In a humid and occasionally stormy Charlotte, N.C., the Democratic National Convention is now officially under way.
North Carolina is a state President Obama won in 2008, but his opponent, Mitt Romney, is currently ahead in the polls. It's an important swing state in which the president faces an uphill slog. North Carolina voted heavily against gay marriage the day after the president came out in favor of it. Unemployment is above 9 1/2 percent. Now the team that rose to power on a promise of change is asking the state's voters to stay the course.
A familiar face at the podium to bring the proceedings to order will be Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in his capacity as chairman of the DNC. The party will make the case that the change Mr. Obama promised four years ago is a work in progress.
Senator Barbara Boxer led the counter-charge at the California delegation's breakfast Tuesday morning.
"We now have a consumer protection agency to stand up to Wall Street's excesses. Are we better off than we were yesterday? Yes we are," Boxer said.
Boxer was one of several women taking leading roles to emphasize and, they hope, amplify President Obama's lead among women. She was flanked by graduate student Sandra Fluke, who was called a "slut" and a "prostitute" by talk show host Rush Limbaugh for testifying about the need for contraceptive services for women.
"They want to say that we want free stuff. I'm here to tell you that's incorrect. What my generation believes we are entitled to is equality of opportunity," Fluke said.
This convention is an opportunity for actress Thora Birch to get involved in politics for the first time. Birch, who appeared in the films "American Beauty" and "Patriot Games," is a delegate from Southern California.
"American democracy is fabulous, but you have to follow it," she said. "It's not just something you just pick up a couple of weeks before the election."
Look for ongoing reports from ABC7 Anchor Marc Brown at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.