the Democratic National Convention. (Raleigh) News & Observer

Harpootlian’s remark irks Haley

South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian dismissed Gov. Nikki Haley’s daily press conferences at the Democratic National Convention as taking place “in a bunker a la Eva Braun” – a reference to the girlfriend of Adolf Hitler.

“She was down in the bunker a la Eva Braun,” Harpootlian told delegates during their delegation breakfast meeting. “They have gone to the bowels of (the NASCAR Hall of Fame) so we can’t see them.”

S.C. Republicans were quick to pounce on the remark, saying that Harpootlian had called Haley a Nazi. Matt Moore, executive director of the S.C. Republican Party, posted on his Twitter page that Harpootlian’s comments “are despicable and require an apology.”

Haley – speaking with a group of other surrogates for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney Wednesday – called Harpootlian “an angry hateful man who continues to embarrass South Carolina every time he opens his mouth.”

Harpootlian said he was not calling Haley a Nazi. And he said he was not speaking for all South Carolina Democrats.

“A hit dog howls,” he said. The (Columbia) State

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