USA Votes 2012

Democrats Promise 'Most Open, Accessible' Convention in History

First lady Michelle Obama looks over the podium during a sound check at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 3, 2012.First lady Michelle Obama looks over the podium during a sound check at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 3, 2012.
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First lady Michelle Obama looks over the podium during a sound check at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 3, 2012.
First lady Michelle Obama looks over the podium during a sound check at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 3, 2012.
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Sean Maroney
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Thousands of Democratic Party delegates have gathered in the southern state of North Carolina for what top party officials are promising will be the “most open and accessible” political convention in history.

Visiting Democratic Party delegates and North Carolina residents gathered Monday for a free festival open to the public near the convention center in Charlotte.

Democratic National Convention organizers launched “CarolinaFest 2012” as a family friendly, Labor Day holiday celebration to kick off the week.

At an opening news conference, chief organizer Steve Kerrigan said this is the first time a public event has heralded a convention. He promised even more access to the public once it officially starts on Tuesday.

“This convention is the most open and accessible convention in history. We began our planning not just by looking at venue blueprints and different scenarios for logistics, but by reaching out to the American people,” said Kerrigan.

Kerrigan said that about 2,000 people responded to first lady Michelle Obama's appeal more than a year ago on how to make this “their convention.” Now, caucuses and President Barack Obama's acceptance speech will be open to the public. And for those who could not travel to Charlotte, organizers are engaging people on eight online platforms, he said.

  • President Barack Obama waves after his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 6, 2012.
  • Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama wave to the delegates at the conclusion of President Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention, September 6, 2012.
  • President Barack Obama and First lady Michelle Obama joined by their children Sasha, left, and Malia walks across the stage after President Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama (L) embraces former President Bill Clinton onstage after Clinton nominated Obama for re-election during the second session of Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 5, 2012
  • U.S. President Barack Obama (L) joins former President Bill Clinton onstage after Clinton nominated Obama for re-election during the second session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 5, 2012.
  • Former President Bill Clinton addresses the Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina, September 5, 2012
  • First Lady Michelle Obama waves after addressing the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 3, 2012.
  • Delegates cheer as First lady Michelle Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • Delegates recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the opening of the Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • A woman records the invocation at the Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • Delegates await the start of the first day of the convention, September 4, 2012.
  • A group of third grade students rehearse saying the Pledge of Allegiance ahead of the first day of the convention in Time Warner Cable Arena, September 4, 2012.
  • Advertisements for the DNC line the walls at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
  • Protesters block an intersection near the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina for several hours while surrounded by police who allow the demonstration to continue, September 4, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • Delegates tour the floor ahead of the convention, September 3, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • Programs laid out for guests inside the convention center. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • The Charlotte, North Carolina skyline seen through the window of an airplane, September 2, 2012.
  • President Barack Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina tours the floor at the Democratic National Convention, September 3, 2012.
  • Delegates and Democratic National Convention visitors crowd one of the merchandise stores in Charlotte, September 3, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • Delegates await the start of the first day of the Democratic National Convention, September 4, 2012.
  • A 15-ton sand sculpture of President Obama is on display outside the convention. The sand comes from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. (J. Featherly/VOA)
Charlotte’s Democratic Mayor Anthony Foxx said his city is ready for the week, and that holding the convention in North Carolina could help the president win what is turning out to be a very close race in the state.

“North Carolina was tight in 2008. It will be tight this year. I don't think that it's going to be an easy state to win, but it is a state the president absolutely can win,” said Foxx.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt promised that improving the U.S. economy will be a prominent theme of the convention.

“Every speaker chosen this week will address how we are going to build the economy from the middle class out. The president believes that his speech will be the opportunity not to just talk about where we've come from, but to lay out that vision, because that's the question on top of most Americans' minds.”

Obama will give his nomination acceptance speech Thursday at an outdoor stadium, much like he did four years ago at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.
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by: Neil from: San Jose, CA
September 03, 2012 7:16 PM
How do you get more accessable than previous conventions? They already have gavel to gavel coverage on CSpan and on multiple websites on the web, which has occurred at previous conventions. So how are you going to have more accessability than in the past? They have less seating than Mile High Stadium in Carolina and the networks are giving less coverage to the convention in previous years. So how is it more accessable? Is it from bussing to make the stadium full to avoid embarrassment?

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