Too Soon? Divining Democrats With the ‘It’ Factor for 2020

OPINION — A die-hard Democrat said to me at the gym, “Somebody has to MAKE Michelle Obama run for president.” This was after Obama’s appearance in a television interview, in which she reminded the world what it’s been missing.

Sorry to let that educated, suburban woman in workout clothes down, but in the former first lady’s own words, she has no wish to be president. Besides, she has already done her time under the microscope, making history along with her husband. It’s someone else’s turn now.

But which someone?

Opinion: Charlotte Gambles on the Convention Las Vegas Didn’t Want

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Vi Lyles, the Democratic mayor of the largest city in North Carolina, said championing a bid to host the 2020 Republican National Convention was likely “the most difficult decision of my career.”

As word spread this week that Republicans have chosen Charlotte over other candidates, with a formal announcement due Friday, it’s almost certain the event will be one of the city’s biggest tests.

Opinion: Demanding Dignity From Leaders Comes With a Complicated History

The room — 14 feet, 8 inches wide and 13 feet long — has no windows. It had been a restroom at the Monticello home of Thomas Jefferson in Virginia. But now, the small room adjacent to Jefferson’s, the one historians believe once belonged to Sally Hemings, will be restored and given its due, as will the enslaved woman who evidence indicates was the mother of six children of the third president of the United States.

As the current president, Donald Trump, is often lambasted for lowering the dignity and honor of the office, the news coming out of Monticello — where the role of its enslaved people is belatedly a part of the historical presentation to visitors — is a bracing reminder that our leaders have always been flawed. Founding Father Jefferson wrote stirring words of equality while owning fellow human beings.

Michelle Obama Cuts Donald Trump Down to Size

Michelle Obama is a powerful voice to have in your corner. She is a singular presence who is — at the same time — Everywoman. But if you get on her bad side, if you demonstrate with word and deed that you disrespect the people and things she cares about, watch out.

In Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday, a campaign appearancefor Hillary Clinton became much more. But I’m sure Clinton didn’t mind. The first lady, with raw and visible emotion, put into words what many have been feeling since a cascade of revelations, video tapes and recorded conversations filled in any possible blanks on the character of Donald Trump, on his treatment of — and judgments about — women.

The Charlotte Campaign Stop for Obama, Hillary, Trump


CHARLOTTE, NC — Hillary Clinton got a campaign boost from President Obama when the two made a stop at the Charlotte Convention Center on Tuesday. Donald Trump stumped in Raleigh, hoping to rally enough support to take North Carolina come November. WCCB Political Contributor, Mary C. Curtis, weighs in on what’s next for Campaign 2016.

After ‘Selfie’ at Mandela Service, More Stereotyping of First Lady

Media coverage of the memorial service for Nelson Mandela was inclusive — up to a point. That this one South African had changed minds and changed the world was clear during scenes from the service broadcast around the world.

But when that big story was overwhelmed, then reduced to President Obama’s handshake with Cuban President Raul Castro and first lady Michelle Obama’s reaction to the president’s picture-taking with two other heads of state, it was business as usual.

First in family values? How a White House image could change perceptions

The holiday season, when family relationships, good and bad, move to the forefront, might be just the time to consider how the image of the Obamas in the White House — mother, father, two daughters, grandmother — has affected ideas about the American family in general, and the African American family in particular.

Billy Graham’s legacy and the thin line between church and state

CHARLOTTE — Visitors to Charlotte often travel from the airport to the city center via the Billy Graham Parkway. It can startle the first time, seeing a public roadway named for a major religious figure. But you get used to it once you’ve lived here awhile. You realize how much the region takes pride in its native son, though the life and history of the man called “America’s Pastor” illustrates — in even his own judgment – how tough it can be to maintain a separation of church and state. Should America have a pastor at all?

Why We Love Michelle

Michelle Obama is certainly a different kind of First Lady – in style and substance. The moment she appears before a crowd, people reach out to touch her. She shakes hands, leaning in to share a laugh. She is the first African American to occupy the unelected but strategically and symbolically important position, but her special talents have made her influential across the world.

A question of race is raised

When a reporter asked the question, it was startling because everyone is so used to the interpretive dance around the “r-word,” race, particularly when it comes to describing opposition to any move by the administration of President Barack Obama. After Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a vote on the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, press secretary Jay Carney was asked if the White House saw a racial motive. Carney said, “I think it is about politics, and I think we’ve seen this kind of obstruction far too often. For individual motivations, you need to ask the individuals.” The answer was as cagey as ever.

In Watt’s case there were other reasons given for the rejection: political philosophy, or the belief by conservatives that the congressman would favor more federal involvement in the home mortgage industry; competence, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) questioning Watt’s “technical expertise and experience,” and, of course, the brick wall of senators, such as Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has said he wants more information on last year’s attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, before he will approve much of anything.

It is also true that Republicans chose the nomination of Watt — a black Democrat from North Carolina — for the rare though not unprecedented move of filibustering a sitting member of Congress in a sub-Cabinet but still important post. (Republican Sen. Richard Burr of Watt’s home state, with Rob Portman of Ohio, did split with the GOP to support Watt.)