Protest standoff resolved

As dozens of protesters blocked an intersection near the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte on Thursday, they were surrounded and outnumbered by heavily armed police officers who appeared ready to move in.

When the situation was resolved with a conversation instead of a confrontation, it helped demonstrate why the tallies of arrests have stayed low at this year’s national political conventions.

Police have balanced overwhelming shows of manpower with flexibility during the Democratic convention and last week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, helping to keep the number of people arrested or detained at 21 and 2, respectively. Another big factor has been lower-than-expected turnout for protesters, who have also stopped short of the mayhem that unfolded at other conventions in recent years.

The impasse during the roadblock in Charlotte was resolved when a protester asked to speak to the police chief, and they worked out a deal to allow the group to continue walking through the city’s central business district.

“It’s all about communication,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe said. “You have to watch what’s going on, be prepared. But you don’t want to be too aggressive.”

Biden son puts his name in

Democrats nominated Joe Biden for a second term as vice president Thursday after his name was put forward by his son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden.

The younger Biden said his father has used three decades in public service to help pass legislation and strengthen ties with U.S. allies by relying on “relationships, experience, respect and goodwill.” The vice president wiped tears from his eyes as his son spoke.

When Biden joined the ticket in 2008, he brought 36 years of experience in the Senate, working-class roots that help him connect with average voters and a penchant for occasional verbal gaffes.

Giffords leads Pledge

Gabrielle Giffords received a standing ovation Thursday as she walked onto the stage to lead the delegates in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

The former Arizona congresswoman walked with a limp, but smiled broadly and waved enthusiastically to the audience as they chanted, “Gabby, Gabby.”

Giffords has helped out Democrats on occasion after resigning earlier this year to focus on her recovery from a gunshot wound to the head. She campaigned for the former aide who took her seat in Congress, Ron Barber. She also has formed a political action committee.

Caroline Kennedy speaks

Caroline Kennedy told the convention Thursday that the re-election of President Obama is just as important to the future of the country as the 1960 election of her father, John F. Kennedy.

Kennedy said that Obama shares the traditional Democratic ideals of her father, who often focused on social justice, economic fairness and equal opportunity. The election, she said, is about whether those ideals will be advanced or swept away. She said the election is particularly important to women and children, and that now is not the time to roll back women’s rights that were being won when JFK was president.

Convention tops football

The second night of the Democratic National Convention beat the Republicans in the television ratings and, perhaps more impressively, beat pro football.

The Nielsen ratings company said an estimated 25.1 million people watched the convention between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, when former President Clinton was delivering an impassioned nomination speech.

During that hour, just over 20 million people were watching the second half of the Dallas Cowboys’ season-opening victory over the New York Giants..

The second night of the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla., last week featured vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. It was seen by 21.9 million people.

— From news service reports