Preparations underway for star-studded Democratic Convention - FOX 10 News |

Preparations underway for star-studded Democratic Convention

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Democratic National Convention begins Tuesday in North Carolina. Thousands of party faithful were on their way to Charlotte on Monday.

Linh Hong says, "I think we know how to party and I think we know how to put together conventions.  We have done it again and again and I think it is going to be a perfect narrative story that we are going to be able to share with each other." 

Preparations for the enormous three-day pep rally continued on Labor Day, which will feature a roster of star studded speakers. They include First Lady Michelle Obama and the first Latino to deliver the DNC keynote address, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.

Castro said the speech and convention give delegates a chance to "talk about the values we share as Americans, and to present the clear choice that we face in this election."

The First Lady took a walk through of the Time Warner Arena in Charlotte Monday. When asked about her speech, she played coy, saying "you'll have to ask me tomorrow."

FOX's Nicole Collins reported the Obama campaign said Democrats will present a clear agenda this week, likely bolstered by a highly anticipated speech by former president Bill Clinton on Wednesday night.

The big statements from the floor start Tuesday night, with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelossi opening the proceedings.  

President Obama will accept the nomination on Thursday. But he addressed the United Auto Workers Labor Day Rally in Toledo, Ohio on Monday, before getting his first look at the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac outside New Orleans.

"We're on our way to our convention in Charlotte this week, but I wanted to stop here in Toledo to spend this day with you."

"The way we looked at it, it wasn't red, it wasn't blue, it's green," one Democrat said. "This is about economic development. This is about tourism and bringing financial benefits to the region."

A new Reuters poll released Monday morning shows the race for the president is a dead heat. President Obama and Mitt Romney each have 45 percent of the vote. The other 10 percent of the voters are either undecided or support another candidate.

The pool shows Romney got a slight bounce from the Republican convention. He trailed the president 46-42 before the Republican convention.

FOX's Doug Luzader reports President Obama has already begun what his campaign calls the "Road to Charlotte" tour, with a schedule loaded with swing state stops, like Iowa.

"We will win Iowa again," the president said. "We will win this election. We will finish what we started."

The president hopes to upstage Republicans, whose convention just wrapped up last week in Tampa.

Florida is also significant for the president, and that is indicated by the state delegation's placement in the arena. States that made it directly to the convention floor, like Florida, Colorado and Virginia are critical to the president's 2012 strategy.

North Carolina is also a critical state. The city of Charlotte was chosen for this convention because it too may be critical in November, a state that went for Obama four years ago.

"It has been about 150 years since a convention was hosted in the Carolinas," Charlotte's Mayor, Anthony Foxx stated.

"We are thrilled to have the Democratic National Convention here…  thrilled to have a party fighting for the South and we think that is a very important statement for us to make as a party." 

It may be playing host this time around, but polls show the state is a toss-up. The president also visited Ohio on his tour headed for Charlotte.

Members of the Chicago Republican Party have sent Mayor Rahm Emanuel a letter asking him to cancel his trip to the Democratic National Convention.

Republican officials cited the fact that Chicago is facing a series of major problems including a possible teachers strike and a recent increase in violent crime.

The mayor is scheduled to speak at the convention in Charlotte on Tuesday night.

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