CHARLOTTE, N.Car. – Renee Drayton, 43, a volunteer for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, could not see him from her vantage point as he delivered the speech that conveyed his acceptance of the Democratic Party's nomination.
It's doubtful that she could have screamed any louder had she have been seated down front.
"I can't wait to get back to Maryland and pull up my bootstraps and get back to work on the campaign," said Drayton, who found herself with a soul-satisfying view when – moments after he completed his address – the President, his family and Vice President Joe Biden and his family – stepped onto the sliver of the stage that could be seen from her seat.
As the din in the packed-to-the-rafters Time Warner Cable Arena subsided to a level where people could hear each other, Drayton explained some of the work ahead for her and the other Obama foot soldiers she works with.
"We came down here for the convention and we had a phone bank going on. We do a day-of-action canvass on Saturday and we're doing another on Sunday," said Drayton, Drayton worked a little bit in the election campaign of then-Sen. Obama of Illinois.
"It's more important this time," said Drayton, explaining why she has stepped up her game. "As a woman, I want my rights. As someone who went to look into entrepreneurship and building a business, I don't see big business trying to give me my fair share. It's time for me to pull up my bootstraps and work hard with the President who is trying to provide opportunities for middle class people."
Her takeaways from the Thursday night (Sept. 6) speech included hearing President Obama talk about working hard to help small businesses and making education more affordable.
Drayton, who works full time at an accounting firm in Bethesda, Md., has an undergrad degree. "I am trying to finish a graduate program, but because of the costs it's kind of hard to do that. So I'm looking for opportunities to finish that degree."
Her son is 24, she said, noting that his age puts him beyond the limit for inclusion on her health insurance.
"With the President's new (Affordable Health Care Act) program, he could apply (by age), but there is a little bit of a difference for me because he doesn't live in the same state that I live in. But if he did, he would be able to be on my insurance."
Is he registered to vote? "Yes, he is registered to vote. I've got on him about that at the last election."
As President Obama worked through his speech, Keith Kelly, 43, of Charlotte said he voted for him in 2008 and is sticking with him. "I believe in his vision and his work is not done yet."
Kelly works in the mortgage industry where, he said, President Obama has "set guidelines for the industry to follow and make sure people protect the homeowner."
He is preparing for a "real close" election and doing his part, registering voters and manning phone banks.
"The fight is not over. We still need to go out and see the grassroots and get the people out," he said. "Let them know about the new changes in the election rules and get them out voting because a lot of people just don't know."
Chants of "Fired up! Ready to go!" echoed in the hallways as the convention crowd inched to the exits. As Memphis attorney Monice Hagler navigated her way through, she stopped to offer her assessment of the President's speech.
"I thought he did a great job of outlining what happens next and that's what people want to hear, where do we go from here, because we all appreciate the fact that he has had a difficult four years and he outlined for us what he is going to do," said Hagler. "We've just got to stand with him."
Outside the arena, State Rep. Joe Towns Jr. (D-Memphis, District 84) was speaking with Pam Martin, who lives in the Florida Keys. They met on the spot and were talking about what they heard.
"I think what he did for the American people was explain a lot of things that all of this media money and Republican campaign money has distorted, and that's the truth," said Towns.
"He reminded us and told us exactly where the economy was and what he had to do and that he never said it was going to be a short road. It's a journey that's going to take more than four years to accomplish what we need to do as a country."
Martin agreed that the President had succeeded in getting crucial information to key potential voters. "When you look at what you are trying to get out to the public, the ones who are undecided, I think this actually explained it best of anything that has been going on."
Referencing untrue assertions by the GOP standard bearers – former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – and their supporters, Martin said people can start to believe the rhetoric if you don't defend yourself and try to stay above the fray.
"So we defended positions here tonight. We explained our positions in a way that everybody – the average voter – could understand it," Martin said. "Actually, we empowered that voter because they are now the part of change. By their vote this November, they can decide which direction America is going to go in."