Obama’s convention goes from blue collar to white collar

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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The Democrats’ 2012 convention will begin at the blue-collar Charlotte Motor Speedway and end at the nearby Bank of America football stadium, home to the Carolina Panthers and a myriad skybox-renting plutocrats, executives and 1 percenters.

The four-day September convention will run only three days, because the first day at the racetrack is being dedicated “to organize and celebrate the Carolinas, Virginia and the South,” according to a statement released today by Steve Kerrigan, the CEO for the Democratic National Convention Committee.

The first’s day’s rebranding testifies to the increasingly important role of North Carolina and Virginia in President Barack Obama’s expensive re-election campaign. His ratings have stalled in many swing states, forcing campaign officials to place long-shot bets on several southern states where polls shows Obama’s campaign well below 50 percent.

The convention was planned for Charlotte, N.C., where Obama won the state by less than 1 percent in 2008.

However, the stadium’s association with the financial sector — including Bank of America, which received taxpayers’ bailout money — will provide an easy opportunity for GOP partisans to tag Obama as a ‘crony-capitalist.’

The stadium was also built with non-union labor, creating another irritant with national unions, who believe Obama has been a disappointment.

Kerrigan, however, portrayed the new locations as an effort to bring more people into the convention.

In recent months, campaign officials — including campaign manager Jim Messina — have tried to downplay the billion dollar goal of the campaign. However, the campaign’s formal funding may reach $750 million, and it will be augmented by the money raised by the Democratic National Committee as well as independent expenditures from the allied unions, such as the AFL-CIO.

To head off media articles about the convention being funded by companies and wealthy people, the Democratic National Convention Committee has declared “that the convention would not accept funds from corporations, political action committees or lobbyists, and that it would not accept individual contributions of more than $100,000.”

The convention’s website says it will draw 35,000 visitors to the Charlotte area, including 15,000 media people and 7,000 delegates.

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