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Obama using Charlotte convention to woo NASCAR voters

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WASHINGTON--The Obama re-election team is using the Charlotte, N.C. nominating convention to target, woo and deliver NASCAR voters in key battleground states.

Convention organizers announced Tuesday the convention will kick off Labor Day at the giant Charlotte Motor Speedway, making public a plan that has been in the works for months to pitch President Obama to a demographic he will need in November. The speedway has a seating capacity of 140,000, which means that tens of thousands of non-convention delegates can be invited to the event, a massive organizing tool.

A Labor Day kick-off of course is also a hat tip to organized labor, a major part of the Democratic base.

The 2012 Democratic National Convention--usually four days--in modern times its only official function to rubberstamp a nominee already well known--will have official events at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte only two days. One of the days will be used to organize in battlegrounds North Carolina and Virginia--and to recruit volunteers in GOP leaning South Carolina.

In 2008, Obama beat GOP nominee John McCain in North Carolina 49.70 percent to 49.38 percent; in Virginia, Obama beat McCain 52.63 percent to 46.33 percent. In South Carolina, McCain beat Obama 53.87 percent to 44.90 percent.

At the 2008 convention in Denver, Obama accepted the nomination before about 84,000 people at Invesco Field, a football stadium in Denver. The outdoor venue allowed the campaign to involve tens of thousands of non-delegates to a historic event, collect their e-mails and set the stage for further campaign contact and engagement.

Using Obama's acceptance speech as an organizing event, helped him win battleground Colorado in 2008.

The Obama team is reprising the successful strategy in 2012. Obama will deliver his second acceptance speech on Sept. 6 at the Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers with a seating capacity of about 74,000.

"Dedicating Monday, September 3rd to families and the community hosting the convention will help show the world what we can do when we out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world and build an economy that creates opportunity for all," said convention CEO Steve Kerrigan.

Republicans hold their convention Aug. 27-Aug. 30 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fl.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 17, 2012 10:00 AM.

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