CHARLOTTE, N.C.- Minnesota’s delegates to the Democratic National Convention arrived as early as 11:30 a.m. Thursday to get good seats for President Obama’s speech. Shannon Schroeder of Rice and Leanne Kunze of Waconia say they were the first Minnesotans to arrive at the Time Warner Cable Arena.
Kunze said they didn’t aim to be first but were concerned about being locked out. The fire marshal locked down the arena before former President Bill Clinton’s speech last night. The move shut out delegates, elected officials and the media for about an hour.
“We wanted to make sure that we got here and got seats to see the president speak tonight,” Kunze said.
By 4 p.m. Kunze and Schroeder were joined by dozens of other delegates including Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.
President Obama is scheduled to deliver his speech at 10 tonight local time. Several delegates are hoping he lays out his vision for the next four years while reminding voters about some of his accomplishments.
“We’ve heard a lot about what has been done, I want to also hear where are we going to go from here,” Schroeder said.
Shroeder said she wanted to hear specifics on how the president is going to improve the nation’s economy and reform Wall Street.
All of the delegates say they intend to use the convention as motivation to help turn out Democratic voters in November.
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle characterized political conventions as “revivals” when he addressed Minnesota delegates this morning.
“You go to a revival and you feel the same way walking out of a tent,” Daschle said. “You just feel you’re charged up and ready to go.”
Democrats are also hoping that the convention does more than fire up the party faithful. They also hope President Obama gets a bump in the polls. Both the president and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney will campaign in Iowa on Friday.
Photo: Tom Scheck