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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — From delegates to reporters, there is literally thousands of people in North Carolina gearing up for the Democratic National Convention.
Inside the Time Warner Arena, where the convention will be held for two days, the final touches are being worked out and speakers are getting ready for their primetime debuts. Outside the area, it has been a bright and sunny day, which describes the mood for many of the delegates.
"For me, it's very exciting," said Linda Harry from Houston, Texas. "I have a lot of support from my friends and my community, and I've been looking forward to coming and just networking with other Democrats."
But just like the Republican National Convention last week, there are storm clouds on the horizon. The message, particularly compared with President Barack Obama's rise to the presidency in 2008, is more serious.
"This is really a choice election," Utah delegate Glenn Wright said. "We have decisions to make on the future of this country."
A Romney-Ryan presidency would mean the beginning of the end of Medicare as we see it today.
Last week in Tampa, Fla., Republicans made the case against the Obama administration, saying the president has failed the nation, particularly on the economy. Man Democrats, however, say they believe the alternative to President Obama would be worse.
"A Romney-Ryan presidency would mean the beginning of the end of Medicare as we see it today," Nelson Cox said.
A nation divide is growing, not unlike an un-civil war, says delegate Bob Welsh, whose great grandfather fought in North Carolina with Sherman's army.
"I think if Ryan and Romney get in, we're going to have the same fight," Welsh said. "Only, the rich are going to get richer and poor people like us, we're going to be fighting for our education, for our health, all our rights that we want. It's going to be another fight."
Democrats say they're ready to excite their base and win over undecided voters.
"President Obama renominated and re-elected, that's my main goal in my life," Welsh said.
Most Utah Democrats are staying away from the national convention, but Democratic candidate Scott Howell, who originally planned to not go, said he has changed his mind and will be at the convention.
Howell is running against incumbent Sen. Orrin Hatch. He said he got a call over the weekend from the Democratic National Convention's faith chairman, inviting him to do a devotional in Charlotte on Wednesday.
Howell said he was honored to speak to a national audience about his membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"Sometimes faith trumps politics, and in this case, it very clearly is that way," Howell said.