He has yet to win over Americans, but residents of San Antonio say their young mayor is the real deal.
CHARLOTTE -- "OF COURSE!" Mildred Hilbrich roars. She's been talking calmly about her experience as a delegate to the Democratic convention, but the question -- whether her mayor, San Antonio's Julián Castro, will be the next governor of Texas -- sets her off.
Democrats hope that the entire country catches Castro fever when the 37-year-old delivers the keynote address tonight. His assigment is tough: a keynote address can launch a career (think 2004 DNC keynoter Barack Obama) or be a high point on a path back to obscurity (think about 1996 RNC keynoter Susan Molinari, on the off chance you can remember her). But it's clear that Castro inspires fierce loyalty among his current constituents.
Actually, Hilbrich's row in the Texas section was louder than any other in the Time Warner Arena; they nearly outshouted the entire Massachusetts delegation when Bay State icon Ted Kennedy was honored. The row's foreman was Renee Watson, sporting a heavily decorated cowboy hat and flanked by several other bequined older women. Watson is a rare voter more charged up about Obama's reelection than his 2008 election, and said this convention had been more fun than the 2008 one, where she was also a delegate. "We set the pace in 2008, now we've got to move the country forward," she said. And Watson couldn't wait to see Michelle Obama.