By Paul T. Choate
Sept. 6, 2012. From the moment former President Bill Clinton took the stage last night and uttered the words, “Fellow Democrats, we are here to nominate a president and I’ve got one in mind,” to the conclusion of his speech, the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte was abuzz; and Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson and Council Member Andy Ball were front and center for the whole thing.
In fact, since the beginning of the convention on Tuesday, Clawson and Ball have had prime seating with the rest of their fellow North Carolina delegates. Being the host state, the North Carolina delegates are positioned directly in front of the stage.
“It’s certainly an accident I’m sure,” Ball joked of the great seats, adding that it is an honor to be at the convention in support of President Obama.
Both Clawson and Ball highly praised former President Clinton for his speech, with Ball saying it “electrified the arena” and even brought some in the audience to tears when Clinton touched on issues such as equal opportunity and economic equality.
“It’s been wonderful,” said Clawson. “Charlotte has been such a wonderful host to us all. The North Carolina delegates are great. Everybody else is great. We have met a lot of really good people.”
Ball echoed Clawson’s feelings of the convention, saying, “The convention has been extraordinary. It has been an extraordinary experience for all of us in the North Carolina delegation, but especially to be able to represent a place like Watauga County.”
The two Watauga Democratic delegates got quite the treat last night at the conclusion of Clinton’s speech, when President Obama made a surprise appearance to attendees of the convention’s delight.
After Clinton’s speech and the president’s appearance, states formally cast their votes to nominate President Obama for reelection, with North Carolina delegates casting 152 votes.
Tonight is the president’s big night, when he will formally accept the nomination for reelection. Though the North Carolina delegates’ section is front and center, it is first come, first serve for specific seats. Clawson and Ball are taking no chances and both showed up very early this afternoon – good for seats in the third row.
“[President Obama] is the reason I am over here early with my seat,” said Clawson. “Forget lunch, forget supper; I can eat when I get back to Boone.”
Ball might have summed up he and the mayor’s experience best, saying they have just been “soaking it all in.”
“[President Obama’s speech] is going to bring down the house again I think,” said Ball. “We’re fired up and ready to go again.”
Photos by Ken Ketchie