Cover Story: "Worried" about DNC chances

By Jeff Atkinson - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Advantage - Charlotte?  The battle for the Democratic National Convention is down to the wire.

But now lawmakers from our fiercest competition are quaking in their boots.

If the 2012 Democratic National Convention is coming down to Charlotte and St. Louis, Missouri, which it apparently is, this is the best news the Queen City can cling to right now.

President Obama's most influential supporter in the Show Me State is worried about St. Louis' chances.

Missouri's U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, a key ally of the President who will ultimately make the final decision, says she hasn't heard any "inside info" from Pennsylvania Avenue.

The silence, Senator McCaskill says is what worries her.  Because she hasn't heard anything she's afraid the decision means the Democratic Convention is headed to Charlotte.

She was one of the first Democrats to support Barack Obama as the party nominee in 2008.

And Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill has used that leverage to try to lobby The White House to pick St. Louis as the site for the Democratic National Convention in 2012.

That said it's why hearing McCaskill speak at a news conference yesterday that she's "worried" that it carries so much weight for Charlotte.

"I wish I knew. I'm worried I don't. I think by now I'd get a glimmer," said McCaskill.

The decision to host the DNC was supposed to come last December, but was delayed by the lame duck session of Congress and the holidays.  And then pushed back again by the deadly shootings in Tucson, Arizona January 8th.

Now it appears nothing will happen until after the President Obama's State of the Union speech next Tuesday.

If you consider both cities, Charlotte and St. Louis being equal, politics watchers say it most likely will come down to who can deliver the most votes on Election Day.

Will The White House go with St. Louis in hopes of solidifying the Midwest?  Or will it see Charlotte as a city to plant a flag in the South?

When North Carolina went for Obama a little more than two years ago it was the first time the Tar Heel State was in the Dems column since 1976.

McCaskill says St. Louis' bid was the very best.

"And that's what I stressed," she said.  "But that said at a certain point in time there's also a narrative. I know that the president feels strongly about campaigning in the South.  So I think our competition is Charlotte.  And I'm worried about our competition."

Up to this point Sen. McCaskill has been bullish on St. Louis' chances.

We tried to reach Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx Wednesday afternoon but he's attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting in Washington, DC.  The 230-plus mayors will be at the White House on Friday.  One would suspect the mayor will try to get some face time with the president.

So how much can we read into Senator McCaskill not hearing much?  In Washington, a city that can't keep a secret, the fact McCaskill hasn't heard anything may be an omen.

However you can also see it if the White House wanted to be the big announcer keeping it from McCaskill (who's known to be candid with the press) would be high on their list.

Of course we could all be surprised.  It could be either of the two long-shot cities:  Minneapolis or Cleveland.

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