DNC 2012 Notebook: A tale of two press ops

Posted by Mary C. Curtis on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 10:41 AM

After the kind of Tuesday Dan Murrey had, he needed Wednesday.

Dan Murrey
  • Dan Murrey

He looked relaxed as he joined 75 volunteers on humpday at the Levine Children's Hospital, one of many convention staffers, credit union crew and National Journal group returning for the rooftop playground project that will be unveiled during convention week. It's part of the legacy to leave something behind in the convention cities of Charlotte and Tampa.

It was a change from Tuesday, when Democrats announced they had decided to move their Labor Day "Carolina Fest 2012" from Charlotte Motor Speedway to uptown. To answer questions about what the move would mean for security, transportation and protesters - and how the late change would affect arrangements already begun by Concord officials - Murrey, chairman of the DNC host committee, cited "logistics" and moving delegates busy with caucus meetings from uptown as reasons for the switch.

Were convention organizers anxious about the optics of a less-than-full event or the prospect that stretched media organizations with multiple set-ups uptown would skip the Speedway altogether? Just speculation.

When asked about a Bloomberg News report saying convention organizers have raised less than $10 million of the $36.6 million needed for the convention, Murrey on Tuesday repeated his refrain that fundraising is "right on track."

On Wednesday, everybody was happy, and why wouldn't they be, surrounded by patients busy with art projects. The usually dapper Democratic National Convention Committee senior adviser Cameron Moody, with a Levine T-shirt covering his threads, helped Jasmine Funderburk stencil a birdhouse. "I took one side, she took another; her side looked better," he said. Her mother, Bobbie Funderburk, said that for Jasmine, who has lupus and undergoes dialysis, the artwork is a nice distraction.

"As a physician," said Murrey, and as a parent whose infant son needed two surgeries in his first six months for a heart defect, the healthy children's initiative means a lot to him. (That son is now 16.) Being stuck in a hospital room can be dehumanizing, said Murrey, and a place like the rooftop play area can bring some sense of normalcy.

Murrey was enough at ease to replay some of the previous day's developments. Will the convention staff be releasing more details soon? "We're going to have to," he told me, "we've got 70 days left."

In the meantime, Murrey has signed his name to an open letter, offering a trip to the convention. "Give just $5 today and you'll be entered to win. Your credentials and a place to stay will be covered. Your grassroots donation makes it possible for more Americans to be involved in this process," the letter says. "This event will be unforgettable. The convention will kick off with our Labor Day celebration Carolina Fest and continue throughout the week with hundreds of events, including President Obama's speech at Panthers Stadium."

However, you find when you go to the Charlotte in 2012 Website, "No purchase, payment, or contribution necessary to enter or win."


Mary C. Curtis, an award-winning Charlotte, N.C.-based journalist, is a contributor to The Washington Post's "She the People" blog, The Root, NPR and the Nieman Watchdog blog. Her "Keeping It Positive" segment airs Wednesdays at 7:10 a.m. on Fox News Rising Charlotte, and she was national correspondent for Politics Daily. Follow her on Twitter.

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