Capitalism alive and well in CharlotteSeptember 3, 2012 3:43 PM
For Republicans convinced that President Barack Obama is a socialist, they need only come to CarolinaFest in Charlotte, N.C., to find capitalism alive and well among the Democratic throng.
"Get your official programs here. Five dollars!" yell hawkers at every step along Trayon Street.
Under Monday's sweltering heat, thousands of delegates, residents and journalists have crammed onto the street for a pre-convention event before the main show gets underway on Tuesday.
Dozens of booths line the street, which is cordoned off by hundreds of law enforcement officials. Anything die-hard Democrats might want is on sale.
Items include the Obama/Biden "official" merchandise, such as T-shirts with messages like "Fired up, ready to go" emblazoned across them.
There are other booths selling other Obama T-shirts, although everything still needed to get design approval from campaign officials.
There's also the "Obama bling" store, offering assorted jewelry like the glittery 'Obama hope' pin. (We are told Michelle has one.)
One booth offers a collectors' item (everything here seems to be a collectors' item) that consists of a small cardboard package that lists Obama's accomplishments on the back. Inside? Seven bite-size chocolate chip ?? cookies.
A popular booth is the one for the AFL-CIO, where people are encouraged to "Hug a union thug" for free - a difficult offer to turn down, even for those staunchly anti-union.
Even the Republicans are represented. Romney/Ryan buttons are prominently displayed at one political button booth and account for about 20 per cent of the sales.
"I think people who collect buttons want both sides, said Ken Hosner, who works for Bold Concepts.
If shopping for political memorabilia isn't a convention-goer's thing, there is entertainment all day, with James Taylor and Jeff Bridges and his band among the featured performers.