Boy, was security tight in Charlotte last week, and that’s just for tapings of "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart. Sitting in the audience for Friday’s show was supposed to be relaxing after a week of deadlines, crushing crowds and the occasional deluge.
Going into the show I could understand the cell phone ban (those trying to sneak a Tweet or random photo during taping got their instruments confiscated, earning public scorn from the strangers sitting nearby). But I was a bit surprised when three of the show’s staffers ordered me to place my notebook under the seat, even after I promised them the pen wasn’t loaded. Since they didn’t deprive me of my awesome powers of recollection, I remember that the show’s final Charlotte taping turned out to be a lot of fun, particularly the pre-show Stewart Q&A. It was a long way from the first time I saw Stewart perform years ago at an HBO event in New York, when his very funny routine was bumped on-air by Paul Rodriguez and Dennis Miller, more well-known comics of the time. He frequented the found food line at that post-show reception, and every time I walked by, he joked that he was a starving comic and needed the lunchmeat.
These days, he’s quite well fed - and well protected.
Howard Dean, the Not Quite Forgotten Man
Howard Dean’s run for the White House wasn’t successful; John Kerry (or Shecky Kerry as they’re calling him after a cutting and funny convention speech in Charlotte last week) eventually became the 2004 Democratic nominee. But a lot of Dean’s ideas have helped other candidates. The former Vermont governor raised the profile of Internet fundraising and as Democratic National Committee chair favored a 50-state strategy that looked on traditional GOP strongholds as winnable, which benefited Barack Obama in 2008.
During DNC Charlotte, Dean returned to his grassroots roots, talking with bloggers at The PPL headquarters. He acknowledged the state’s economic struggles, but asked, “Do you really believe that most North Carolinians think that if you cut taxes for people who make a million dollars suddenly they’re going to be more jobs here? That’s what got us into this mess in the first place.”
President Julian Castro?
After his keynote convention speech, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro was tagged as a rising national political star. The odds are in his favor: 2004 keynoter Barack Obama didn’t do so badly after his turn at the podium. But at a Bloomberg/Washington Post breakfast meeting on Thursday, he said that the first Latino president has been born but added: “I won’t be that person.”
Mary C. Curtis, an award-winning Charlotte-based journalist, is a contributor to The Washington Post's “She the People” blog, The Root and theGrio. 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.