UPDATED: Amid all the campaign signs at the state Democratic Party convention Saturday afternoon, one is conspicuously absent: Obama for America.
The only signs touting President Barack Obama in the convention hall are vendors selling buttons and T-shirts. The Obama campaign doesn't appear to have a table, or an organized presence at the event, where more than 1,200 party members are gathered.
A number of Democrats privately note the absence as odd, but the Obama campaign apparently dismisses the notion. "Obama campaign is working. We are talking to voters about moving our economy #forward," said Michael Halle, the general election director for the president's North Carolina campaign, in a tweet from his personal account.
"This weekend our volunteers are organizing in their communities through multiple voter registration drives across the state and discussing important issues of importance to North Carolinians such as jobs and education," added spokesman Cameron French.
Instead of participating in the day-long state convention, the Obama campaign organized a "Day of Action" that included registering voters and neighborhood canvassing.
A state Democratic Party spokesman said Obama's state campaign manager, Lindsay Siler, appeared at a Democratic women's breakfast Saturday morning before the convention started. "They've got every vote in that room and they are out expanding our universe," said Walton Robinson with the state Democratic Party.
Still, Republicans suggest the limited Obama presence is another sign of rift between the president's camp and the N.C. Democratic Party, given the party's ongoing sexual harassment scandal and Chairman David Parker's refusal to step down.
Such a suggestion is too simple -- ignoring the fact that the two operate independently -- but the absence seems to reinforce the storyline that national Democrats and the Obama campaign are working around Parker and the state party.
At the Republican convention, Mitt Romney signs were numerous and three big-name GOPers -- Donald Trump, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Perry -- touted the nominee's credentials.
The featured Democratic Party speaker is Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden and Delaware's attorney general. Democratic observer Gary Pearce suggests the mid-level Obama campaign surrogate is an under-whelming choice.