On way to Democratic National Convention, NY Dems happy with Obama

President Barack Obama acknowledges the crowd after speaking

President Barack Obama acknowledges the crowd after speaking at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. (April 24, 2012) (Credit: AP)

Polls show President Barack Obama leading Republican Mitt Romney by more than 20 points in the State of New York, and that enthusiasm for the president is reflected in the attitudes of delegates heading to the party's convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Reginald Lafayette, chairman of the Westchester County Democratic Committee and a delegate from the 17th Congressional District, says the president's policies are working.

"Despite what Republicans say, the bailout of the banks and auto industry helped the country," Lafayette said.


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Lafayette said he believes Obama can run on his record and win.

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, a delegate representing the 18th Congressional District, said the New York delegation is solidly behind Obama, this time. In 2008, most New York delegates backed Hillary Rodham Clinton -- then a U.S. senator. She lost the party's nomination to Obama in a close contest.

"Those divisions healed long ago," said Bramson, who supported Clinton in the 2008. "The reality is that Sen. Clinton and President Obama share a common set of values and a vision for the future of the country."

Bramson said he expects the convention in Charlotte to produce a final platform aligned with the beliefs of a majority of New Yorkers.

"I think the Democratic platform is well within mainstream New York and the country, in contrast to the Republican platform, which is a radical right-wing document that is at odds with the values of most Americans," Bramson said.

New York's 384-member Democratic delegation is a mix of members of Congress and locally elected officials, former party bigwigs and rising stars, party loyalists who don't hold office and union officials.

The delegation includes retiring Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-New York), whose congressional district was eliminated in redistricting; Rep. Eliot Engel (D-Bronx); state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli; former New York City Mayor Ed Koch; Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano; Ramapo Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and Rockland Democratic Committee chairwoman Kristen Stavisky.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will limit his presence at the convention to one day -- Thursday, the closing day, when Obama delivers his acceptance speech. Some political analysts think Cuomo is trying to tamp down speculation about a presidential run in 2016. Cuomo has said he has business to attend to in New York.

While New York isn't considered a battleground state, strong support here is important to the Obama campaign, as the state is home to some of the nation's most generous campaign contributors, both Republican and Democratic. Both parties will tap into the Empire State to raise money for campaigns elsewhere.

President Obama is now travelling cross-country in a run-up to the convention. The trip will take him through the battleground states of Iowa, Colorado, Ohio and Virginia. The president carried all four in 2008, but all four are high on Romney's list of attractive targets. The president spent Saturday in suburban Des Moines and in Sioux City, Iowa, before heading to Colorado for a Sunday event with college students at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Obama will accept the Democratic nomination on Thursday evening.

Obama campaign aide Stephanie Cutter said the Charlotte gathering would not be about rallying the base or leveling "petty attacks," but would instead focus on "what we need to do with the country to move us forward, not back."

"We don't need to reintroduce the president or reinvent him, as is the case with Mitt Romney," Cutler said. "Instead, our convention will tell the story of the last four years, how the president made some tough choices to help a country and the economy recover."

With Yancey Roy and The Associated Press

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