CHARLOTTE, N. C. - Labor Day is the traditional start of the fall campaign, and Monday saw a contrast in both style and message from the contenders for the presidency.
While Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan told a Labor Day audience in Greeneville, N.C., that Americans were worse off than they were four years ago, the head of his ticket, Mitt Romney, took his 29-foot boat Sea Ray out for a spin. Romney's wife Ann spent a portion of the day jet skiing. Clearly the Romney's, if not better off than four years ago, they are doing just fine. Perhaps the appropriate question is whether Romney and his donors are better off this year than four years ago.
On the Democratic side, President Obama and Vice President Biden were out on the campaign trail while the party faithful were gathering in Charlotte for their national convention.
Obama was in Toledo, Ohio, a battleground state that has seen its economy rebound as a result of Obama's bailout of the automobile industry.
According to the Associated Press, the president told a cheering Labor Day crowd, "The automobile industry has come roaring back."
Another battleground state (Michigan) hit hard by the Bush recession has bounced back because of the president's bailout policy. Vice President Biden offered a simple way to answer the question, "Are Americans better off than four years ago?"
According to the Associated Press, Biden told a group in Detroit:"Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive."
Meanwhile in Charlotte, the party was on for those in attendance for the Democratic convention. A streetfest was held in downtown Charlotte, complete with a parade, marching bands and good old Southern food.
As delegates began to file into the city, they met in their respective state caucuses, took in some of the streetfest activities and were entertained in the street by North Carolina native James Taylor. John Legend closed out the day's activities with a concert at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The DNC decided months ago to eliminate one day of the convention and plan a family day for area residents.
The streetfest was such a huge success that the city's new rapid rail system was pushed to provide parking spaces for people wishing to come into downtown to share in the festive atmosphere the Democrats created with their all-inclusive planning.
The rails were so packed that the rail station attendants were unable to check boarding passes. Their primary concern was not the collection of revenue this day, but getting people safely on and off the rail.
The Taylor concert, a free event in the heart of Charlotte, was cut short by a rainstorm, while John Legend, in a ticketed event for delegates, wooed the party stalwarts with his sultry voice at the Hall of Fame venue.
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