|Published:||Sep 04, 2012 6:15 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Sep 04, 2012 10:26 AM EDT|
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Four years later Democrats have gathered again, this time in support of a president who carries the power and the burden of incumbency, both in evidence as the opening gavel is struck at the Democratic National Convention.
President Barack Obama demonstrated the power Monday in a convention-eve visit to hurricane-stricken lands in Louisiana, offering aid and empathy. His burden is a ragged economy that is at the core of the hotly competitive contest with Republican Mitt Romney.
Michelle Obama's speech Tuesday night is an early highlight of a three-day schedule that has drawn thousands of delegates to a state Obama narrowly carried in 2008. Although Obama no longer is the fresh-faced newbie who leveraged a short Senate career into an audacious run for the nation's highest office, he still can excite partisans, and Democrats were counting on massive numbers to pack a stadium for his speech later in the week.
If hurricanes have no politics, the aftermath does. Obama's visit to stricken St. John the Baptist Parish outside New Orleans after a spirited Labor Day rally in battleground Ohio demonstrated, if in muted form, the partisan divide that cleaves the presidential campaign.
Obama emphasized the government's determination to lend a strong helping hand. Romney focused on neighbor helping neighbor in his visit days earlier, even though both support a mix of emergency aid from the taxpayer and volunteerism in response to natural disasters.
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