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As excitement builds in arena, some advice for President Obama

September 06, 2012|By Matea Gold
(Tom Pennington/Getty Images )

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Four hours to go before President Obama speaks, and the mood in the Time Warner Cable Arena is jubilant. Democrats beam as they greet each other in the halls, sharing wide embraces. Delegates dance on the floor as James Taylorsings “Carolina In My Mind.”

Anita Lovely sits by herself, watching the proceedings raptly. The first-time delegate from Lumberton, N.J., is still trying to wrap her mind around everything she has experienced this week.

“I got this close to the first lady,” Lovely says. “I never thought that would happen. Beautiful. Oh, if I could be halfway like her.”

The 62-year-old economist said she’s been thrilled by the messages delivered by Democratic leaders this week — particularly former President Bill Clinton’s long fact-check Wednesday night of Republican charges against Obama.

So what is it like, sitting here waiting to hear the president speak?

She pauses, choking up.

“It’s hard to find words. I’m so excited. I’m so hopeful.”

She wants to hear him stand up for himself: “The president has a lot of accomplishments, and I just hope and pray he talks about them tonight.”

Most of all, he needs to let down his reserve. Just relax. Connect with the audience, she says.

“Just let go,” Lovely advises. “Pretend you’re in your living room.”

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