S.C. at the DNC, Wednesday

September 6, 2012 

  • Covering the Democratic National Convention The State’s Adam Beam and Andrew Shain are in Charlotte this week, covering the Democratic convention from a South Carolina point of view.
    Adam BeamAndy Shain

Democratic chairman’s quip irks Haley

S.C. Democratic Party chairman Dick Harpootlian Wednesday dismissed Republican Gov. Nikki Haley’s daily press conferences for Mitt Romney during the Democratic National Convention as taking place “in a bunker a la Eva Braun” – a reference to the mistress of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

“She was down in the bunker a la Eva Braun,” Harpootlian told S.C. delegates during their breakfast meeting. “They have gone to the bowels of (the NASCAR Hall of Fame) so we can’t see them.”

S.C. Republicans were quick to pounce on the remark, saying Harpootlian had called Haley a Nazi. Matt Moore, executive director of the S.C. Republican Party, posted on his Twitter page that Harpootlian’s comments “are despicable and require an apology.”

Speaking with a group of Republican surrogates for GOP presidential nominee Romney, Haley called Harpootlian “an angry, hateful man who continues to embarrass South Carolina every time he opens his mouth.”

Harpootlian, who has a history of making colorful, hyperbolic comments, said he was not calling Haley a Nazi. But, he added, “A hit dog howls.”

Some Democrats were not happy with Harpootlian’s choice of words.

“It’s inappropriate, and ... it’s disturbing,” said state Sen. Joel Lourie of Columbia. “People need to think more carefully about their words when they are trying to draw such analogies.”

But, Lourie added, “We’re only 80 miles away from Charlotte, and anytime the governor wants to come back and do her job, we do have issues here.”

Democrats held a press conference Tuesday to criticize Haley for being out of her office for the past two weeks to go to Republican and Democratic conventions.

Benjamin: ‘I have a pocketful of business cards’

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin has been driving to Charlotte every day to attend seminars and receptions, making contacts for the city.

“I enjoy the politics. You have to enjoy the energy. But I enjoy the policy and fellowship a lot more,” Benjamin said after attending a luncheon sponsored by The Huffington Post that featured former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw and musician will.i.am.

Benjamin attended a reception held by Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx Monday and spoke to Mississippi delegates on the importance of voting Wednesday. “The histories of South Carolina and Mississippi are very similar,” he said. “So many people of all stripes and backgrounds gave so much for the precious right to vote.”

Also Wednesday, Benjamin was planning to attend a gathering of city leaders at Emeril Lagasse’s restaurant and a reception at the Mint Museum for The NewDeal, a pro-business organization co-chaired by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who will speak to S.C. delegates today.

Today, Benjamin plans to attend a mayor’s forum and a reception for The Hamilton Project, another pro-business group.

Benjamin said he had a chance to be delegate to the convention but chose to come to Charlotte for events where he could pitch Columbia and economic development. “I have a pocketful of business cards.”

Harpootlian throwing a party

President Barack Obama was supposed to give his acceptance speech tonight in Charlotte’s 73,000-seat Bank of America stadium. But officials moved the speech inside to the 20,000-seat Time Warner Cable Arena because of the threat of rainy weather – meaning 6,000 to 7,000 S.C. ticketholders can’t see the speech live.

But state Democratic Party chairman Dick Harpootlian said he has personally paid for a viewing party tonight at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. A cash bar and concessions will be available for purchase. The president is scheduled to speak between 10-11 p.m.

What the S.C. delegates are doing

Today: Breakfast with Maryland Gov. O’Malley, former S.C. Gov. Jim Hodges and Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen

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