The main drag through downtown Charlotte looked a bit like Times Square on Sunday night, as revelers and out-of-towners converged to gawk at the flashing city around them.

The electric scene before the start of the Democratic National Convention belies the trouble under the surface.

For Democrats, North Carolina was an awkward choice and represents some of the challenges President Obama faces this Election Day.

Unemployment here is at 9.6 percent, well above the national average. The governor of the state, Democrat Bev Perdue, was rated as the least popular governor in the country in a recent survey and does not plan to seek re-election.

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