Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., one of this cycle’s most vulnerable incumbents, will not attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, an aide to the first-term senator confirms to Hotline On Call.
McCaskill is running in a state that President Obama is likely to lose. But she has not shied away from asking the president for support. So her decision to skip Charlotte is particularly notable.
McCaskill joins a growing list of Democrats who won’t be in Charlotte, including Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, and Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Mark Critz, D-Pa., Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y., Bill Owens, D-N.Y., and Jim Matheson, D-Utah.
NRO’s Jim Geraghty quips:
BREAKING NEWS: Unlike an increasing number of Democrat lawmakers, I will be in Charlotte this summer for the party's national convention.
— jimgeraghty (@jimgeraghty) June 26, 2012
In related news, the Charlotte Observer reports that the DNC has decided to change the venue for their opening event for the convention from the Speedway to uptown Charlotte, under the pretense of wanting to make it “more accessible to the people”:
In the second major change to the Democratic National Convention schedule, organizers announced Monday night they are moving the much-touted Labor Day festival from Charlotte Motor Speedway to uptown Charlotte.
In January, officials said they were shortening the convention to three days, and would forgo the traditional Monday opening for a festival at the Speedway to reach a wider audience.
At the time, the party chairwoman said the change was about “engaging Americans in a meaningful way.”
But Monday night, host committee officials said moving the Speedway event will provide attendees with a much stronger connection to the convention.
Hosting the CarolinaFest event along the Tryon Street corridor instead of 20 miles outside uptown makes for easier logistics, said host committee spokeswoman Suzi Emmerling.
Delegates and members of the public who want to attend caucus meetings happening uptown can do so without missing the festival, Emmerling said.
“Logistics”? Uh huh. I’m not buyin’ it, and neither is Doug Powers:
Logistics — as in “logically speaking, if we move it downtown we can pay for security with federal funds instead of campaign funds.” Democrats (and Republicans) receive a $50 million DHS grant for convention security, but the Dems probably couldn’t have used those funds for the speedway event. Apparently endless fundraisers (only four of them today?) along with the bridal, anniversary and birthday registry still aren’t bringing in money fast enough for the campaign to cover the cost themselves.
Another concern might have been one of optics. This isn’t 2008 anymore and Dems are treading lightly through what could be a disaster zone in early September. They don’t want to kick off the convention in a place where there’s a chance the venue will appear to be more sparsely populated than Harry Reid’s budget meetings.
Not only that, but – as the Observer points out – having the convention at the Speedway would have made life difficult for one of Obama’s key voting blocs: the MSM (bolded emphasis added by me):
The event was touted by organizers as being family-friendly and something that would engage “more Americans in the convention than ever before, and celebrate Labor Day, our democracy, the Carolinas, Virginia and the South.”
But the Speedway festival had attracted little interest among correspondents planning to cover the DNC. In a media gathering June 5, in which advance teams were bused out to Concord for a tour of the track and its media center, only representatives from local stations said they were planning to set up there, possibly as a site for anchoring their evening newscasts.
PBS, the first broadcast network to announce its coverage plans last week, said it planned to anchor its Labor Day broadcast on “PBS Newshour” with Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill from Time Warner Cable Arena, but might cover the festivities from Charlotte Motor Speedway as part of the day’s coverage, depending on whether it was newsworthy.
During the convention, PBS intends to devote prime time to the story, but on Labor Day, it plans to revert to normally scheduled programming that night.
Networks, including cable outlets that are expected to cover the convention far more extensively than their network counterparts, had already been struggling with the mechanics of moving up from Tampa’s Republican National convention the week before, then facing a setup in three venues in Charlotte: the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the arena, and finally Bank of America Stadium for what is expected to be Obama’s acceptance speech Thursday night.
Sooo, they’d rather connect with their supporters in the mainstream media who will give them glowing press both state and nationwide rather than “the 99%” who live in the Concord area. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.
Move along here, nothing to see …