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Duke Energy CEO calls for clean energy at DNC

Co-chair of host committee endorses Obama energy policy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers, co-chair of the host committee, talked up clean energy in remarks Thursday before the Democratic National Convention.

The grandfather of eight said the nation must be able to pass the “grandchildren test” in making decisions that will affect future generations.

“One way we can make this world a better place for our grandkids is to lay the groundwork for a cleaner, more sustainable future,” he said, according to prepared remarks.

“Among other things, that means taking a long-term approach toward energy policy – because these decisions should not be made in four-year election cycles.”

He endorsed President Barack Obama’s “all of the above” energy strategy, which embraces nuclear power as well as wind and solar energy.

Rogers is in an ambiguous position on both political and energy issues.

Duke, under his leadership, became a target of critics for its prominent support of a convention that refused corporate contributions.

Rogers was in charge of raising nearly $37 million; Duke underwrote a $10 million line of credit for the DNC.

Greenpeace and other groups, meanwhile, this week protested Duke’s donations to the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.

And they call Rogers insincere for talking up clean energy while building coal-fired power plants.

Rogers closed by touting Envision Charlotte, the uptown energy-efficiency and water-conservation campaign.

“I know that we – the American people – have the ability: To lead the world. To meet today’s energy challenges. To cross the bridge to a cleaner, more secure world. And, most importantly, to leave our grandchildren with a place where they can thrive,” he said.

Native son warms up crowd

Chapel Hill’s James Taylor got a laugh when he took the stage at the DNC and looked at his seat.

“An empty chair. That makes you nervous, doesn’t it?” he said. “I’m going to sit in it, not talk to it.”

He started by inviting the North Carolina delegates, who were seated front and center, to join him in singing “Carolina in My Mind.”

And they did, standing, waving their raised arms, singing and smiling as an army of news photographers crouched in front of them to snap pictures of this Tar Heel moment.

Taylor, wearing a modified cowboy hat, was a popular performer with the whole hall clapping and swaying during his renditions of “How Sweet It Is” and “You’ve Got a Friend.”

Who fired up Obama?

One of Thursday night’s stars: Edith Childs, from Greenwood, S.C.

Also known as The “Fired Up! Ready to Go!” lady.

In a video shown to delegates – and TV viewers – Childs and President Obama told the story of how “Fired Up!” became the unofficial chant of the Obama campaign in 2008.

“I got Barack Obama all fired up,” Childs said in the video.

Then Obama, in footage shot during a campaign stop four years ago, spoke about being driven to Greenwood – a town “an hour and a half from everywhere else,” he cracked – where he was greeted by an underwhelming crowd of 20 people.

But then ...

Obama heard a voice behind him: “Fired up!” He looked behind him and saw “this small woman ... with a big churchy hat,” Obama recalled.

That was the night “Fired up! Ready to Go!” was born for Obama supporters, and delegates watching the video Thursday night picked up the chant, raising the rafters.

South Carolina Democrats, meanwhile, are so proud of Childs’ gift to the Obama campaign that the state’s delegates repeated the chant six times in the wee hours of Thursday morning when they were called on to cast their ballots during the roll call of the states.

Bandanas as job protection?

Mary McCray, vice chair of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board, said as she arrived Thursday that she’d enjoyed watching the protesters, but one thing puzzled her: “I don’t understand why they want to wear bandanas. If you believe in your cause, be public about it.”

But she had an idea:

“I know later on they’re probably going to be part of corporate America. Maybe they don’t want it to come back and bite them in the butt.”

A real outsider view

Journalists from all over the world came to Charlotte, from Iran to China.

Young Jin Ju, a South Korean reporter from Seoul Broadcasting System, said he hadn’t had much time to experience Charlotte but said the convention “looks like a festival.”

In South Korea, he noted, parties select their nominee the night of the convention.

Ricardo Mir De Francia, Washington correspondent for the Spanish newspaper El Periodico in Barcelona, said he thought the convention was well-organized.

He also added: “No candidate (in Spain) would talk about personal matters for more than two minutes.”

Staff writers Bruce Henderson, Ann Doss Helms, Tim Funk and Victoria Guida contributed

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