Highs & Lows of the DNC

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Highs & Lows of the DNC

of the convention experience

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Bless our hearts

Charlotteans are friendly and nice, according to scads of reports. Wrote Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times: “The good people of Charlotte have been exceedingly friendly. I’ve been greeted with smiles and ‘How’s it going?’ at every turn.” Hollywood producer Brent Roske said: “Every question we’ve asked has been answered with a smile. That sounds like a cliche. But it has blown me away. People smile in Los Angeles, as long as they’re in front of a camera.”

They protected, served and danced

Samuel Smith and four other “traffic jammin’ ” deputies from Clayton County, Ga., revved up the streets with their gesticulations. Their viral-video fame made them momentary celebrities.

Can we drop the N.C. off Schlepperville?

“I love real city cities – New York, Boston, Philly, San Francisco – not these spread-out schlepperville places with no there there.” – U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, as quoted by the New York Post’s Cindy Adams.

The growing umbrella patch

Since last Saturday, 2.22 inches of rain fell, or 31/2 times the normal for the first seven days of September. And yet, umbrellas weren’t allowed inside Time Warner Cable Arena. Delegates and media abandoned their umbrellas by the hundreds for three straight nights. Reclaiming them – not so easy.

Can’t fence-in freedom

The city’s “free-speech zone” sat in an empty, fenced-in lot on Stonewall Street. Most demonstrators ridiculed the notion of corralling the First Amendment. The result: a bizarre display of speakers talking to no one. (Well, Chris Kite, above, had one stop by.) Meanwhile, crowds picketed on nearby sidewalks.

Home grown vendor slogan

The “Obama Y’all” buttons and T-shirts were hot items all week.


We’re nice – and compact

CBS anchor Scott Pelley says the main difference between Tampa and Charlotte was the cozy factor – everything was within walking distance of his hotel. In Tampa, the CBS crews spent a lot of time in vans being ferried around traffic jams.


Best sand sculpture line

From McClatchy’s Dave Barry, who wrote: “It bears an uncanny resemblance to what the president would look like if he were made out of sand sculpted by someone who had never actually seen him.”


Worst celebrity mishap?

Clinton-era Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin was attending a party with financial-industry insiders when he stepped backward into the Ritz-Carlton Hotel pool. According to reports, he climbed out and kept chatting with folks, drenched.


Sellers without buyers

Legacy Village vendors paid as much as $2,800 to become official retailers, but passersby didn’t find them. Sellers eventually abandoned the lot for College Street, where buyers were plentiful. A host committee official responded by email that no one guaranteed foot traffic or business.


Best chanting moment

Two young women were teaching protesters chants at Frazier Park before the big march last Sunday. One started with: “They say fight back! We say cut back! They say fight back! We say cut back!” Several protesters appeared puzzled. Then someone said: “You’ve got the chant backwards.”


Most memorable speech line

“Ask Osama Bin Laden if he’s better off than he was four years ago.” – Sen. John Kerry


Best, toughest communications job of the convention

The woman who was signing a fast-moving Mary J. Blige song Thursday night. Her hands flew like birds as she simultaneously danced and interpreted Blige’s lyrics, including “hateration” and “crunk.”

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