Obama scrubs stadium speech over weather concerns

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There will be no replay of Denver 2008 as organizers of the Democratic National Convention announced Wednesday that President Obama’s planned outdoor acceptance speech at the Bank of America Stadium here has been moved indoors because of threatening rain in the forecast.

The speech now will be given at the Time Warner Cable Arena, where other convention activities have been held, but the indoor site can hold under a fourth of the 80,000 seats available at the stadium. Mr. Obama’s acceptance speech at Mile High Stadium in Denver four years ago was one of the highlights of his first campaign for the White House.

“We have been monitoring weather forecasts closely and several reports predict thunderstorms in the area, therefore we have decided to move Thursday’s proceedings to Time Warner Cable Arena to ensure the safety and security of our delegates and convention guests,” convention CEO Steve Kerrigan said in a statement Wednesday morning. “The energy and enthusiasm for our convention in Charlotte has been overwhelming and we share the disappointment of over 65,000 people who signed up for community credentials to be there with the president in person.”

Occasional heavy showers and overcast skies have marked the first two days of the convention, and Democratic organizers had been nervously compiling contingency plans over the Thursday event. But the stadium speech also proved problematic for Mr. Obama’s campaign, amid doubts that the entire stadium could be filled and stories that the facility’s name sponsor, Bank of America, invoked memories of the financial crisis and the unpopular bailout of the nation’s biggest banks.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who was at a news event with reporters when told of the decision to switch venues, expressed disappointment but said it was the right move.

“It’s rain, what can you do? It’s a higher power,” the California Democrat said. “I don’t mind getting rained upon to hear the president speech but … it’s thunder and lightning — we’re talking about something other than just getting wet. It could be a danger.”

“It would’ve been nice (to have the speech outdoors). It was wonderful when he did it before.”

Mrs. Pelosi speculated the president will return to North Carolina later for a large outdoor speech as a makeup for canceling Thursday’s Bank of America stadium event.

Staff writer Sean Lengell contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
David R. Sands

David R. Sands

Raised in Northern Virginia, David R. Sands received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He worked as a reporter for several Washington-area business publications before joining The Washington Times.

At The Times, Mr. Sands has covered numerous beats, including international trade, banking, politics ...

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