CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Will former President Jimmy Carter be at the convention?
Ex-presidents are automatically invited. As a “super delegate,” Carter of Plains, Ga., is a member of the Georgia delegation. But he’s almost 88 years old now.
Here’s what Georgia Democratic Party spokesman Eric Gray told the Observer in an email:
“All indications are that President Carter will be in attendance. … (But) since he is nearing 90 years old, we’ve been told to be flexible in doesn’t feel well for the trip. So, we’re planning on him being there, but not committing him to any events.”
Carter, elected in 1976 and defeated in 1980, was the only Democratic president in modern times to be denied a second term. But in his post-presidency, he’s been more active – and more popular – than many of his predecessors. He even won the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work.
But Carter’s foreign policy views – particularly his criticism of Israeli policies – have made him controversial in some quarters, and he doesn’t appear to be close to President Barack Obama. Tim Funk
‘Engagement’ team will go Murphy-to-Manteo
There’s a three-member public engagement team motoring from Murphy to Manteo to drum up convention support.
A’shanti Gholar, Tori Taylor and Adam Gibbs with the Democratic National Convention Committee are speaking to groups across the state.
“We’re touching people that that they wouldn’t have an opportunity to be involved,” said Gholar. “There will be plenty for the public to do.”
So far, team members have spoken to Rotary clubs, senior groups, campaign workers, party faithful, middle schools, and the just-plain curious.
Taylor, the youth engagement coordinator, planned to spend Saturday attending youth events in Cherokee in western Swain County, and ending in Elizabeth City in eastern Pasquotank County – stopping at events along the way.
Gibbs, who is working with organizers in all 100 North Carolina counties, said some people just want to provide organizational help. But most want to know how they can attend Obama’s speech at Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 6. (Register at www.demconvention.com to receive emails).
“People are pumped for Thursday night,” Gholar said.
C-SPAN up for wall-to-wall convention coverage
C-SPAN announced its plans last week for convention coverage. As usual, the cable network intends to provide political junkies with wall-to-wall coverage.
In addition to television coverage, C-SPAN will stream the convention on C-SPAN.org, and every speech will be catalogued in its video library.
C-SPAN will cover official party and delegate events, and provide a “delegates’-eye view” of Charlotte from cameras around uptown. It will broadcast the full Democratic platform committee meeting Aug. 10-12 from Detroit.
C-SPAN political editor Steve Scully will lead the network’s coverage. He has attended every political convention since 1980.
It also will carry the daily Politico Playbook Breakfasts with chief White House correspondent Mike Allen each day at 8 a.m., Politico’s 30-minute convention wrap-up each night at midnight, and Politico’s hour-long pre-convention show on Monday of convention week. C-SPAN plans to carry National Journal’s “Daily Morning Briefings” each day and the magazine’s “Path to Power” event focusing on how candidates could be expected to govern.
C-SPAN has covered every minute of every political convention since 1984. Mark Washburn
EpiCentre is shaping up as media central for convention
Charlotte’s EpiCentre will be a hot spot for media during the convention.
“Morning Joe,” the CNBC talk show, will originate during the convention from BlackFinn American Saloon at EpiCentre, which is across the street from Time Warner Cable Arena. And MSNBC will broadcast from the Commons area at the EpiCentre.
Vida Mexican Kitchen y Cantina will be taken over for the week by the CNN Grill, which is set up at conventions every four years. It is a somewhat exclusive destination for CNN staffers, guests and well-connected convention-goers. Mark Washburn
Uptown museums free on Labor Day, amid changes
The Mint Museum Uptown, Gantt Center for African-American Art + Culture and Bechtler Museum of Modern Art will open for free on Labor Day in conjunction with the CarolinaFest preceding the convention.
The Mint and other uptown cultural institutions hope to share the limelight when the political lollapalooza brings battalions of out-of-towners to Charlotte. Many of them have exhibitions that tie in with U.S. politics and culture, from Madeleine Albright’s patriotic jewelry at the Mint to centuries’ worth of historic American artifacts at the Gantt Center. The Bechtler Museum, taking a more international tack, will spotlight the Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti.
Locals who want to visit uptown for some culture will need to be on alert. The museums’ hours of operation are likely to be off-kilter.
Eighteen special events are booked at the Mint during the week of Sept. 1-7, the museum says, and more may land on the schedule. When a shindig takes over the entire museum, the doors will be closed to the public. The Mint hopes to keep its Randolph Road location open during its normal times, but that could change if bookings proliferate. The Labor Day hours for the Mint Uptown will be announced as the date approaches.
The Mint urges locals to check its website ( www.mintmuseum.org) before planning visits during the convention week. The Bechtler Museum’s schedule changes are likely to include closings Sept. 2, 5 and 6 and reduced hours Sept. 4 and 7. The Mint also recommends taking public transportation. Steven Brown
Google ‘hanging out’ at both parties’ conventions
Google plans to transform an uptown parking lot into a “hangout” for the convention.
The hangout will be at 3rd and Tryon streets, next to Latta Arcade, and will feature product demos, charging stations and programming for credentialed convention visitors. Google is undertaking a similar effort in Tampa, Fla., for the Republican National Convention.
Google is the official live-stream and social network provider . Spokeswoman Samantha Smith declined to say how much the company is paying either convention .
“By incorporating our tools and technology, we are offering a behind-the-scenes look at the convention process,” said Susan Molinari, Google’s vice president of public policy.
Google has extensive legislative interests in Washington, mainly over privacy issues. It has spent nearly $10 million on lobbying expenses this year. It also hired Molinari, a former Republican member of Congress, to lead its Washington efforts.