Local Politics

N.C. delegates want Clinton recognized at DNC

Democrats celebrated Barack Obama's quest for the White House at the opening of their national convention Monday night; however, some North Carolina delegates attending the event still support Hillary Clinton.

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DENVER — Democrats celebrated Barack Obama's quest for the White House at the opening of their national convention Monday night, casting him as a leader with classic American values while seeking party unity essential for the fall campaign.

Not everyone is on board with the theme yet, however.

“I have no idea what this unity thing is about,” N.C. delegate Marc Freiland, from Charlotte, said.

The convention's opening gavel fell with Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton still struggling to work out the choreography for the formal roll call of the states that will make him – a 47-year-old first-term U.S. senator bidding to become the first black president – the party nominee.

Margaret Haynes, from Wilmington, is among the state's delegates attending the Denver convention in the Pepsi Center. She is also among those still supporting Clinton.

“We deserve respect, and if they want unity, they need to reach out ... and bring us into the fold,” Haynes said. "I'm hoping to see it, and I'm looking forward to it."

When the delegates vote Wednesday night, the state Clinton team wants a roll call. If they don't get it?

“If they try to disrespect me as a delegate. If they try to disrespect my vote as a delegate, I won't take that quietly,” Freiland said.

It is not clear if the Clinton team will walk out or hold a demonstration if their request is ignored.

“I think that this is sort of a dissident group that is doing that. I want us to be unified behind Obama and Biden,” N.C. delegate Ethan Staats, of Cashiers, said.

Some state delegates want Clinton recognized and acknowledges for running a good race.

"I think that would be mentioning Mrs. Clinton at breakfast. I think it would be speaking about her and not making her an invisible part of this convention. I think that is how you gain unity and respect," Haynes said.

Gov. Mike Easley also weighed in on the Obama-Clinton tension.

"I got to be an Obama super-delegate the day Clinton stood up and said, 'Let's support Barack Obama.' That is going to be our message tomorrow night. Everybody is going to leave here unified, and all of the Clinton delegates are going to get to stand up and say what they want to say, and then we are gong to all come together and win this election," Easley said.

Easley said he said he feels strongly that Obama can win the presidency. He is particularly excited about Obama's chances now that U.S. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware has joined the ticket.

Public opinion polls made the race with Republican John McCain a close one, unexpectedly so in a time of economic uncertainty, continuing conflict in Iraq and poor approval ratings for GOP President George Bush.

Obama delivers his acceptance speech on Thursday at a football stadium, before a crowd likely to total 75,000 or more. Then he and Biden depart for the fall campaign.


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