Redlands physician Ronald Hattis and Redlands city council candidate Mike Saifie checked in Thursday from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
"Tonight is the big night, when Obama gives his acceptance speech," Hattis said, speaking from his room at the Hampton Inn in Charlotte. "We arrived Sunday. The highlights, Michelle's speech was very emotional. It showed the personal side of the president.
"Last night, Bill Clinton's speech was excellent," Hattis said. "In a very folksy, simple way, he explained the inaccuracies the Republicans made at their convention, and he made his arguments about why Obama should be re-elected."
Hattis, a life-long member of the Democratic Party, and Saifie were elected as delegates at a caucus in April in San Bernardino. The caucus represented Democrats in the 31st Congressional District. Three men and three women were elected, and Saifie and Hattis were the only two delegates elected from Redlands, Hattis said.
"It's an exciting experience to be part of a large gathering that's making history," Hattis said."I've noticed the delegates here at the Democratic convention are a much more diverse group then what you saw at the Republican convention in Tampa. They look like America."
The weather in Charlotte has been warm and humid, Hattis said.
"It's very muggy, high humidity," Hattis said. "The weather has been a factor. They've changed the venue for Obama's speech tonight because they're concerned about rain outdoors. It will be indoors at the arena where the rest of the convention is being staged."
Saifie, who is sharing a room with Hattis, dressed in a colorful outfit Wednesday night and he has appeared in Associated Press and Getty photographs from the convention floor.
"I was elected in the same caucus with Ron, I got the highest number of votes," Saifie said. "Name recognition was important. I was a candidate for Redlands city council in 2010 and finished very close. . . .
"The most impressive thing about Charlotte so far is the hospitality of the police and security," Saifie said. "We have the Charlotte P.D., police from Chicago, Milwaukee, the Secret Service, the Border Patrol and Customs. It's amazing, not the security but the hospitality they are showing.
"The local people are tremendous here in Charlotte. There are flowers, people are clapping, they are happy, they are welcoming us, and everyone is enjoying Charlotte. This nation is built on the foundation unity. We cannot be divided to move the country forward. East or west, north or south, black or white, we have to be together to move the nation forward."
Asked whether there is any concern about the Obama campaign's answer to the Republicans' question "Are you better off now than four years ago?" Hattis responded:
"Clinton and many other speakers have answered that: as a people and a country, we're in much better shape," Hattis said. "As individuals, many of us have, but some for instance, who are still out of work or going through foreclosure have not yet felt the difference, but they should during the second term because things are going in the right direction.
"There's a tremendous feeling of unity here, as Americans," Hattis said. "We care about and want to help each other and not just the top 1 percent.
"We don't reject any group of Americans," Hattis said. We fully embrace and offer an equal role to all. Women, minorities, gays are much accepted and respected and can be leaders. Our delegation looks like California and the whole arena looks like America."
Last week, Redlands attorney Julie Biggs spoke with Redlands-Loma Linda Patch from the in Tampa.