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Carolina Pride In Abundance At DNC

The second night of the Democratic Convention in Charlotte was highlighted by a rousing speech from former President Bill Clinton. But it also featured a number of North Carolina connections, including remarks by former Governor Jim Hunt. As Dave DeWitt reports from Charlotte, the event is showcasing the state and its largest city.

Dave DeWitt: The evening began with a Carolina connection, as Durham resident Branford Marsalis played the national anthem.

Then, a typical slate of speakers followed. Members of Congress. Mayors. A state's attorney general and a public schools chief. About two hours in, after a video touting President Obama's education policies was shown, one of the state’s most well-known political figures took the stage.

Announcer: Please welcome Governor Jim Hunt from North Carolina...

Because it’s the host state, and because it’s a battleground, the North Carolina delegation has some pretty good seats. They’re right here, down in front, just steps from the stage.

The delegates and the state itself have been getting shout-outs here the last two days from a slew of North Carolina-related speakers, and Governor Hunt was no exception.

Jim Hunt: Maybe you’ve heard about our Research Triangle Park. Maybe one of your children attended one of our great universities. We’re proud of all that, because we made that possible in North Carolina.

Rachel Woodward: We love you governor Hunt!

That yell you hear is delegate Rachel Woodward from Greensboro. She’s standing throughout Governor Hunt’s remarks, and for much of the five hours of speakers. The long walks to get here each day, the heat and rain, clearly haven’t taken their toll on her. She says she’s hearing great things about Charlotte from other out-of-state delegates.

Rachel Woodward: I think they’re really enjoying it, they love the architecture. That’s what I keep hearing over and over. They love how beautiful downtown Charlotte is. I don’t think people knew that before the convention. I don’t think we were on a national stage, and after, I think we will be.

At least one person likes to hear that, and would agree that it’s been a very successful if exhausting week. Speaking earlier in the day, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx looks a little fatigued, but resolute.

Anthony Foxx: Very proud the city is holding up well. People are saying great things about our city, not only here but the media is, I think, pleasantly surprised by what this city can do.

Well, not ALL media…

Jon Stewart: Al Madrigal on the scene and John Oliver downtown, which for some reason here is called uptown, which for some reason here, is called uptown, which I think we can all agree… is stupid.

The Daily Show's fake correspondents have been roaming the "uptown" streets and inside the convention hall. And they’ve been enjoying the local delicacies.

Al Madrigal: I mean do you know anything you buy in North Carolina is served on a biscuit. I ordered a biscuit, it came inside another biscuit.

Back in the arena, the energy inside the building slowly built, thanks in part to a stirring performance by Jessica Sanchez and a gospel choir…

But the real star of the night was former President Bill Clinton. And when he finally got to the podium, and found his rhythm, he owned the room.

Bill Clinton: If you want a winner-take-all, you're on your own society, you should support the Republican ticket. But if you ant a country of shared opportunity and shared responsibility, a we're-all-in-this together society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Rachel Woodward leads the cheers. She’s standing just 6 rows from the stage, and she’s beyond excited to be so close to a former President.

Rachel Woodward: I’m young, I’m a young Democrat. But when I was going through middle school and high school he was one of my idols. And I remember my parents just adored him and I grew up in a home where Bill Clinton was just THE MAN, you know?

“The Man” of the moment, President Barack Obama, joined Bill Clinton at the end of the speech.

That only pushed the energy higher on this night. But today is a different day – the last of the Democratic Convention in Charlotte. And if it’s anything like the first two, the folks here can stand up proud – maybe even hold their biscuits up high – and breathe a sigh of relief.

Dave DeWitt is WUNC's Supervising Editor for Politics and Education. As an editor, reporter, and producer he's covered politics, environment, education, sports, and a wide range of other topics.
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