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Obama campaign opens Charlotte headquarters

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Obama re-election campaign staffers Mitch Stewart (left), director of battleground states, and Gregory Jackson, (right), North Carolina field director, fire up the faithful at the opening of the campaign's Charlotte headquarters, Thursday Jan. 5, 2012. (Photo: Glenn H. Burkins for Qcitymetro.com)

The Obama re-election campaign opened its Charlotte headquarters Thursday with a call for volunteers and a promise to once again put North Carolina in the president’s win column.

Hundreds jammed the one-story building on Elizabeth Avenue between Presbyterian Hospital and Central Piedmont Community College.

Mayor Anthony Foxx reminded the cheering crowd that the same building had housed each of his two successful campaigns for mayor: “Let’s keep the steak unbroken,” he said.

Obama carried North Carolina by 14,000 votes in 2008, and in an apparent nod to the state’s electoral importance this year, the campaign sent Mitch Stewart, its director of battleground states, to attend the Thursday event.

“You all know what’s at stake,” Stewart told the crowd. “You see it on display now almost every night, whether it’s a Republican debate or a Republican talking point. Their vision for this country is vastly different than ours.”

Campaign officials began signing up volunteers, saying they would be needed for what most pundits predict will be a tough re-election effort for the president, whose poll numbers have dropped considerably under a stagnant economy and Washington gridlock.

“This is where you guys are going to come to knock on doors, to make phone calls, to register voters, to do what is needed to carry President Obama across the victory line in 2012,” said Lindsay Siler, the campaign’s N.C. state director.

Siler reminded the crowd that voters will go to the polls exactly 10 months from today.

Foxx reminded the crowd that exactly four years earlier, on the eve of the 2008 election, candidate Obama traveled to UNC Charlotte for one last push in North Carolina.

“It was raining, it was cold, but we were all out there because we had so much belief in President Obama,” Foxx said. “Just think that four years later we’re going to see him raise his hand and take the nomination of the Democratic convention right here in our city.”

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