Even though he’s the first-ever Mormon presidential nominee, not all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are supporting Mitt Romney. That much was apparent on Tuesday afternoon at the Holiday Inn, where the Utah Democratic Party and the LDS Democrats gathered to show their support for President Obama.
Among them was 53-year-old nurse practitioner Jennifer Meldau, who admits that she often feels lonely as a liberal in her home state of South Carolina. She considers health care, education, and the environment to be her top causes. “Romney does not reflect my political beliefs,” she said.
Apparently, she’s not alone, if the packed conference room gave any indication. And the Mormons for Obama have also mobilized on Facebook, where their page has roughly 300 “likes.”
BUCK STOPS OVER THERE
Bank of America may be a dirty word to many Americans, thanks to the bad rep on the bank bailout and President’s Obama’s campaign message of taxing the rich. Yet none of that stopped the financial-services community from traveling to Charlotte, the headquarters of the big bank. Its members just made their presence known in a quieter, public way.
Executives from Wells Fargo, Fidelity Investments, and TIAA-CREF gathered at a luncheon on Tuesday to promote financial literacy through a group called the Council for Economic Education. Before the event began, hedge-fund managing partner Barry Haimes called financial literacy a bipartisan issue. “Everyone uses economics as a consumer saver, but it’s taught poorly in our schools.”
Teaching kiddos about economics is a no-brainer issue, but it’s still easy to veer off course. For example, Haimes said, just look at the housing crisis. “There were a lot of people who entered into mortgages who had no business taking them on. If they understood economics, they never would have done that.”
Maybe. Yet the mortgage lenders also probably should have stuck to tighter lending standards, no? Haimes quickly agreed, as a public-relations minder watched. “There’s a lot of blame to go around,” he added before retreating to safer topics.
Performance artist and self-proclaimed presidential candidate Vermin Supreme was spotted outside the Charlotte Convention Center on Tuesday, giving some curious security instructions.
“Welcome to checkpoint Obama. Prepare to remove your pants,” Supreme intoned into a megaphone. Dental records and birth certificates would also be inspected, he said.
Security guards politely instructed Supreme to step a little farther away from the convention-center entrance, where actual security personnel were checking bags and credentials. Supreme also made an appearance in Tampa.
FEEL THE SMALL-BIZ LOVE
What a difference a week makes when it comes to talk about small business. At their Tampa convention, Republicans could barely get through a speech without making some derisive reference to Obama’s remark that small-business owners “didn’t build that.” But in Charlotte, it’s as if that remark was never uttered. Nowhere was that clearer than at Tuesday’s special Small Business Owners forum for Democratic delegates. Over the course of two hours, speakers talked about rules, regulations, and taxes. But not one mentioned the “didn’t build that” comment. It came up only once, in passing, in a question from the floor.
“There is no need for us to respond to their line of attack when there are success stories we can talk about,” said Kim Sawyer, president of The Locator Services Group in Boston, who spoke about it afterward. “I don’t think we have to respond when we have the ability to counter it with the facts.” She said that her company has benefited from tax cuts and tax credits championed by Obama.
Another panelist, Rep. Yvette Clarke of New York, said Democrats view small business as “the bedrock of our nation,” and blasted Republicans for offering only “cheap lip service to helping small business.”
Nancy Cook, George E. Condon Jr., and Sophie Quinton contributed