Charlotte and Tampa compete in the NFL Sunday when the Panthers play at the Buccaneers. But as convention hosts, the two cities are serving as partners in back-to-back weeks.
Charlotte organizers were in Tampa last week during the Republican convention to pick up tips on running the Democratic event. Tampa organizers flew to Charlotte this week to observe how we’re running things.
Dan Murrey, executive director of the DNC host committee, told the Tampa Tribune the best advice he got was to expect surprises – like the last-minute security fence the Secret Service erected at the University of South Florida’s medical learning center. Or the German shepherd security dogs that jumped spontaneously into the car of Murrey’s Tampa counterpart, Ken Jones.
• Amy Walter, ABC News political director, tweeted : Charlotte v. Tampa: Better food, worse traffic.
• Washington Post opinion writer E.J. Dionne Jr. writes: “The contrast with the Tampa convention was conspicuous. The Republican affair felt so terribly businesslike. Tampa was not nearly as invested in the GOP as Charlotte is in the Democrats. I tested my perceptions with those of colleagues who had also been in Tampa, and to a person, they sensed the same thing: The Charlotte Democrats seemed to be having the better time, and the mood here seemed more ebullient.”
GREEN THEME: The Boston Herald noted how dramatically more environment-friendly the DNC in Charlotte is, compared to the Republican convention. The areas in and around Time Warner Cable Arena are filled with reusable water containers and refill stations, recycle bins and a display measuring uptown power usage. By comparison, the Herald noted, Tampa’s convention venue was filled with garbage bags of waste that could have been recycled.
TRAFFIC APOCALYPSE? The Irish Times wrote that the Democrats’ reluctance to accept contributions from corporations this time around has put added strain on the police presence to direct traffic for Obama’s speech Thursday. The Times wrote: “Some have predicted a traffic apocalypse that will be especially trying for those who have been forced to seek lodging across the border in South Carolina.”
REVIEWS: Mac’s Speed Shop, one of the newer, upscale barbecue restaurants in Charlotte, got a glowing review from the Washington delegation on the website nwprogressive.org: “We are dining on some of the most sumptuous macaroni and cheese, pulled pork, veggie burgers and hickory smoked beef brisket I’ve ever tasted, with banana pudding and warm chocolate brownies for dessert. Great service makes great food taste even better” .... Robin Abcarian of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the Levine Museum of the New South “offered convention-goers a fascinating take on life here since the end of slavery.”