Good evening from Charlotte, N.C., where Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz gaveled the convention to order promptly at 5 p.m. ET. in Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Arena.
Schultz, who is also the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said that throughout the next three days, "we will demonstrate we need to keep President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden four more years."
As we've reported, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri is skipping this year's Democratic National Convention. Here's a look from NPR this evening about the 11 other "major Democrats" skipping "Obama's renomination party."
This year's Democratic National Convention has already shrunk by a day. Now it appears the attendance for the event is shrinking, too. At least a dozen prominent Democrats say they won't be able to make it. All are facing tough election campaigns in places where President Obama's popularity lags.
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill at a press conference in St. Louis on Jan. 18, 2011. McCaskill spoke on a variety of topics including secret holds, St. Louis' chances to host the 2012 DNC and spending caps. (Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio)
The scene at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado in 2008. St. Louis is said to be one of the top two potential cities to host the convention in 2012. (Flickr Creative Commons User ravedelay)