SORRY, WHAT’S THE NAME?
Democrats are already looking ahead to President Obama’s Thursday-night acceptance speech in Charlotte’s spacious outdoor stadium, an event reminiscent of closing night at the Denver convention four years ago. The problem: The venue is named Bank of America Stadium. The same Bank of America that accepted a $45 billion federal bailout. The same bank that sparked consumer outrage when it tried to tack on a $5 monthly fee for debit-card use. And the same bank that announced plans last year to lay off 30,000 workers.
No surprise that in some e-mail solicitations leading up to the convention, Democrats “forgot” the proper name and referred to the field as Panther Stadium. The NFL’s Carolina Panthers do play there. But that has never been the stadium’s official name—as critics quickly pointed out. Now, Democrats have surrendered and gone back to using the hated official name. But don’t bet on seeing the faux Greek temple set used in Denver. That whole money-changers-in-the-temple thing, you know.
George E. Condon Jr.
LOOK FOR WOMEN TO TAKE CENTER STAGE
If the lines for the women’s restrooms seem even longer than usual at the Democratic convention, it’s because the program is packed with estrogen—part of a broader strategy to run up President Obama’s numbers with female voters. Democrats have been accusing Republicans of waging a “war on women” for months, arguing that abortion rights, Planned Parenthood funding, and access to birth control are all under siege. Fueling the fire were Rep. Todd Akin’s remarks about “legitimate rape” and the absence of an exception for rape victims in the Republican platform’s antiabortion plank.
The president is currently overperforming among women, compared with his 7-point edge in the 2008 election. The final NBC/Wall Street Journal poll before the convention found Obama running 10 points ahead of Romney among female voters. The president’s lead increased to 28 points when voters were asked about the candidates’ positions on women’s issues.
It Ain’t Cheap The Democratic National Convention by the numbers: $7 million to convert Time Warner Cable Arena into a convention hall; 20 miles of cable to handle the technology needs of delegates and the media; and another $5 million to turn the 74,000-seat Bank of America Stadium into a setting fit for a president accepting his party’s nomination for the second and final time.
Attention-Getter Actress Eva Longoria may be the only speaker at the Democratic convention who can legitimately shrug at the size of the national audience. More than 23 million viewers watched her in the first season of Desperate Housewives eight years ago. Longoria has since parlayed her fame and fortune to become a major donor and bundler for President Obama.
Easy Street Here is a reason for candidates to fight like badgers over the 2012 election. The normal cyclical turn of the American economy is expected to produce an expansion, with a 4.3 percent growth rate from 2014 through 2017, the Congressional Budget Office predicts. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, is projected to decline to 5.7 percent by the fourth quarter of 2017. That should help politicians get reelected. All they have to do is get into office—and not screw things up.
This article appears in the September 1, 2012 edition of National Journal Magazine.