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Charlotte Was A Bad Choice

2:51 PM, May 18, 2012 • By JAY COST
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In a report called, "Messina dismisses doubts about Obama chances of winning North Carolina," the Hill has this to say about Obama campaign manager Jim Messina

President Obama’s campaign manager dismissed suggestions that it was a mistake for Democrats to hold their national convention in North Carolina, saying he has “zero” regrets about the decision.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Hill on Wednesday, Jim Messina insisted the president can win North Carolina despite low approval ratings there and recent polls that have indicated his support in the state is waning.

I don't buy this spin. It was a mistake.

For starters, you win the presidency with 270 electoral votes. If you rank Obama's 2008 statewide victories from biggest to smallest, and take into account the changes to the Electoral College because of the latest census, North Carolina provided the 344th electoral vote for Obama--meaning, it was just gravy. The state that put him over the top was actually Colorado, and Iowa was a close second in that regard. 

So if he was looking to hold a minimum of 270 electoral votes by using 2008 results as his baseline, either of those two states would have been better than North Carolina. In fact, any other state that he won in 2008 would have been better. His margin in North Carolina was just 0.32 percent, smaller than his margin of victory even in Indiana, smaller even than his margin of victory in Nebraska's Second Congressional District.

Worse, putting the convention in Charlotte frustrates multiple clients of the Democratic party. The gay marriage ballot initiative in North Carolina is only one such example, which obviously aggravates high-profile gay donors to Obama-Biden. But also problematic is that North Carolina is a right to work state and the unions are having a hard time swallowing that one.

So, Charlotte was a mistake -- at least insofar as these things matter. He should have held it in Denver or maybe Des Moines. Even Omaha, Nebraska would have been a better location than Charlotte!

Jay Cost is a staff writer for THE WEEKLY STANDARD and the author of Spoiled Rotten: How the Politics of Patronage Corrupted the Once Noble Democratic Party and Now Threatens the American Republic, available now wherever books are sold.

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