Last Updated:September 16 @ 06:33 pm

Democrats downsize venue for Obama speech

By Julie Pace and Ken Thomas

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Democratic officials are moving President Barack Obama's convention speech Thursday indoors, citing the possibility of severe weather.

Obama had planned to accept his party's nomination in an outdoor football stadium before a crowd of up to 74,000 people. But Obama officials said forecasters have predicted severe thunderstorms Thursday in the 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. hour, raising concerns about the safety of supporters, volunteers, staff members and law enforcement.

Officials said Thursday's entire program would be moved indoors, including Vice President Joe Biden's speech. The events will be held at the Time Warner Cable Arena, the site of the first two days of the convention proceedings.

Obama will speak to about 15,000 people gathered in the arena Thursday, a far smaller audience than had been expected at the outdoor stadium.

Democrats were warily watching the weather all week. Their worst case scenario was a last-minute cancellation that would strand tens of thousands of people, many of whom had planned to arrive by the busload in the middle of the storm with no place to go.

Obama's team, locked in a tight race with Republican Mitt Romney in this Southern battleground state, determined that wasn't worth the political risk.

Democrats were also worried about the possibility of anti-Obama hecklers acquiring some of the free tickets to the event and disrupting the president's speech. The move indoors limits that possibility because most of those in the crowd will be official convention participants.

Republicans, who canceled the first day of their convention due to weather in Tampa, Fla., accusedDemocrats of downgrading their events because of low enthusiasm.

"After promising to hold the event at Bank of America stadium rain or shine, suddenly Team Obama is moving inside after questions about enthusiasm for the event," said Kirsten Kukowski, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. "What's the real forecast for the speech? Forty percent chance of lies and scattered excuses."

Democrats insisted the decision was based strictly on the weather.

Steve Kerrigan, who heads the Democratic convention, said more than 65,000 people had signed up for credentials to attend the outdoor speech but now could not be accommodated because of the smaller venue. He said organizers were encouraging those credential holders and "Americans across the country to continue to come together with their friends and neighbors to watch and participate in history."

Kerrigan said Obama would speak to those credential holders on a national conference call Thursday afternoon. "We will work with the campaign to ensure that those unable to attend tomorrow's event will be invited to see the president between now and Election Day," he said.

Forecasts for Thursday night had been improving all through the week. The National Weather Service said Wednesday morning that there is a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon, but it would drop to 20 percent by the time the president was scheduled to speak in the 10 p.m. hour.

---

GOPUSA Editor's Note: Earlier in the week Democrats were frantically busing people into Charlotte in an effort to fill 74,000 seats.

But there was still no guarantee of good weather for Obama's speech.

"We're dealing with a warm, unstable air mass, so you can never absolutely say it's not going to rain or storm," said National Weather Service meteorologist Bryan McAvoy.

It has rained every day since Saturday in Charlotte. Strong storms brought downpours of nearly an inch Monday and Tuesday.

Jan Bauer, a delegate from Ames, Iowa, said she was thrilled about the move 'because it's not very comfortable sitting in the rain."

The move also helps Obama avoid comparisons to 2008, when he accepted the Democratic nomination before a capacity crowd of 84,000 people at an outdoor football stadium in Denver. Democrats had been fretting for months that the president might not be able to fill the slightly smaller stadium this time around.

Obama's campaign had planned to use the larger public rally as an opportunity to boost voter registration and recruit new volunteers. Those efforts will be hampered by the move indoors, but the campaign still has voter information from the 65,000 people who signed up for credentials.

The venue switch is sure to be a costly letdown, if the 2008 Democratic convention is any guide.

Charlotte convention organizers have been guarded about their expenses and won't have to publicly report them until October. Federal campaign records from the Democratic convention in Denver show that the host committee spent more than $760,000 just to rent the outdoor stadium, not counting all the costs of outfitting it for Obama's acceptance speech.

The dual venues also doubled the cost of covering the Charlotte convention for most news organizations.

___

Associated Press writers Jeffrey Collins in Charlotte, N.C., and Brian Bakst in St. Paul, Minn., contributed to this report.

VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
Rate this post:
Rating: 9.1/10 (15 votes cast)
Democrats downsize venue for Obama speech, 9.1 out of 10 based on 15 ratings





Don't leave yet! Add a comment below or check out these other great stories:

16 Comments

  1. Mort_fComment by Mort_f
    September 6, 2012 @ 9:03 am

    Hopefully, doubling the costs for the major ‘news organizations’ will help to drive them into bankruptcy. Ooops, that would result in another ‘bailout’. May there be much more ‘rain on HIS parade’.

    VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
    Rate this comment:
    Rating: 4.4/5 (14 votes cast)
  2. Bob KnowsComment by Bob Knows
    September 6, 2012 @ 10:00 am

    Far better to look foolish than for their empty suit to play for ten thousand empty seats.

    VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
    Rate this comment:
    Rating: 4.1/5 (13 votes cast)
    • Blu OwenComment by Blu Owen
      September 6, 2012 @ 11:43 am

      Democrats say they were extremely worried about the forecast of 30%. The truth be known there were probably 2 identical forecasts one was the 30% chance of rain the other the 30% chance of them being able to fill the stadium.

      VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
      Rate this comment:
      Rating: 5.0/5 (10 votes cast)
  3. Amfer FergComment by Amfer Ferg
    September 6, 2012 @ 10:14 am

    Isn’t it strange…the nasty mouths of the dems wishing the hurricane Isaac would cancel the RNC, blow them away, etc., etc. I didn’t hear that said about the DNC but, then again, God forced them to downsize and use ‘His weather’ as an ‘excuse’ that 20+thousand people are ‘no shows’. Ironic…

    VA:F [1.9.6_1107]
    Rate this comment:
    Rating: 4.4/5 (14 votes cast)
    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      September 6, 2012 @ 10:58 am

      I agree. The Republican convention being in the potential path of Isaac was supposedly a message that God hates Republicans. The Dems excuse is that “mother nature doesn’t always cooperate.” Perhaps that is because they don’t believe in God but like the idea of God’s vengeance against people they disagree with.

      VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
      Rate this comment:
      Rating: 4.3/5 (6 votes cast)
  4. thomasjeffersonComment by thomasjefferson
    September 6, 2012 @ 10:29 am

    Indoors at a Much smaller arena so you wouldn’t see all the empty seats.

    VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
    Rate this comment:
    Rating: 4.3/5 (12 votes cast)
    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      September 6, 2012 @ 11:00 am

      Exactly. I wonder what their credentialing process involved, by the way? Driver’s license? Voter registration card? Birth certificate (real one of course)? If they were bussing people in last minute to fill the stadium with at least 60,000 people, it couldn’t have been too intensive a credentialing process. Maybe they were afraid those evil tea-partiers might get tickets with so little time to vet their attendees.

      VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
      Rate this comment:
      Rating: 4.4/5 (7 votes cast)
    • daveevad1Comment by daveevad1
      September 6, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

      Their credentialing process involved genuflecting in front of a picture of Obama and Moochelle.

      They would never know whether they had adequate credentials or not – I’m surprised the Democrats haven’t demanded that ballots carry pictures of the candidates instead of just names, in the manner of many foreign countries.

      VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
      Rate this comment:
      Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  5. godsgirlComment by godsgirl
    September 6, 2012 @ 10:45 am

    Attendees to the dnc must be credentialled…no ID needed to vote! No God…wait, yes God! No Jerusalem…wait, yes God! It’s gotta to be hard to embrace everybody’s platform to grab votes…makes you wonder what they really believe…

    VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
    Rate this comment:
    Rating: 4.4/5 (7 votes cast)
  6. cgretiredComment by cgretired
    September 6, 2012 @ 10:49 am

    But “we” (I won’t watch it) will get to see all the empty shirts.

    VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
    Rate this comment:
    Rating: 4.2/5 (5 votes cast)
  7. Jerry SmithComment by Jerry Smith
    September 6, 2012 @ 11:06 am

    Gotta underline the comments from Godsgirl. You need ID to get into the arena but not to vote! Don’t ever try using logic to figure out what the demoncats are doing.

    VA:F [1.9.6_1107]
    Rate this comment:
    Rating: 4.4/5 (7 votes cast)
  8. joelinpdxComment by joelinpdx
    September 6, 2012 @ 11:19 am

    Hey! Obozo’s handlers knew there was no way they could fill the stadium. The weather just became a convenient tool to use to change the location for the Great One’s acceptance speech.

    The thing is, the Obozo crowd thinks America will fall for this little lie so it just follows that America will fall for the big lies on things like the economy.

    VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
    Rate this comment:
    Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)
  9. clarkentComment by clarkent
    September 6, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

    More lies. More lies. More lies. The only way to stop all the lies is to vote the Liar-in-Chief out.

    VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
    Rate this comment:
    Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)
  10. daveevad1Comment by daveevad1
    September 6, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

    As I look out my office window in Charlotte and see sunshine, and check the weather radar to see very little storm activity, it’s obvious that either no one is checking Accuweather or that the DNC didn’t stand a chance of filling the stadium.

    VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
    Rate this comment:
    Rating: 5.0/5 (6 votes cast)
  11. jwarrenComment by jwarren
    September 6, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

    The official forecast today is ZERO percent chance of rain.I suppose there is also a zero percent chance of hearing any truth spoken tonight.

    VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
    Rate this comment:
    Rating: 5.0/5 (7 votes cast)
  12. John SweetComment by John Sweet
    September 6, 2012 @ 11:52 pm

    even with the change of venue and the use of large screens to block the view of the seating the hall was empty on the second and third floors.

    VA:F [1.9.6_1107]
    Rate this comment:
    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Leave a Comment





Reference Pages

  • About
  • Network-wide options by YD - Freelance Wordpress Developer