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Analysis: Democrats Optimistic Going Into National Convention

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 03: A display on stage show U.S. President Barack Obama during preparations for the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 3, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC that will start on September 4 and run through September 7, will nominate U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 03: A display on stage show U.S. President Barack Obama during preparations for the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 3, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC that will start on September 4 and run through September 7, will nominate U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

By Larry Kane

CHARLOTTE, NC (CBS) – Day one: Michelle Obama speaks tonight and Pennsylvania delegates have their first breakfast.

There is an enthusiasm here, but it’s filled with tension about November. At issue: the closeness of the race nationally, but a confidence in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware that the local map is painted blue.

In a rare interview, Democratic National Press Chief Melanie Roussell, the number one campaign communicator tells us that the Democrats were not surprised by the GOP’s rightward tilt.

kane larry tight Analysis: Democrats Optimistic Going Into National Convention

(KYW’s Larry Kane)

“We have known all along that once Mitt Romney took these really extreme positions on several issues, such as immigration and women’s health — and even his tax plan is particularly extreme — we knew he was going to have to stick with that in order to maintain his level of support.”

Reporter: “Inside his party?”

Roussell: “Inside the party, absolutely.”

Philadelphia Councilman and union leader Bobby Henon is not happy that the convention is being held in a state that is not union-friendly.

“I had to hold my nose and hold my breath as I came into a right-to-work state. And I hope I can speak to some of the employees down here to let them know what it means to have a collective bargaining agreement, what it means to have health care, what it means to have a pension and what it means to have a future to look forward to.”

But Congressman Chaka Fattah is upbeat especially after the surveys.

“The latest Gallup numbers have the president up by one. There’s been almost no bounce out of the Republican convention, so now we get a chance to tell our story.”

Some other business: President Obama will speak outdoors Thursday night — shine or rain — and there’s plenty of the latter here.

Tonight, the most popular White House personality is the speaker. We watched last night as a poised Michelle Obama rehearsed for the big night.

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